If you are serious about rugby, you need to be serious about recovery too. Playing and training for rugby takes an enormous amount out of your body, and you can only play and train at your best if you put everything you’ve lost back in as soon as possible.

The demands of rugby are very specific, and there are very few sports that share those demands. You need to be fit, strong, fast, powerful, and agile, and training for all these things at the same time is draining. Training like this demonstrates just how important recovery really is.

Then there is the rugby itself – it’s tough, bruising, and it’s very normal to play when injured – or at least somewhat knocked around from your last match or full-contract practice.

To enhance performance and improve recovery, many rugby players turn to supplements. Supplements are nothing new and can be dated all the way back to Roman times when gladiators consumed bull’s balls to give them energy. Viking warriors called Berserkers used the herb bog myrtle to enhance aggression, and that gives rise to the expression “going berserk.”

Things have moved on a bit since the days of Roman gladiators and Vikings – thankfully – and now science has stepped in to provide cutting edge supplements designed to enhance performance and recovery. Once of the most well-known and commonly used supplements is creatine.

What is creatine?

Creatine is one of the most researched sports supplements around and has been in use for 20-plus years. In sports supplement years, which are a bit like dog years, this is a very long time indeed. Supplements that don’t work come and go in a flash, but the longevity of creatine means that, yes, it really does work.

Creatine is a naturally occurring substance commonly found in muscle tissue. If you eat red meat, you can obtain creatine because you are consuming animal muscle. It plays a vital role in the production of adenosine triphosphate, ATP for short. This is your body’s primary source of chemical energy. The more ATP you have, the longer and harder you’ll be able to train or play and the quicker you’ll recover.

The benefits of creatine

The benefits of creatine are most closely associated with short-burst anaerobic power activities, such as rugby. It has been shown to improve performance in most users. In all the years it has been studied, creatine has been demonstrated to be safe and, being a naturally occurring substance, is not banned by any sporting authority. (1)

Creatine is quite the super supplement, and its benefits include:

  • Increased strength
  • Increased endurance – more reps performed
  • Less fatigue
  • Increased bodyweight
  • Increased muscle size
  • Reduced body fat
  • Increased work capacity
  • Decreased joint pain

Most creatine supplements are in for form of creatine monohydrate. More exotic types of creatine exist, including:

  • Creatine nitrate
  • Creatine magnesium chelate
  • Creatine phosphate
  • Creatine anhydrous
  • Di-Creatine and Tri-Creatine Malate
  • Creatine citrate
  • Creatine oroate
  • Effervescent Creatine
  • Buffered creatine
  • Creatine hydrochloride
  • Creatine Ethyl Ester
  • Liquid creatine

In most instances, these creatine variations are more expensive but no more effective than regular creatine monohydrate, so if you are going to use creatine, it makes sense to use the most researched, most cost-effective type – and that’s creatine monohydrate.

Recovery – let’s get serious!

Creatine is undeniably awesome for anyone involved in explosive anaerobic sports but, as a standalone recovery supplement, it’s not perfect. That’s why, at Ruck Science, we’ve taken creatine monohydrate and combined it with several additional ingredients to develop what we believe is the most effective post-exercise recovery supplement around. We've called it Post-Rugby and it's available now!

In addition to creatine monohydrate, we’ve included:

  • L-Glutamine
  • L-Arginine
  • L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine – the branch-chain amino acids
  • L-Citrulline
  • L-Carnitine
  • Bromelain
  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • Electrolyte Blend
  • Trisodium Citrate Dihydrate
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Black Pepper Extract

You might be thinking about pimping your current creatine supplement with some of these ingredients and making your very own recovery formula. Of course, you are free to do exactly that. But, if you do, be prepared to spend a whole lot of money in the process! Also, it’s worth considering that we have spent ages working out the ideal ratios between ingredients to create the most effective product.

