Supplements are…. Well supplements! Supplements are not food, they are meant to 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 that it 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 the diet each day. Saying that, a multi-vitamin is like your bodies insurance, which can plaster up the holes and nutritional gaps in your diet.Multivitamins are important supplements that are essential not only for women but for anyone on a fitness journey or not. 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. If deficient in any one vitamin- this 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 is therefore 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 anemia. Not only this, but according to the NDNS women in particular do not meet current iron recommendations.
3. Whey Protein
It should come as no surprise that 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 as an in between meal and pre and post workout supplement it is top draw. There are diet whey proteins available so that you can tailor them your nutritional needs if you are looking to 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.
5. Fish Oils
Fish oils are rich in the essential Omega-3 acids (EPA and DHA) which help maintain a healthy heart and brain.
It’s also been proven to reduce inflammation, which people who supplement with fish oils do not need to take anti inflammatory pain killers as often as those who don’t.
Omega-3 also keeps joints healthy and helps to maintain flexibility, which are both key to staying safe and avoiding injury when exercising.
CLA is an omega 6 fatty acid that has been proven to boost metabolism and promote fat loss, alongside helping muscle and strength growth. It’s a 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 two grams with breakfast, lunch and dinner.
BCAAs (branch chain amino acids) increase the rate of protein synthesis and research has shown that they actually increase the cells 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 they can help you 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 muscle building goals.
8. Creatine for Women
Creatine helps your body gain the nutrients necessary for it to grow and recover. A big side effect of creatine for women is bloating. The water weight unlike when you are menstruating will be in your muscles. This can put a lot of women off creatine, but after you stop taking it you lose the extra weight within a week or two. 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.