In the world of sports nutrition, the word ‘creatine’ pops up a lot - and if you haven’t heard of it yet, we can almost guarantee you’ll notice it now. You may overhear guys talking about it in the gym, see ads for it from some of the big players in the market, or spy it on the back of your supplement labels. After all, creatine powder is one of the most widely researched supplements for its remarkable performance-enhancing abilities. Although it’s often talked about in relation to muscle-building, the benefits for those who partake in combat sport reach far beyond this.
In this article, we explain exactly what creatine is, its benefits, and when you should be supplementing to maximise your results.
What is creatine?
You hear about it. You see it everywhere. But you’re still left wondering what on earth it is! Well, it’s actually found a lot closer to home than you might think.
Creatine is a substance that your body naturally creates after consuming protein, which your muscles then convert into an energy form known as creatine phosphate (CP). Increasing the storage of CP in the muscles sustains the ATP-PC energy system used for short durations and high power, providing the fuel we need during high-intensity training.
In English: supplementing creatine boosts us with the energy for more explosive performance during training.
Additionally, replenishing your creatine levels on top of your natural stores enhances muscle endurance. As our natural creatine levels are rapidly sucked dry during intense exercise and take time to restore, supplementation is the perfect solution to fuel your body with extra fuel that it can draw upon during training.
Performance benefits for combat sport participants
Combat sport is unique in its complexity and demands on the body. It’s strength, it’s cardiovascular endurance, it’s agility...we could go on, but you get the idea.
Creatine supplementation has attracted a wide range of studies, and the research points to a number of benefits that are invaluable for combat sport.
The source of many of these advantages come from the boost of energy creatine supplies your body during training. The ATP energy that powers us during high-intensity exercise allows us to push hard during training in short bursts, but this energy burns fast. Fuelling your body with extra creatine increases your energy levels, improving performance aspects such as:
- Rate of force development
- Cardio endurance
These are all key elements of combat training, demonstrating why creatine is essential to unlocking your full potential in the gym.
The muscular impact of creatine supplementation
As well as enhancing key aspects of your physical performance during training, creatine is known for its role in building muscle mass. As creatine draws water within muscle cells, a visual increase in muscle volume can be achieved extremely quickly. This swelling not only impacts the appearance of the muscles but can have a significant anabolic effect and increase protein synthesis, accelerating the process for your muscles to recover from the damage caused during training.
Studies also show that creatine delays the onset of lactic acid build-up and hydrogen ions that cause burning pain in your muscles during high-intensity exercise. This essentially allows you to maintain your output for longer, enhancing your endurance and your muscles’ ability to adapt to the stress of training.
Timing: Pre- or post-training?
The answer is both. Loading up your muscles with creatine before your training session will increase your stores of CP and boost your energy levels to fuel your performance. It is recommended to take a creatine supplement 30 minutes to an hour prior to exercise to allow enough time for it to digest and ready for your body to use.
An ideal way to achieve this is through a pre-workout supplement containing creatine. We formulated our elite pre-workout CMBT LOADED with a carefully selected profile of clinically proven ingredients to enhance energy, focus and exercise performance. One of these key ingredients that makes this such a powerful formula is CreaPure®, one of the most widely studied forms of creatine in the world and proven to be one of the safest and most effective ways to improve repeated bursts of maximal power outputs.
Taking creatine before your workout makes perfect sense, however, supplementing post-training is beneficial as well. After your workout, your top nutritional priority is to prime your body for optimal recovery in order to maximise the results of your output in the gym and allow your body to repair for the next session. Directly after training, replenishing your body with nutrients lost during exercise is vital. Therefore, consuming creatine alongside your protein supplement directly post-training helps stimulate the recovery process.
As we touched on previously, creatine is naturally processed by the body through food. Red meat and fish are rich sources of creatine, providing a nutrient-dense meal to refuel your body (plus an extra boost of protein!).
Creatine has remarkable effects on exercise performance and recovery that are hugely beneficial to those who partake in combat sport. To maximise your results, it is recommended to consume creatine approximately 30 before training and directly afterwards. Click here to learn more about our elite pre-workout CMBT LOADED, formulated with CreaPure - one of the most high-quality and pure forms of creatine available.