Creatine is a naturally occurring compound present mostly in muscle tissue. It is not an essential nutrient which means that the body can synthesis it and therefore there is no need to take it orally on a daily basis. Dietary source of creatine include red meat and fish. However cooked food has little creatine. Intake of creatine suppresses the biosynthesis of creatine and vice versa.

The body can synthesize creatine from the amino acids glycine, arginine and methionine. Dietary products that contain these 3 amino acids include dairy products, soy and eggs. After synthesis or oral intake, creatine is transported to muscle via the blood. Muscle takes up creatine against a concentration gradient by a sodium-dependant storable active transport process meaning if muscle creatine is low the body will store/ synthesize more creatine and less creatinine will be excreted in urine.

 


Energy is the capacity to perform work against resistance. Energy is thus required to perform physical work during training. The body derives energy from the conversion of energy substrates to a high energy compound called ATP (Adenosine triphospate) which is stored in the muscle cell. Energy required for muscle contraction is released into the body by converting high-energy ATP into Adenosine and phosphate (ADP + P).

Because the body can store only limited amounts of ATP in the muscle cells it must continually replenish ATP supplies to facilitate ongoing training. The body can replenish ATP by using any one of three energy systems depending on the type of training namely:

Energy System Type of training Duration of energy supply
Anaerobic Alactic System (ATP-CP) Short duration/high intensity / maximal effort 0 to 10 s (for eg.100m sprint)
Anaerobic Lactic System (Glycogen) Longer duration of intense exercise 10 to 40 s (for e.g. 200-400m sprint)
Aerobic System (Glycogen & Fat) Long duration of medium-low intensity Longer than 60 – 70 s

Creatine plays a role in the Anaerobic Alactic (ATP-CP) energy system. Phosphocreatine in muscle provides the high-energy phosphate group for ATP regeneration during the first few seconds of high-intensity exercise.

Creatine supplementation may help by increasing phosphocreatine muscle stores. Creatine may also potentially buffer hydrogen ions that may prevent lactic acid build-up.

Athletes that take part in sporting events that predominantly make use of the Anaerobic Alactic (ATP-CP) energy system may benefit of creatine supplementation. This includes sports that require high intensity / maximal effort or where repeated bouts of explosive energy and power is required for e.g. sprinters, jumpers, throwers and weight lifters. Individual circumstances may merit the use of creatine by these athletes.

Creatine is then used in cycles to assist maximal strength and possibly power training and not to increase muscle size/weight. Creatine use is stopped well in advance of competitive phases due to the fact that it could actually impair performance during competition and may place them at an increased risk of injuries.

Professional rugby players follow a periodised training program. Periodised training programs incorporate the concept of energy system training. The goal of the conditioning program is to prepare players for the sport-specific physiological demands. In other words the players have to be Fit for Purpose during competitive phases - the reason why bodybuilders for example, although muscular in appearance cannot cope with rugby’s specific physiological demands (power / strength / endurance / agility).

 

The approximate dominant energy systems for professional rugby are:

  • 60% Aerobic (Aerobic power 75%-85% of HR max)
  • 30% Anaerobic Lactic
  • 10% Anaerobic Alactic

The dominant biomotor abilities required for rugby are: Power, Power Endurance , Maximal Strength & Muscular Endurance of a medium duration

 

A periodised training program for rugby is normally structured in terms of

  • Strength training,
  • Endurance training,
  • Speed training and
  • Agility training phases

Strength training is composed of the following cycles:

  • Anatomical Adaptation
  • Hypertrophy
  • Maximal strength
  • Conversion to Power
  • Maintenance
 

Each strength training phase has specific physiological goals and is interdependent:

Phase Goal
Anatomical Adaptation (Foundation phase) Strengthen tendons/ligaments/joints, increase bone density and build aerobic capacity
Hypertrophy Enlargement of muscle size
Maximal Strength Increase maximum strength for e.g. 1 rep max
Power Conversion to power, power endurance or muscular endurance
Maintenance Maintenance of the above

