Supplements are…. Well supplements! They’re not food, but are meant to instead supplement a healthy, balanced diet in order to help us to perform at our best and acquire optimum results.
There are a lot of myths about supplements which can often deter women from trying them: ‘you’ll get too bulky’, ‘they’re only for men’… It can be both overwhelming and confusing, but the truth is that supplements are great for both men and women and could help you take your physique to the next level. The article below will tell you some of the top fitness supplements for women AND men!
1. Multi Vitamins
Often enough, we can’t always consume all of the necessary vitamins through our diets each day. Saying that, a multi-vitamin is like your body’s insurance, which can plaster up the holes and nutritional gaps in your diet. Multivitamins are important supplements which are essential not only for women but for anyone, regardless as to whether or not they are on a fitness journey. Vitamin deficiencies can occur when you partake in intensive exercise programs and it’s important to replenish the body so it can function at its best. Vitamin deficiency can lead to a weaker immune system, which in turn means you are more susceptible to illness.
Extensive training regimens can deplete your body’s supply of iron, which can lead to fatigue and a weakened immune system. For this reason it vital, especially for women (due to menstrual cycles) to take an iron supplement. The reduction in the production of red blood cells due to lowered iron levels could cause anaemia. Not only this, but according to the NDNS women in particular do not meet current iron recommendations.
3. Whey Protein
Whey protein is essential for anyone embarking on a fitness journey where their ultimate goal is to lose fat and gain lean muscle mass.
It is harder for women to tone up and gain lean muscle, whereby whey protein can be a quick and convenient way of getting the protein your body needs daily. It should never replace meals, but is a great supplement before or after a workout, or between meals. There are also diet whey proteins available for those looking to tailor their nutrition and cut back on calories.
Calcium contributes to the development and strength of bones, which is helpful when doing weight-bearing exercises. Our bones get stronger the more we use them, so making sure you keep them healthy is important. Studies have also shown that an increase in calcium intake could also lower pms symptoms.
CLA is an omega 6 fatty acid that has been proven to boost metabolism and promote fat loss, alongside helping muscle and increased strength. It’s an important supplement to add to your diet if you’re serious about gaining leaning muscle mass and losing fat, whereby it is best to take 2g with breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Branch chain amino acids increase the rate of protein synthesis (the body’s process for building muscle), and research has shown that they actually increase the cell’s capacity for protein.
Serotonin levels rise when we exercise and it is this which makes us feel fatigued. BCAAs contain Tryptophan, which can be converted to serotonin, thus, much like a pre-workout supplement, they can help you to push through your workout. They are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and research has shown that those who take BCAAs had a significant reduction in muscle soreness. If you exercise regularly, BCAAs could help the speed of your recovery and support your muscle building goals.
7. Creatine for Women
Creatine helps your body to gain the nutrients necessary for it to grow and recover. A big side effect of creatine is bloating, with water weight in your muscles. This can be off-putting for some, but this additional weight is lost within a week or two of no longer taking the supplement. Several studies have shown that supplementing with creatine improved overall muscle mass and definition. It’s best to take this straight after your workout.
A Take Home Message
Supplements are not just specifically for men or for women. We all have similar bodily processes that only really differ through hormone expression. Supplements are designed and developed for everyone and you shouldn’t be intimidated or confused by the amount available out there. Do your research and try products that you think will benefit you and your fitness plan.
Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.