Creatine is one of the few substances which positive impact on development of overall fitness is 100% certain, confirmed by scientific research and daily practice. Unfortunately, although the use of this substance appears to be relatively simple, it is quite often accompanied by a variety of errors associated with both selection of the preparation and its use. In this article I will try to point out these misunderstandings and at the same time offer a better alternative.
Mistake # 1: you take creatine too early
Although taking creatine by people who have barely just started regular workouts is not a mortal sin, after taking into consideration the pros and cons it turns out not to be a very sensible option. Usually the first weeks of training is the time when attention should to be paid to such issues as polishing your techniques and composing a good diet. Too early inclusion of creatine can lead to masking significant errors in this field and promoting their fixation. You can consider taking creatine at the earliest after a few weeks of regular training performed under the supervision of a trainer or at least a well-experienced (and sensible) colleague and after you settle your nutrition issues. Only this order is correct and you should follow it strictly.
Mistake # 2: wrong selection of creatine type
While several years ago the market offered only two forms of creatine (monohydrate and phosphate), today it would be difficult to count all of its forms and combinations. Aside from the phosphate and monohydrate mentioned above, one can also find: esters, apple, citrate, Arginine Alpha-ketoglutarate, nitrates, anhydrides and many others. Meanwhile, most of these inventions do not have the appropriate credentials in the form of scientific research proving their effectiveness, and really there is no indication that any of these forms is better than the popular "mono". You should know that it is monohydrate creatine that is the best studied form of the substance and it is known beyond doubt that it is chemically stable and that is characterized by excellent digestibility.
Mistake # 3: a naive belief in "anabolic carbohydrate"
There is a theory which states that in order to effectively saturate muscles with creatine it is necessary to consume special carbohydrate preparations which, through the effect on insulin secretion, intensify the transport of this substance. The situation is interesting because although there are scientific studies showing that taking creatine and sugars together actually increases the effectiveness of supplementation, there are some really good reasons why you should not do that. First of all, you need to keep in mind that doses of carbohydrates used in the study were relatively large and sometimes reached even 100 g. Secondly, carbohydrates used in these tests could be everything but particularly valuable since they were in the form of sucrose or glucose. Thirdly - most importantly - stuffing yourself with considerable doses of simple sugars can quickly lead to many problems such as increase in body fat and insulin sensitivity disorder... which paradoxically may impair the effectiveness of supplementation. Avoid adding sugar to creatine. It is better to add it to your meal.
Mistake # 4: taking incorrect doses
There are many theories about how to take creatine and in what doses. Although there is no single equitable method of taking creatine, some common practices should be considered incorrect. An example might be the option to take creatine at a dose of 1-3 g a day (which is recommended in such forms as creatine anhydrous, and in the case of buffered creatine and the so-called "constant supplementation" where sometimes the suggested dose is 0.03 g per kg of body mass). Unfortunately, the use of such amounts of this substance usually does not bring the desired effect, and even if any appear, they are smaller than when creatine is taken in the amount of 5 to 10 g per day. On the other hand, you can also face suggestions to take creatine in doses exceeding 10-15 g a day, which is also not good, because firstly it gives nothing more (with the exclusions of a short-term loading: 20 g a day; such actions are justified unless they last longer than 4-7 days), and secondly: it is not known whether it is safe for your health.
Mistake # 5: too short use of creatine
According to the content of the labels on dietary supplements, recommendations on the duration of creatine usage should take approximately 3-4 weeks. Meanwhile, less than a month is a little short to register any lasting effects of supplementation such as an increase in strength and muscle mass. In practice, real progress can be recorded in the long term. Therefore, it is good to take creatine for a minimum of 8 weeks, and usually even longer. Contrary to popular belief you don't not need to reduce the dose in such a case. Go ahead, you can continue with the dose of 5-10 g per day. Such solutions work very well, especially if your goal is to develop muscles.
Mistake # 6: avoid the use of creatine during fat reduction
Although many people tend to think that creatine is a substance whose role is only to support the development of muscle mass and strength, in practice it can be successfully used during body fat reduction. Thanks to its inclusion in supplementation during weight loss you can get the effect of optical recomposition of your body: muscles become fuller and will look larger despite the caloric deficit, and at the same time losing body fat will give a very desirable visual effects. Besides, creatine works as well as anti-catabolic agent that protects muscle tissue from breakdown plus it has a positive impact on the ability to work out. It should however be understood that the use of creatine may a little mask some "results in the reduction," or at least those visible on the bathroom scale. Creatine can cause increase in lean body mass, which obviously makes it difficult to verify progress if your only determinant is the scale.
To sum up
As you can see, there is at least a few good ways to... not make use of the full potential of creatine. You should have this in mind and try to choose the strategy that will draw maximum benefit from supplementation with this substance. To do this, select the appropriate form of creatine, take it in the right dosages and forget about additives. It should also be noted that on average, creatine is not intended for people who only have started their training, however, after gaining some experience you can successfully use it both in the course of building your mass and strength, and during fat reduction.