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Both creatine and BCAAs have proven benefits when it comes to maximizing your workouts, which is why many of my clients are wondering if they’re safe to mix together.
Yes, you can safely mix creatine with BCAAs because they do not interfere with each other. Taken together, they can boost your workout performance by allowing you to train harder, and for longer, which increases the potential for muscle growth.
That said, there are a few scenarios where it is NOT ideal to mix creatine with BCAAs so it’s important to know when to mix the two and how much of each to take to maximize your results.
- It’s best to take creatine and BCAAs every day, at the same time of day, regardless of whether you are working out that day or not.
- You can mix creatine and BCAAs with almost any liquid, but there is one liquid that you should never use for these supplements.
- BCAAs dosages are typically between 5-10 grams and creatine 3-5 grams, but to find an effective dose specific to your needs, you must calculate it.
Benefits of Mixing BCAAs With Creatine
The benefits of mixing BCAAs with creatine are:
1. Better Workout Performance
Creatine supplementation allows you to replenish your body’s energy stores more quickly. Specifically, phosphocreatine, which is used in the immediate energy system that powers short and explosive efforts like weightlifting and sprinting.
BCAAs are absorbed instantly in the muscles, decreasing fatigue and preserving muscle tissue during workouts.
These supplements work together to allow you to train harder, and for longer, giving you better results.
2. Increased Muscle Growth
BCAAs and creatine allow you to train harder by delaying fatigue and providing more energy, which provides your muscles with more stimuli to adapt and grow bigger and stronger.
This is great for performance, aesthetics, and fat loss, because muscle growth will lead to strength gains, more pronounced musculature, and a higher metabolism, which makes it easier to lose weight.
3. Improved Supplement Consistency
Combining BCAAs and creatine can encourage you to become more consistent with supplementation because when you take supplements together at the same time each day, you reduce the risk of forgetting to take one or more of them.
This a massive benefit because consistent, ongoing supplementation is required to maximize the effects of both of these supplements. Failing to be consistent with these supplements can dramatically limit your results.
Drawbacks of Mixing BCAAs With Creatine
Although there are benefits to mixing BCAAs and creatine, there are also some drawbacks that are worth mentioning.
1. Will Break A Fast
Creatine is often used by those who are fasting to help increase their energy stores, but combining creatine with BCAAs (which cause an insulin response) will break a fast.
So, if you want to do a fasted workout (or if you are fasting for any other reason), then you cannot mix BCAAs with creatine.
Solution: Do not mix BCAAs with creatine when you want to continue fasting; instead, take BCAAs only during your eating window.
2. Can Cause Digestive Distress
Also, if BCAA supplements contain artificial sweeteners (especially sugar alcohols), these can also lead to digestive problems.
Either of these problems could come into play when mixing BCAAs with creatine.
Solution: do not exceed 5 grams for a dose of creatine if it bothers your stomach, and look for BCAAs that do not contain artificial sweeteners if you are sensitive to them.
I also recommend testing these products separately before combining them so you can identify beforehand if one or both cause any digestive issues.
3. Could Negatively Affect Water Intake
The last thing to keep in mind is that when you combine supplements that you otherwise would take separately, you might end up drinking less water overall. This is only a problem if you struggle to drink enough water in the first place, though.
It’s important to drink enough water when supplementing with creatine because creatine functions by pulling water into your muscles; if you’re not drinking enough water then you will limit creatine’s effectiveness.
Solution: I recommend tracking your water intake; a good goal is to take half your body weight in pounds, and drink that many ounces of water each day.
You can also judge your hydration status based on your urine. A sign that you are drinking enough is clear, nearly odorless, and colorless urine.
How To Properly Mix Creatine With BCAAs
BCAAs tend to dissolve easily in water at any temperature, but creatine can be a bit harder to dissolve, so follow these three simple steps for better results.
Start with 1-2 ounces of your liquid of choice (see sections below for ideas) in your water bottle or shaker cup, at room temperature or warmer.
Add the creatine monohydrate by itself to your water, close the lid, and shake vigorously. It’s best to add the creatine first because it will dissolve more easily in warm water.
Remove the lid, add your BCAAs, close the lid, and shake again.
Once the powders are completely dissolved, add more liquid to top it off. If you prefer a colder drink then add cold water and perhaps some ice too.
- Related Article: This Is Why Your Creatine Is Not Dissolving (And How To Fix)
What Liquid Should You Use To Mix Creatine & BCAA’s?
Water or water-based liquids are best for mixing creatine and BCAAs because they will dissolve the supplements more easily and reduce the risk of clumping.
I recommend the following liquids:
- Sports Drinks
- Coconut Water
- Fruit Juices (no pulp)
That said, the only thing you should NOT mix with these supplements is alcohol because alcohol has opposing effects to creatine and therefore will compromise its effectiveness.
Additionally, you should always check with your doctor before starting any supplement, to ensure it is appropriate based on you as an individual, your personal medical history, and any medications you might be taking.
- Related: What To Mix Creatine With? 8 Examples
Will Creatine Dissolve When Mixed With BCAAs (And Does It Matter)?
Yes, both creatine and BCAA powders dissolve readily when mixed with water or other liquids like juice or milk. Also, the extent to which these supplements dissolve (or not) won’t affect their effectiveness (as long as they aren’t left sitting at the bottom of your water bottle in grainy clumps).
