Creatine monohydrate is a supplement which has several performance & health benefits when taken correctly, these include improvements in strength markers, more explosive power & reductions in the severity of concussion injuries. However it’s use in combat sports is highly debated due to the associated weight gain which comes alongside taking it – especially in the loading phase. This short article will discuss some of the key considerations you should make when weighing up taking creatine.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is actually a protein which is made naturally from amino acids including; arginine, glycine & methionine which are found within meats & fishes. However to get the right dosage of creatine you’d have to eat an absurd amount of steak or turkey breast which just isn’t feasible – therefore it makes complete sense to supplement with it.
Creatine supplementation can help saturate the bodies phosphocreatine stores which are what I like to call the 3rd energy system which helps produce energy at an immediate rate, allowing fighters push into gears 6 & 7 & improve their overall performance in the ring & in the gym.
Creatine requires a loading phase which equates to taking 20g/day for 5 days spread out over 4 feeds during the day to help saturate the muscles with creatine before dropping down to a smaller daily dose of 3-5g/day thereafter. The issue is that this can lead to a slight increase in weight gain through water retention in the muscle. In my experience this can be a huge problem both logistically & mentally for a fighter, particularly one who has a negative relationship with making weight or who perhaps has a large % of weight to lose before their official weigh in.
Should I Be Taking Creatine?
You can consider cycling your intakes of creatine such as loading up on creatine during a strength phase before cutting supplementation altogether, however it must be noted that it takes 4-6 weeks for creatine to make it’s way out of your body. I have know a lot of fighters to cut creatine intakes 7 days before their weigh in – however in my opinion I just think this isn’t enough time to make a difference in weight lost.
The answer is – if you are a fighter who perhaps doesn’t hold a lot of muscle mass or your are close to your fighting weight (thinking flyweights or amateur boxers) then creatine supplementation may be worth considering for the well published performance benefits associated with it’s use.
However if you are a fighter who worries about making weight or has a large % of weight to lose before your fight, then perhaps its worth staying away from creatine supplementation to save yourself the mental headache & emotional rollercoaster you’ll find yourself on!
Of course if you are considering taking creatine make sure you chose yourself a batch tested supplement from a reputable source which complies with anti doping regulations!
Thanks for reading, if you gained value from this short article be sure to share with any stablemates or fellow fighters!