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Creatine and Caffeine: The Perfect Muscle Enhancing Mix?

Creatine has long been used by weightlifters and bodybuilders as a supplement to enhance muscle gains and increase workout performance.  Research has shown that creatine monohydrate does, in fact, increase muscle size and strength.  Short-term use of creatine can also boost power output as well during high-intensity workouts.

Bodybuilders, fitness models, fitness trainers, and muscle-building hobbyist alike agree that creatine can be a potent supplement to stimulate muscle cell formation, aid in hypertrophy, and keeps muscle cell energy from being depleted as quickly during workouts which enables one to outperform and outlast their previous workouts performed without creatine.  There is some disagreement over when to take the supplement and if taking it with other things can enhance or inhibit its effectiveness.  To get the most clear answers on this subject, many scientists and researchers have invested their efforts in testing out different combos to see what works and what does not.  One area of research is in regards to whether or not coffee enhances the effectiveness of creatine.

Does Creatine Paired with Caffeine Boosts The Effects?

Researchers are always looking for ways to enhance the effects of supplements like creatine to promote even better gains and results.  One particular area of research is related to caffeine’s effects on creatine.  Researchers hypothesized that caffeine, since it had several qualities that were seen as complementary to creatine, that if they were consumed together, that they would only enhance the effects of the other.

The results, however, showed the opposite.

When caffeine and creatine are consumed together, that “consuming caffeine with creatine inhibits creatine’s ability to boost strength,” according to Michael Rudolph, PhD.  This means that if you take them together that you will not get the maximum effects of creatine.

There are ways around this though.  When creatine is altered in the appropriate manner with caffeine, the complementary effects can clearly be seen.  For example, rather than taking them together, you can load up on creatine for a number of days and then follow up with caffeine.  Research shows that this is ideal.  More about this below.

So, if you are a regular coffee drinker or you take supplements that have caffeine in the, such as in pre-workout mixes and drinks, you will not get the full effect of creatine.  What to do?  Limit caffeine containing supplements and coffee drinking while taking creatine.  Most coffee does not have enough caffeine in it to interfere too much, if you can’t seem to give up your cup o’ joe.  But, definitely leave out the caffeine drinks, mixes, and supplements as much as possible so that you do not waste money on creatine or your caffeine.

How to Get the Muscle Boosting Power of Creatine and Caffeine?

Although creatine and caffeine actually inhibit each other when consumed at the same time, alternating them can actually do the opposite. Creatine loading followed by high consumption of caffeine is where the real power of the combo can actually be experienced.  Loading up on creatine for 5 days and then following that with caffeine an hour before exercising “[improves] muscular power output during high-intensity exercise” (Rudolph).

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