For best results, use room temperature (or warmer) liquid to help the supplements dissolve easily.
I like to use a shaker cup with a tight-fitting lid so that I can vigorously mix up the ingredients and ensure that they are completely dissolved before drinking. Plus, I can easily re-seal the container and shake it again if they settle part-way through my workout.
- Related Article: Can You Mix Creatine With Hot Liquids? (Pros & Cons)
How Much BCAA Should You Mix With Creatine?
The average serving of BCAAs is 5-10 grams, and the recommended daily dose for creatine is 3-5 grams. I recommend mixing your supplements into 500-750mL of water to help the supplements dissolve more effectively.
Both BCAAs and Creatine can be more accurately dosed based on your body weight.
Do The BCAAS Interfere With Creatine Absorption?
No, there is no evidence to suggest that BCAAs interfere with creatine absorption, or that creatine interferes with the absorption of BCAAs.
There is no reason why you cannot mix creatine and BCAAs together when it comes to absorption, safety, or effectiveness.
When To Consume Creatine With BCAA
The best time to take creatine and BCAAs is 30-60 minutes before a workout on a training day because of their ability to boost energy levels.
On non-training days, continue taking these supplements at the same time as on training days.
The reason to take them at the same time every day is to make it easier to remember. Plus, taking the supplements at the same time each day will ensure a steady supply of these ingredients in your body each day.
These supplements need to be taken on rest days as well as training days because daily creatine supplementation is important to maintain creatine saturation levels in your muscles.
Additionally, BCAAs will provide amino acids to use as building blocks for repairing and building new muscle tissue, which occurs while resting.
Who Should Mix Creatine With BCAA
Mixing creatine and BCAAs is helpful for almost everyone, but it’s especially helpful for the following people:
Individuals Pursuing Peak Performance
Both creatine and BCAAs have been proven to improve performance. Creatine is known for improvements in strength and power, and for providing more energy for high-intensity exercise. When BCAAs are taken before or during exercise, they reduce fatigue and decrease muscle protein breakdown.
These combined effects make creatine and BCAAs a perfect pairing to allow you to train harder, for longer, to help you get the most out of your workout.
Individuals Pursuing Fat Loss
Both creatine and BCAAs are shown to help minimize muscle loss while losing weight. This makes them a great duo for helping you burn calories at a faster rate; the more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn (even at rest), which makes weight loss easier.
Creatine does not contain calories, and with only ~20-30 calories per serving, BCAAs are lower in calories than whey protein powder, so they are great supplements to take when you are trying to reduce your caloric intake.
Individuals Pursuing Muscle Gain
Creatine and BCAAs are helpful for muscle gain, when paired with an adequate calorie intake, because they both allow you to train harder. Getting those extra reps, or being able to lift heavier weights, will give your muscles more stimulus to grow.
BCAAs also help ensure you’re getting enough of the branched-chain amino acid leucine, which is a key factor when it comes to muscle growth. If you’re not getting enough leucine, then you may limit your potential for muscle growth.
- Note: It might sound strange that I’m recommending these supplements for both fat loss AND for muscle growth. Keep in mind that the key difference between these two goals is calorie intake: fat loss requires a calorie deficit; muscle gain requires a calorie surplus. The difference is NOT in the supplements that you take.
Who Should NOT Mix Creatine With BCAA
Individuals who are fasting (for health, religious, or other reasons) should not mix creatine with BCAA, since BCAAs will break a fast (they cause an insulin response). Creatine on its own, mixed with water, will not break a fast.
Other than that, there aren’t any strong reasons NOT to mix creatine with BCAAs.
For people who aren’t pursuing peak performance, if they already eat enough whole food protein sources to hit their daily protein targets, then they don’t need to supplement with BCAAs and could take just creatine.
Paying extra for BCAAs would be a waste of money in this scenario.
But, for elite athletes, there is enough of a performance benefit from BCAAs that they are worth supplementing, even if the athlete already meets their daily protein targets from whole foods.
Check out other supplements you can mix with creatine:
Best Creatine To Mix With BCAAs
I personally like to measure my own creatine monohydrate to add to my pre-workout shake, to ensure that I’m getting the full clinically effective dose of 3-5 grams (many pre-workout products contain less than this per serving). So, I buy Bulk Supplements Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder.
This extra-fine powder mixes seamlessly with water and doesn’t leave a gritty texture like other brands I’ve tried. It’s unflavored, so there are no unwanted artificial sweeteners or flavors. This means that I can pick the flavor of BCAAs that I like best, and I don’t have to worry about altering the taste.
Best BCAA Product To Mix With Creatine
My personal favorite BCAA product is Xtend by Scivation Sport BCAA + Electrolytes. I prefer the Blue Raspberry flavor, but there are lots of different options. If you want an unflavored powder without added electrolytes, check out Bulk Supplements BCAA 2:1:1 Powder.
What To Read Next:
- Do I Need BCAAs If I Take Whey Protein? (Yes, Here’s Why)
- Should Beginners Take Creatine? Who SHOULD & Should NOT Use
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About The Author
Lauren Graham is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She focuses on helping busy professionals balance healthy eating and purposeful movement. Lauren has a background in competitive swimming and is currently competing as a CrossFit athlete. She has a passion for training, teaching, and writing.
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