When it comes to designing supplement blends, part of the skill is in working out how each element will work with the others and, by combining them in very specific quantities, it is possible to create a synergistic effect where, literally, two plus two equals ten! With that out of the way, let’s look at what each one of those ingredients will do for you.

L-Glutamine

L-Glutamine is an amino acid heavily involved in protein synthesis which means it enhances muscle repair and recovery. Also, Glutamine has been revealed as a very effective intestinal and immune system booster. (2) Hard exercise can cause short-term immune system suppression which can lead you open to marauding illness. L-Glutamine, by strengthening your immune system, can help ward off nagging illness.

L-Arginine

L-Arginine is another amino acid which your body converts into nitric oxide – a well-known vasodilator. This means it opens your blood vessels and enhances blood flow. The more oxygenated blood you can get to your hard-working muscles, the more quickly they will recover after exercise. L-Arginine is also linked to increased production of growth hormone, a powerful anabolic substance that enhances muscle growth and recovery. (3) L-Arginine is so good that it's the central focus of our nitric oxide booster No2 Max. It comes with Post-Rugby in Ruck Recovery (Pro).

Branch Chain Amino Acids

L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine – collectively known as the branch-chain amino acids, or BCAAs for short, these amino acids are so-called because of their distinct branched appearance. BCAAs are linked to improved recovery and increased protein synthesis. (4)

L-Citrulline

L-Citrulline is converted to L-Arginine and has been shown to increase levels of L-Arginine beyond what would be possible by using L-Arginine alone. It has also been shown to reduce muscle soreness and enhance anaerobic performance. (5)

L-Carnitine

L-Carnitine is another amino acid renowned for its recovery-boosting abilities. It boosts nitric oxide production and can help reduce muscle soreness. (6)

Bromelain

Bromelain is an enzyme extracted from the fruit or stem of pineapples. It has many therapeutic applications including the treatment of osteoarthritis, the treatment of cancer, improving recovery after surgery, and healing burns. Bromelain has also been shown to reduce muscle soreness and inflammation. (7)

Electrolyte Blend

When you perspire, you lose water and host of minerals called electrolytes. Low levels of electrolytes can interfere with muscle function and may lead to cramp and weakness, so replacing lost electrolytes is essential for speedy recovery. (8)

Our electrolyte blend includes Trisodium Citrate Dihydrate, Potassium Chloride, and Sodium Chloride designed to maximize fluid replacement and restore the most commonly lost minerals.

Black Pepper Extract

Black Pepper Extract is used in Ayurvedic medicine and has many healthful properties. It’s active ingredient, piperine, is linked to reduced inflammation, and the treatment of colic, anemia, heart trouble and diabetes. However, it’s main strength is as an enhancer of nutrient absorption. (9) Piperine has been shown to inhibit the enzymes that would otherwise attack and destroy other molecules. By including black pepper extract, more of the supplements you consume will make it to their proper destination.

Final Thoughts

Serious rugby requires a serious recovery supplement. Don’t undermine your efforts – use our new creatine-based recovery supplement to gain and edge over the opposition and get the most out of each and every workout. On game day, you’ll really notice the difference.

References

(1) – Creatine Supplementation and Exercise Performance: A Brief Review
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3963244/

(2) – Examine.com: Glutamine
https://examine.com/supplements/glutamine/

(3) – Growth hormone, arginine, and exercise
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18090659

(4) – Branched-chain amino acid supplementation does not enhance athletic performance but affects muscle recovery and the immune system
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18974721

(5) – Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20386132

(6) – L-Carnitine L-tartrate supplementation favorably affects markers of recovery from exercise stress
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11788381

(7) – Bromelain reduces mild acute knee pain and improves well-being in a dose-dependent fashion in an open study of otherwise healthy adults
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12587686

(8) – Recovery from prolonged exercise: restoration of water and electrolyte balance
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9232555

(9) – The effects of black pepper on the intestinal absorption and hepatic metabolism of drugs
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21434835