Creatine has become the most popular sports performance supplement in history. Ever since creatine made its first appearance at the 1992 Olympics when Linford Christie won the 100m sprint, creatine has become a staple in every major athlete's supplement protocol and training regimen. Endurance athletes especially, under rigorous training schedules need more… more of everything. Seeking out creatine rich foods can help improve and maximize performance. With more creatine rich foods in your diet, the total amount of stored creatine in your muscles can help performance factors. Creatine is abundant in animal protein, therefore, if you are a vegan-based athlete, it is crucial to supplement with creatine, since total creatine stores will be lower.
What Is Creatine and What Does It Do?
Creatine is a non-essential dietary protein-like compound that can be found in foods such as lean meats and fish. Once ingested and inside the muscle cells, an energy phosphate attaches itself thus turning into phosphocreatine (PCr) or Creatine phosphate. Through this phosphorylation Creatine then donates the PCr molecule to create ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) which is then utilized by the muscle cells for rapid energy use and muscle contraction. Therefore, having more creatine phosphate in muscle cells means more ATP can be rapidly produced during intense bouts of exercise, which can lead to gains in strength, power, speed, and muscle growth [R]
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Strength & Muscle Mass
Several studies have investigated the effects of creatine on strength. In a study published in the journal Metabolism 30 male study participants were randomly divided into three groups, [creatine (Cr) creatine + resistance training (CR-RT), placebo + resistance training] (PL -RT)]. Creatine groups dosed 20g days 1-5 and 10g on days 6-28. After 28 days of creatine supplementation CR and CR-RT groups showed significant increases in body mass and body water. CR-RT also showed significant improvements in strength after 28 days of supplementation.
Long-term adaptations when combining creatine supplementation with training programs efficiently increase muscle creatine and creatine availability, which increase lean body mass and strength. Investigative studies show that gains in muscle mass and strength are a result of improved athletic performance and ability to perform high-intensity exercise via increased creatine availability and ATP synthesis, resulting in harder and better training performance [R].
It's important to note, that only after creatine loading, do ergogenic effects take place. Meaning that you will need to supplement 20g per day for 5-7 days before phosphocreatine levels are high enough to improve performance. This is where adding more creatine rich foods, comes in handy.
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Improved Peak Power
Studies suggest that creatine supplementation can increase maximum power and performance especially amongst high-intensity training modalities, such as CrossFit, and HIIT which require constantly varied movements, with repetitive periods of work and rest by 5-15% [R].
The literature which covers the effects of creatine supplementation on peak power performance is vast. Short term adaptations show that creatine can increase cycling power, total work capacity, and as well as time trials in swimming and sprinting [R, R, R, R].
Creatine Benefits In Summary
- Muscle Force
- Total Work Capacity
- Muscle Mass
6 Creatine Rich Foods To Add To Your Diet
1.5g of creatine per 4oz serving
Herring are forage fish and classified as a “super fish” since it’s rich in creatine, amino acids, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. Throw some herring in a pan, with olive oil, lemon zest, and set it on high for a mini-fish fry.
0.8g of creatine per 4oz serving
Chicken is traditionally a staple protein in most athletes' diets, due to its high versatility and protein content. One 4oz serving of chicken boasts 25g of protein and 0.8g of creatine. If you’re thinking about eating fried chicken soon, check out some of these recipes.
0.6g of creatine per 4oz serving
Pork is an excellent source of protein and a good source of zinc and potassium. With 0.6g of creatine per serving, lean pork loin is always a great way to change up your meals throughout the week.
0.5g of creatine per 4oz serving
Steak. You can never go wrong with a big juicy steak or tri-tip on the bbq. If you’re opting for steak this week in your meal prep, ask your local grocery butcher to hook it up with some Wagyu. You’ll wish you ate it sooner.
0.5g of creatine per 4oz servingThere is nothing better than a salmon filet, covered in pesto butter and lemon. Set your oven on broil, give it 20 minutes, and wah-lah! Stacked with protein and loaded with healthy omega-3 fats, salmon is an amazing creatine rich food you definitely need to include in your diet.
0.45g of creatine per 4oz serving
Tuna comes in as our final creatine rich food at 0.45g per 4oz. If you’re a sushi or sashimi fan, through some salt and pepper and lightly sear each side. Cut the tuna into slices and throw it on a bed of kale with some edamame, orange, and avocado.
Trying To Get More Creatine In Your diet? Try Kre-Alkalyn
Swolverine's Kre-Alkalyn® is a patented pH correct form of creatine phosphate. With the addition of creatine phosphate (PCr) into the muscle cells, the body increases its immediate energy supply, by facilitating the production of ATP which increases power output and strength. High-intensity training programs require the body to go under strenuous aerobic and anaerobic conditions. By supplementing the body with creatine, you will induce a greater improvement in exercise endurance and athletic performance, resulting in improved times, more peak power, and stronger lifts.*
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Rasmussen, Christopher & Greenwood, Mike & Kalman, Douglas & Antonio, Jose. (2008). Nutritional Supplements for Endurance Athletes. 10.1007/978-1-59745-231-1_11.