So, do women need any of this stuff to have a great workout and meet their fitness goals? What can supplements actually do for you? Is it important to buy products specifically for women?
Women’s Nutritional Needs Differ from Men’s
As a Certified Nutritionist and Personal Trainer, I can tell you that women’s bodies are differentfrom men’s. It’s not a myth, it’s a physiological fact!
Why do you think that the government guidelines are different for men and women? It’s simple – because women are generally smaller than men and require fewer calories, fat, protein and carbs!
Additionally, given that women are physiologically ‘designed’ to bear children, we have a completely different hormonal set up to that of men and simply do not produce enough testosterone to gain the same amount of muscle as men and ‘bulk up’.
Such differences in male and female anatomy mean 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.
In my experience, most active women don’t seem to meet all of their nutritional needs from diet alone! That’s why you should consider adding some female-specific supplements to your diet and fitness plan.
A good supplement for women should definitely add calcium, folic acid, and vitamin D.
Reaching for any old protein shake, that’s probably designed for men, could mean you’re missing out on a range of vitamins and minerals to keep you on top of your game. Also, you could potentially be consuming a lot more calories that you expected given that male specific supplements tend to have a lot higher macros!
So, remember to do your research, ladies! The last thing you want is to undo all the hard work you’ve put in at the gym.
Which Supplements Should You Be Taking?
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, meaning I could recover faster and get back to training quicker! My clients 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 that stiffness when you wake up in the morning, so you’ll have less trouble walking down the stairs to get your breakfast first thing in the morning!
Women face particular challenges when it comes to getting strong and staying fit, and in my experience, their biggest challenge isn’t 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.
Protein is also essential for muscle growth so if you’re looking to get lean, protein shakes are a quick and easy way to meet your protein requirements – and they almost taste like a treat!
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!
- Protein. 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!
- BCAAs. 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.
- Pre-workout supplement. 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.
- 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.
- Multi-vitamin. 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 includes 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.