Creatine and Sports Performance

Posted on :  April 6, 2022
Creatine may improve your physical performance

The sports supplement market is huge, and many supplements are not backed up by science to assist you in your goals. There are a few though which have been supported by research to be effective, creatine being one of them.

Creatine is naturally found in your muscles in the form of creatine phosphate. Creatine aids rapid adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis. This form of energy is needed for short term, intense types of exercise. Generally, the more creatine phosphate in your muscles the higher the intensity at which you can train. High intensity training increases the amount of muscle which in turn improves your performance.

Meat and fish are good sources of creatine, but your body can also produce its own creatine. A 100g serve of salmon gives your body 0.9g of creatine and 100g of tuna provides 0.4g of creatine. Both these seafood choices are available in many delicious flavours at Safcol Seafood. Before considering supplementation make sure your diet is meeting all the food groups needed for performance. This includes the recommended two to three 100g serves of seafood each week.

Sprinters and weightlifters are two examples of sportspeople who may benefit from creatine supplementation. These sports require short bouts of high intensity physical movement, and then periods of rest. Creatine may assist in recovery during these rest periods.

There is good news for those who are more into endurance running. As research suggests using creatine supplementation may improve protein synthesis, thermoregulation and glycogen storage. Creatine monohydrate is the best form of supplement to choose if possible.

A typical creatine loading protocol is 20g divided into four doses spread across the day, for five to seven days. After this loading phase a maintenance dosage of 3-5g should be taken daily. It is best to take a creatine supplement together with a form of carbohydrate as this stimulates insulin release. Insulin is the key hormone needed to take glucose into your cells including the muscle cells. This strategy has been shown to increase the amount of creatine in your muscle by around 20% and, as a result, improve sports performance.

The downside of creatine is that it buddies up with water and 1-2kg weight gain in water can be a side effect. In terms of safety it is a low risk supplement to take. Cramping, gastrointestinal problems and muscle injuries, which previously were thought to be a negative effect of this supplement, have now been largely dismissed. If you have pre-existing kidney problems this supplement may put unwanted additional protein load onto your kidneys, and it is wise to consult your GP before taking creatine.

Take home message

Creatine may provide an additional factor to improve your physical performance. It is important to remember that creatine alone will not provide you with results if your baseline nutrition, training and recovery are not optimal. If in doubt send me a message and I can make sure you are on track to the results you want to achieve.