MMA fighters train hard in order to keep up and be in the best shape they can be. There are various supplements that highly active people can take, such as protein powders, but you may have heard about creatine being used. What exactly is it, and is creatine good for MMA?
Creatine is good for MMA. It’s not a drug that puts you at a significant advantage over your opponent. Rather, it enables you to work out harder and longer, which various other supplements already do.
In this article, we will be going over what creatine is, what it does, and if it is effective as a lot of people say it is. If you would like to learn more, we encourage you to read further.
What Is Creatine?
There is a lot of confusion on what creatine actually is, some even believe it delivers results similar to steroids, but this is far from the case
When you read about what creatine does, it can indeed be easily confused with steroids; however, the results are vastly different, which is why there is a big difference in how each is viewed in athletic sports.
Creatine is an all-natural substance. When taken in, it turns into creatine phosphate when inside the body, creating adenosine triphosphate (ATP). What this does is provide energy for muscle contractions, which helps you work harder and for longer.
There are two reasons why muscles get tired. One is muscle fatigue, which limits the nerve’s ability to sustain a neural signal. While the other is the direct reason why creatine supplements are taken.
What causes your muscles to ache so much after working out is due to metabolic fatigue. What happens here is that ATP gets depleted faster than it can get replaced. When you rest, ATP gets created, allowing you to feel good as new when you return for a workout later.
As you can imagine, ATP depletes much faster than it can generate, limiting the overall time one can workout. What creatine does is help create more ATP allowing the muscles to work for a prolonged period of time.
If you would like more information about the positives of creatine, this video below is a great watch:
And if you would like to try it out for yourself, check out MET Rx Creatine 4200 on Amazon or read more for the best creatine on the market.
- You will Receive (2) bottle of MET-Rx Creatine 4200, 240 count
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- MET-Rx products have been specifically formulated with a precise nutrient profile to produce specific metabolic effects. MET-Rx Creatine 4200 is no exception. Try it with protein shakes or Bars to superpower your workout and recovery.
Why Is Creatine Controversial?
In the technical sense, creatine isn’t considered a drug, and thus it hasn’t been banned in athletic sports. However, there is a sizable group of people that think that it should be.
The argument against creatine is that it provides an unfair advantage against those that don’t use it. As we went over above, it allows you to work out longer and harder, which in theory allows you to build muscle more quickly – enhancing performance over a long period. But this also extends to the actual competition that takes place; in this case, it is MMA fighting.
The person on creatine, again, in theory, will be able to perform better over the course of the fight since their muscles won’t tire out as quickly. This is especially useful for fighters who specialize in wrestling since that can tire out the muscles pretty quickly with all of the takedown attempts and controlling the opponent on the ground.
It’s also used for recovery. After an intense workout, athletes go into a recovery phase where their muscles repair themselves. And as you can imagine, creatine helps speed up this process, allowing them to get back into it in a shorter amount of time.
It sounds like creatine gives an automatic advantage over your opponent, but there is a lot more to the story. For one, there are various supplements athletes can choose to take to enable them to perform better – it’s just part of the workout culture in general. Protein powders, caffeine, electrolytes, and others are commonly used.
But let’s focus on caffeine. This is, by definition, a drug. It stimulates the nervous system allowing the user to become more alert, has more energy, and allows them to perform better at many tasks when on it. Many, if not all athletes, are allowed to take caffeine before a competition if they wish.
But because caffeine is so widely accepted, not a lot of people give it a second thought. So the question becomes, where do we draw the line on supplements that help athletes get a boost?
Steroids were decided as a no-go due to providing the user with a very significant and unfair performance boost while causing health issues. Supplements such as creatine don’t fall under performance-enhancing drugs, and the user has to put in a lot of work to actually get any benefit from them.
Is There Any Drawback for the User?
While creatine is beneficial, it also has its drawbacks. You are essentially forcing your body to work in a way that it wasn’t originally intended, which can potentially cause some complications.
One problem that is often brought up is that creatine makes you retain more water, causing the user to weigh more than they would otherwise.
It’s also associated with dehydration, which is why you’ll see that it is often hammered that people who are on the supplement should drink plenty of water throughout the day. The other side effects include:
- Kidney damage
- Liver damage
- Kidney stones
- Muscle cramps
- Digestive problems
- Compartment syndrome
So does this make creatine unsafe to use? No, and yes. Like with any supplement, you shouldn’t overdose, or else you will experience negative side effects, which is the number one thing to remember. However, if you react negatively to the substance even in safe doses, it is best to stop using it.
Taking more creatine than necessary in the first place doesn’t provide any advantages. After a certain amount, your body can’t process the excess amount, and you are essentially just causing yourself problems such as bloating and discomfort for no reason.
The recommended intake for creatine is approximately 2-5 grams (14 mg/pound or 30 mg/kg) each day to be safe and reap the benefits without wasting money.
Alternatives to Creatine
Creatine isn’t the only supplement that can aid in an athlete’s muscle performance. There are many ways to get a much-needed boost and support muscle recovery and growth.
It’s widely known that protein is very important for athletes because it promotes muscle growth and recovery. Most MMA fighters are on high protein diets already, but protein supplements provide that extra boost, such as Myprotein Clear Whey Isolate.
This is a natural compound already in your body, like creatine. It raises the amount of carnosine in your muscles, which slows down the time it takes for your muscles to fatigue.
Another way to aid in muscle growth is to take BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids). In short, this supplement provides your muscles with much-needed amino acids. Naturally, your body stores several types of amino acids in the liver before the body utilizes them. However, branched amino acids go directly to the muscles.
Conclusion – Is Creatine Good for MMA?
Creatine isn’t any more immoral than other supplements that athletes use. The fact is that supplements are a part of MMA as well as other forms of athletic competition. While creatine does provide a boost in muscle growth and recovery, the user still needs to put in the work to take advantage of the benefits.
All creatine does is allow the muscles to work for a longer period before fatigue sets in. It also speeds up recovery – many other supplements do exactly this. In short, there isn’t necessarily anything to worry about regarding it being unfair.