Whey protein and creatine are two of the more popular and effective food supplements used by those who are interested in gaining muscular size and strength. While several studies have examined the effects of these supplements individually, a new study looked at what happens when you combine them’as well as take them individually’while engaged in a weight-training program.1
Thirty-six men, ranging in age from 18 to 31, trained for six weeks on a four-day-split routine featuring a push-pull system, such as chest and triceps one day and back and biceps the next. The men were randomly assigned to one of three groups: 1) whey protein alone, consuming 1.2 grams a day of a whey protein supplement for each kilogram (2.2 pounds) of bodyweight; 2) whey protein and creatine, 0.1 grams per kilogram of bodyweight each day; 3) placebo, consuming 1.2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight of maltodextrin, a carbohydrate, per day.
The study, which included both body-composition and strength tests, showed that the men who took in the whey-and-creatine combo had the greatest gains in lean mass, averaging four kilograms over six weeks, a 6.5 percent gain. They took in an average of eight grams of creatine and 96 grams of whey protein daily during the study. Those getting only the whey supplement showed greater lean mass gains than the placebo group.
Those in the whey-and-creatine group showed the greatest gains in bench press strength. Knee extension strength, or peak torque, increased in both the whey-and-creatine and whey groups but not in the placebo group. Gains in squat and leg curl strength didn’t differ from group to group. The men using the actual supplements retained all muscular and strength gains six weeks after getting off all supplements as they continued to train. This study shows that both whey protein and creatine supplements augment the muscular gains of weight training’and that they are more effective when combined.
1 Burke, D.G., et al. (2001). The effect of whey protein supplementation with and without creatine monohydrate combined with resistance training on lean muscle mass and muscle strength. Int J Sports Nutr Metab. 11:349-64.