 

The Hypertrophy phase is the only training phase where the emphasis is to increase muscle size and therefore muscle weight.  Creatine should not be used during hypertrophy phases

Creatine supplementation is not used to build muscle/ increase muscle weight but to assist rugby players to increase their maximal strength and explosiveness.

creatine pvm rugby

Conditioning and Supplementation of High School Rugby Players

 

Critical development of athletic and cognitive ability begins at a very early age.  As children mature, they progress through the same development stages of maturation and growth. Optimal windows of trainability exist, during a child’s development that offers optimum opportunity to develop particular attributes such as basic movement skills, basic sport skills and physical capacities.

Without developing skills and certain physical and mental attributes at the proper time, a child’s ability to reach his or her full genetic potential will be significantly affected.

 

Although all people follow the same pattern of growth and maturation significant differences exist between individuals in the timing and magnitude of these changes. Science therefore underpins the fact that children cannot be treated as mini-adults and that the development of training programs of children should not only be based on their chronological age but also on their specific biological age. Exposing children to the appropriate stimuli before, during and after puberty is therefore crucial for long-term development and place a unique burden and responsibility on parents, coaches and trainers alike.

 

Unique windows of trainability exist before, during and after puberty for speed, suppleness, skills, stamina and strength and exposing children to the wrong stimuli could not only prevent children from reaching their full potential but could cause permanent harm. For e.g. studies indicate that males should refrain from resistance training with weights until 12 – 18 months after the PHV (Peak Height Velocity) in their growth curve during puberty has been reached.

It is a scientific fact that nutrition also plays an important role in the development of children.  It has become fairly common practice for teenagers to start to using nutritional supplements.  Parents and coaches should be aware of the potential dangers regarding supplement use.
 

Nutritional supplements should be seen as complimentary to specific training regimes and good balanced nutritional intake on a daily basis.  Only within this context do nutritional supplements play a contributory and scientifically valid role in health and performance.

It is therefore advisable that parents and coaches seek assistance and advice from relevant health professionals (dieticians) before buying supplements. PVM is not only subcontracted to condition the Vodacom Cheetahs but also provides nutritional assistance to various top schools most notably Grey College Bloemfontein.


It is PVM’s scientific policy to discourage the indiscriminate use of nutritional supplements by high school rugby players
because of legitimate scientific and ethical considerations.  Parents and coaches should be aware of the fact that:

  • ACHIEVING SUCCESS REQUIRES HARD AND SMART WORK.  SUCCESS DOES NOT COME IN A BOTTLE OR IN A TUB!
  • INSTANT SUCCESS IS IMPOSSIBLE AND AVOIDING FADS IS IMPORTANT.
  • LEGISLATION DOES NOT PUT THE ONUS ON SUPPLEMENT COMPANIES TO SCIENTIFICALLY PROVE EFFICACY AND SAFETY OF THEIR PRODUCTS AND OF THE CLAIMS THEY MAKE.
  • RUGBY PLAYERS RUN A HIGH RISK OF CONSUMING SUPPLEMENTS CONTAINING BANNED SUBSTANCES.
  • PRODUCT LABELS AND PERSONS ADVISING ON SUPPLEMENT USE CANNOT BE TRUSTED BLINDLY, ESPECIALLY PHARMACY ASSISTANTS / PERSONAL TRAINERS ETC. WHOM DO NOT DISPOSE OF THE SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE TO ADVISE CONSUMERS.

+++ PVM sub-contracted to condition the Free State Cheetahs rugby players...     A first in South Africa. Olympic rower Jen Hodsen, trained by PVM is competing at the World Rowing Championships at the end of August.      Pseudoephadrine now banned by WADA!      Athletes be informed of the dangers of using thermogenic fat burners.      New improved Octane Gel will be available soon! New Octane Gel now also available in delicious Chocolate flavour Check out iSnack Whole Nutrrition on the Go!      iSnack is the latest Nutritech, Smart Food addition to the PVM range iSnack is the perfect On The Go nutritious snack +++