|Want better gains?|
Athletes are regularly using supplements to increase the gains they achieve at the gym and on the sports field. We have already written about meat choices for muscle and post exercise recovery, but these won’t cover everything you want in your workouts. For this athletes use a range of supplements with varying degrees of scientific support. Today we will look at creatine supplementation which is one of the most widely used performance ergogenic aids.
Creatine is an essential compound for energy synthesis and occurs naturally in the body. In the form of phosphocreatine (PC) it resynthesizes ATP, the energy currency of the body, and has been found to be particularly useful in high intensity short burst of activity. This includes sprint activities and hypertrophy work at the gym. It depletes as we exercise, and this directly contributes to fatigue and poor quality workouts. The science suggests that if we can increase stores of creatine, we can maintain strength and power for longer, thus improving performance.
The downside is that we need to initially load creatine to increase the stores in our muscles. 98% of body creatine is stored in muscles, which have a set storage size. Naturally your body does not fill these stores, and as such we need a supplemented dosage to increase creatine initially. A dosage of 20g of creatine per day for 5 days will do the trick. You can buy creatine in capsule and liquid form from health stores. By increasing your creatine initially you fill the muscle stores and will improve creatine levels by about 20%.
Continuing with Supplements
At this stage it can be tempting to stick with your supplements, as the pills are full of creatine, but this can have adverse effects. Additional creatine is excreted from the body, and this adds additional nitrogen to your kidneys and excretion system. In those taking a high protein diet, extra nitrogen excretion has been found to have adverse effects on kidneys over time. For this reason and others, natural maintenance of the creatine level can be more beneficial for your diet.
Studies have found that after the 5 day loading process a dosage of between 2 and 3g of creatine per day will maintain the high muscle store levels. This is where your natural nutrition can be more effective for you. Meats and fish are the best source of creatine from natural sources. If you are able to eat the right amounts of meat and fish you can get your creatine maintenance levels in them, as well as the numerous benefits of the products.
Which Meat or Fish is Best?
A whole range of meat and fish contain creatine. Given that you need about 2-3g of creatine per day, you need a varied diet to ensure you get the right amount. Here is a list of foods which contain good amounts per 100g.
· Herring – 0.65g per 100g
· Salmon – 0.45g per 100g
· Tuna – 0.4g per 100g
· Beef – 0.45g per 100g
· Pork - 0.5g per 100g
Although the creatine amounts look small in the above meats, over the course of a day, if you take in 500g of the fish products (that’s just 3 tins of tuna) you will be able to maintain your creatine with natural products. If you imagine that you might have 2 protein meals and a post exercise protein boost, you can easily maintain creatine levels over time. As well as the extra creatine, you will also boost protein levels, as well as vitamin and mineral amounts, which are essential for protein synthesis and energy metabolism.
One important thing to note is that the more time you spend cooking a food, the less creatine it retains. As such fish sources, particularly herring, salmon and tuna, are better for creatine as they take less cooking time. Beef and pork are good, but take time to cook, reducing the creatine levels.
Through good nutritional planning and an initial loading phase, you can increase your power and strength, improving gains in the gym, without overloading on supplements and maintaining a natural diet over time.
Follow us on twitter at www.twitter.com/foodnutriblog