If you’re a woman who’s into fitness, you’ve probably noticed how many supplements there are out there. Protein powders, pre-workout drinks, energy bars, and aisle after aisle of capsules and tablets and plastic tubs. There are whole stores devoted entirely to supplements, like GNC and Vitamin Cottage. And that’s not even to mention all of the supplement websites!
So where on earth do you begin?!
Do women need any of this stuff to have a great workout and meet their fitness goals? What can supplements do for you, and should you try some? Is it important to buy products specifically for women?
As a Certified Nutritionist and Personal Trainer, I can tell you that women’s bodies are different from men’s. It’s not a myth, it’s a physiological fact!
One of the clearest examples is how women metabolize alcohol differently from men. Alcohol doesn’t just affect us more because we’re smaller! Guys are actually composed of 55 – 65% water, whereas women are made up of just 45 – 55% water. That means that alcohol–and other things we ingest–are more concentrated in women’s bodies and bloodstreams. What’s more, women’s bodies actually contain less of an enzyme that helps us metabolize alcohol, so we absorb more of it more quickly. That’s why women tend to feel their drinks more strongly–and more quickly–than their male counterparts, even when they’re the same weight.
It just goes to show how different we are!
So it makes sense that women need different sets of vitamins and minerals than men do. Not only do we have different hormonal makeups and bear children, we’re also prone to different sets of health issues than men are. Women are often deficient in the very vitamins and minerals they particularly need:
- Calcium, to prevent osteoporosis and keep strong, dense bones.
- Folic acid, which is vital to women’s reproductive health.
- Vitamin D, to help us absorb calcium and balance hormones.
Supplements for Women
In my experience, most active women absolutely don’t meet all of their nutritional needs from diet alone! That’s why you should consider adding some women-specific supplements to your diet and fitness plan.
A good women’s supplement definitely adds calcium, folic acid, and vitamin D. But how else is a women’s supplement different from a men’s product?
The most important difference is the simplest: Men’s products tend to contain more calories!
Because they’re usually larger, men need more energy in a day to maintain their body weight, and even more if they want to build muscle. So products marketed to men don’t often make a point of having low sugar, fat, and calorie content. A product made for women takes into account a woman’s desire to stay lean, and her lower caloric needs both for maintenance and building lean muscle.
This is why you probably don’t want to use a men’s product yourself, even though they seem to be easy to find everywhere! If you grab just any old protein shake, you might end up ingesting more calories than you expected to, and a lot of them will probably be from sugar and fat. But more importantly, you could be missing out on those important vitamins and minerals that you need to function at the top of your game.
So what’s the most important type of supplement for a woman like you?
When I first started adding supplements to my own fitness plan, I noticed the biggest difference when I started taking BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids). I had more endurance, and I didn’t feel as tired as I used to after workouts. My boot campers are often shocked at how much less sore they get after they start taking BCAAs. Don’t get me wrong… you’ll still get sore, but with regular use, BCAAs will decrease your recovery time and lessen those sore muscles when you wake up in the morning!
Women face particular challenges when it comes to getting strong and staying fit, and in my experience, their biggest challenge is nutritional. Women tend to be more emotional about their food than men are, so we’re more prone to cravings.
This is where women’s protein products come in! Lots of my clients love to use a chocolate protein shake to control those sweet cravings and stay on track.
If you’re worried about adding more steps to your fitness routine, don’t be! It doesn’t take any time, definitely less time than it takes you to prepare your meals! Pre- and post-workout nutrition is very important for women, and you should make it a priority if you want to reach your fitness goals.
Top 5 Supplements for Women
I want your supplement decisions to be easy for you, so I’m going to give you my top 5 supplements for better performance and greater health!
You need protein to build and maintain lean muscle, and lean muscle is what shapes the ideal body you’re striving for. Protein also helps your body build hormones and skin. Plus, using a great-tasting protein shake can help you beat cravings and stay satiated!
Imagine your muscles when you exercise. Every time you work out, you’re creating little tears in your muscles, which then heal up stronger every time you rest and recover! BCAAs help you maintain your lean muscle mass even better by instigating and maintaining protein synthesis, the process your body uses to build and repair muscle.
Adding a pre-workout product to your routine will give you more energy during your workouts, increase your focus at the gym, and help you push yourself to reach your fitness goals.
4. Fish oil.
Everyone should be taking fish oil, not just women! The omega-3s in fish oil are great for your heart, an organ we all need to care for. Fish oil has also been shown to improve hair and skin (woohoo!), and it helps support the female reproductive system.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many women skip a multi-vitamin, assuming that they’re meeting all of their vitamin and mineral needs in their regular diet. They usually aren’t! Choose a supplement formulated for women that include vitamins and minerals to support women’s health.
Supplements made for women should have all of the vitamins and minerals you need, and less of the stuff you don’t. They can absolutely help you stay fit and strong for life! Try some of our best-selling supplements by clicking on the banner below.