Last updated on November 2nd, 2022 at 12:07 pm
When answering the question, “Can I Take Creatine Without Taking Protein?” I am specifically referring to whey protein or protein supplements.
Most of us get to a stage in our training when we feel that taking supplements could enhance both our workouts and physique.
And without doubt, the two most popular workout supplements are creatine and whey protein.
However, should you be taking both, or is it possible to take one without the other?
Allow me to reveal all.
Can I Take Creatine Without Taking Protein?
Yes, you can take creatine without protein. Creatine supplementation increases the stores of phosphocreatine in the muscles, which aids the formation of ATP (the body’s principal source of storing and transferring energy to the cells). Whereas whey protein contains branched-chain amino acids, which aids in muscle building. Neither supplement depends on the other, so you can take them together, independently, or not at all.
Creatine & Protein Don’t Depend On Each Other
I think it’s important to clarify a couple of points about creatine and protein.
Firstly, neither supplement is some kind of magical pixie dust that will magically transform your physique.
In fact, you could quite conceivably supplement with both and still have terrible workouts and a terrible looking body.
So, don’t expect miracles from creatine or protein.
Secondly, if you decide to take either or both supplements then know that they don’t depend on each other.
In other words, you can still produce fantastic results by taking just one, both, or neither at all.
Okay, now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s look at what creatine and protein actually do for you.
What Does Creatine Do?
Creatine is naturally produced in the liver and kidneys, which means that all of us already have creatine in our body.
With that being said, the body can only store so much creatine at any one time.
Once the body feels it has enough creatine this is then converted to the waste product, creatinine.
Creatinine is then excreted from the body through urine.
Now, the reason to supplement creatine is to produce phosphocreatine.
Phosphocreatine aids the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
And it is ATP that both stores and transfers energy in the cells of the body.
In effect, supplementing with creatine helps to produce more ATP, which in turn provides you with additional energy for your workout.
However, as I’ve mentioned, this isn’t anything magical or groundbreaking.
In fact, regular creatine consumption may add an extra rep or two to your set.
It may help you workout for an extra 5 minutes, or take slightly less rest between sets.
But, this of course all adds up.
So, you could realistically get much bigger and stronger by supplementing with creatine.
However, this compounding effect of extra reps, sets, or additional time spent working out, will take a while to reap the benefits.
What Does Protein Do?
I guess you could say that your muscles love protein.
Plus, whey protein supplements contain branched-chain amino acids, which is a specific amino acid most commonly associated with building muscle.
However, don’t make the mistake of thinking more protein is better.
Personally, I feel that many lifters become too obsessed with their protein intake.
Now, don’t get me wrong, if you’re lifting weights and want to add muscle mass then you need to be consuming protein.
However, depending on your overall muscle-building goals, even 0.8g of protein per one pound of bodyweight may suffice.
So, in effect, you can still build muscle by consuming a lot less protein than you think.
With that being said, depending on your current physique, your workouts, and how much muscle you’re looking to add to your frame, you could potentially require 2g of protein per one pound of body weight.
As with most things in life, there is no “one-size-fits-all”.
But, the main reason that people take protein shakes and supplements is simply to hit their allocated protein consumption goals.
You Can Get Creatine & Protein Without Supplements
I’ve already alluded to the fact that neither creatine or protein is going to magically transform your body.
However, quite clearly they can make a big difference to your workouts, recovery, and physique.
But, this still doesn’t mean that you have to supplement with either or both.
Creatine and protein are both naturally found in various food sources, especially red meat and fish.
Okay, I’ll be honest and say that it will be difficult to get enough creatine from food when compared to what a scoop of the supplement provides.
The vast majority of lifters will typically supplement 3-5g of creatine on a daily basis.
However, even one pound of raw beef will contain approximately 1.4g of creatine.
So, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll consume around 3-4lbs of beef on a daily basis to fulfill your creatine requirements.
Therefore, this does raise a case for supplementing with creatine.
But, that doesn’t mean that good nutrition and adequate recovery won’t provide you with ample energy to train.
When it comes to protein that same one pound of raw beef will provide around 117g of protein.
So, for some of you that would be more than enough to satisfy your daily protein requirements, although I’m not sure whether you’d want to eat a pound of beef every day.
But, this doesn’t mean that you can’t get your protein from a variety of sources, e.g. poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts, etc.
In fact, I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of us could consume enough protein to build muscle just from the foods we eat.
And if you’re eating whole, unprocessed, proteins and other ingredients then you should have ample energy for your workouts, i.e. you probably won’t need creatine either.
10 Natural Foods With Creatine For Muscle Growth
The Most Important Factors to Build Muscle
I’m hoping by now it may be fairly obvious what I’m about to say, but I’ll say it anyway.
When it comes to building muscle the most important factors are your training, recovery, plus the proper amount of calories and protein.
And when I say protein, I mean by way of supplementing through something like whey or simply from the food that you consume.
So, you could in effect take all the creatine you want and still never build muscle.
Conversely, you could also take all the protein you want, but without factoring the other things I’ve mentioned, once again you may never build muscle.
I will say that protein is more important for muscle growth than creatine.
However, I mean the macronutrient as a whole, and not just whey protein shakes.
Realistically, whey protein is nothing more than a processed food that you’re able to digest quickly.
So, you can take creatine without protein.
You can take protein without creatine.
Plus, you can even take both.
However, nothing will beat lifting weights, getting adequate rest between your workouts, 7-8 hours sleep a night, and eating a well-balanced, nutritious and protein-packed diet.
So, I hope you understand that you can take creatine without protein.
Furthermore, you can also take protein without creatine, or even take both.
Basically, creatine and protein do not depend on each to help you achieve your physique goals.
Creatine will provide some individuals with a boost in energy and may even aid in recovery.
Protein supplements can help you build muscle, but so can consuming lean protein through food.
However, nothing beats great workouts, plenty of rest, and an awesome diet.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.