Post contributed by “Elleboogie“, popular fitness guru and blogger. Men, remember that all this advice also applies to you!
Most women shy away when they hear the word ‘supplements’ in the same conversation as health and fitness. Images of diesel looking ‘she-men’ come to mind and they immediately think that it is not for them. Well, its time to clear things up. Whether you are a recreational exerciser, an athlete or a body builder supplements can play a pivotal roll in reaching your fitness goals. While a proper diet and workout regimen is of utmost importance, sometimes taking supplements can be the missing piece to the puzzle.
Today’s market is saturated with supplements to choose from, and many are specifically formulated for women. So let’s cover some of the basics that women of all levels should definitely be taking.
The first thing I tell everyone is that they should be on a very good multivitamin/mineral.
If you have a healthy diet full of veggies, fruits, lean meats etc then chances are you are probably getting most of your required minerals and vitamins. But if you’re working out then your body has a greater requirement for these to help recover after strenuous workouts. Taking a daily supplement is a safe way to ensure you get all the required vitamins and minerals. As a figure competitor my workouts are usually intense so I take Universal Animal Pak. This is made for male and female bodybuilders in training. I love this supplement as it is complete and fills any deficiencies in my diet. The only con to it is that it is a lot of pills to swallow. I advise you to visit your local pharmacy and choose a complete vitamin/mineral supplement that is well suited to your lifestyle and be sure to consult your doctor before taking them.
The super supplement! You’ve probably heard of these a lot lately. Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid (EFA) that we need to include in our diet because our bodies cannot create them by itself. They are great for cardiovascular health as well as joint flexibility. Many women believe that low-fat or NO-fat diets are the way to go when trying to lose weight. WRONG! EFA actually aids in weight loss. I can’t think of anyone who shouldn’t be taking them. Omega 3s can be found in fish oils. To obtain fish oils you can opt to eat tons of fish or benefit by taking a fish oil supplement. These supplements can be found in most pharmacies.
Protein is important in muscle development. When you increase the protein in your diet your body must burn more calories to break it down. That simply means if you increase your protein consumption you will be increasing you metabolism. Consuming sufficient amounts of protein through food alone can be challenging so whey protein can be taken as a shake pre workout or to assist in recovery post workout. There are tons on the market to choose from. I just advise to choose one low in sugar. Some I have tried and liked are Gold Standard Optimum Nutrition and Isopure Zero Carbs.
Ok so that covers the basics. Now let’s tackle the heavy hitters, that being you ladies who take it up a notch and who are not afraid to get a good sweat going. Here are some supps you may want to consider.
It’s a widely known and used supplement if you are trying to build muscle. There is Creatine designed for women that eliminates the side effects women usually experience with regular Creatine like upset stomach and cramps. But if you work out regularly with weights, it will help build muscle and trim fat. Just be sure to drink lots of water and not to exceed the recommended dosage.
BCAA (Branched Chained Amino Acids)
BCAA’s contain specific amino acids and is widely referred as the building blocks of muscle. Taking these supps may lead to increased muscle mass and an energy boost during workouts. They allow you to train harder and to stay strong longer. They help reduce soreness and are particularly beneficial to endurance athletes. It is a definite must on any athlete’s list.
Almost everyone is striving to achieve that lean chiseled physique (unless you are naturally lean and trying to accomplish the opposite) and fat burners can play a role in attaining it. They are typically used to increase energy and stamina and of course burn fat. As long as they are used correctly they can provide great benefits in achieving your weight loss goal. While they are safe for many, they are not meant for everyone so I advise you speak to your doctor or dietician before making a final choice on one.
Now, keep in mind the supplements I have addressed are the ones I am usually asked about most often but remember the most important supplements to start with are your vitamins, fish oils and proteins. From there you can progress to the bcaa’s, fat burners and creatine.
Once you have a full understanding of the supplements then it is time to start learning about some of the other supplements on the market. But for now start with the basics and remember there are many supplements that are designed specifically for women.
So, for you women out there who think they should not be taking supplements because they are all geared for men – think again, there are many products out there for you as well.