I remember when I first started training and my first visit to the supplement store – that was a mind-boggling experience! I was faced with stacks upon stacks of tubs, bars, sachets and containers of a range of different supps all doing different things. What on earth? Where should I even start?
After heading back home empty handed and somewhat confused, I decided to sit down and educate myself into the lowdown of supplements. With so many supplements available in shops which seemed to be geared towards selling to the bodybuilding audience, I couldn’t help but think, well if they are benefitting from all the added extras, surely us ladies can too?
The mistake is thinking supplements are only for bodybuilders or athletes because this simply isn’t the case. Below I have devised a guide of the 7 workout supplements every girl should be taking who likes to train hard in the gym, enjoys regular fitness classes or their own exercise regimes.
Protein is the supplement you should never be without. A tub of protein powder will make it simple and effective for you to give your body what it’s screaming out for after a work out. Whether you strength train or run your muscles will need protein quickly to repair and heal. A protein shake is such a quick and convenient way to get protein to your muscle fibers fast.
- Vitamin C
You are probably very familiar with good old vitamin C already but you might not have known it’s an excellent accomplice to your workouts. When you exercise regularly, your immune system can take a beating, especially if you have a busy work and family life too.
The best thing you can do for your immune system is supply it with vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps to enhance your immune system. A vitamin C deficiency results in a reduced resistance against certain pathogens whilst a higher supply enhances several immune system parameters.
- Amino Acids (BCAA)
Amino acids, or BCAA’s are the building blocks of protein and are what your muscles need to grow and repair. For most women, the goal of exercise is to lose weight and tone up. In order to tone up you need to look after your muscle definition.
By adding a scoop of BCAA powder to your water to drink while you train will supply your working muscles with the important amino acids they need to repair and recover protecting your muscle mass – personally, I never train without them!
- Fish oils for OMEGA 3s
Fish oil is an important supplement to take for women because it actively helps to support overall health, and it also has been found to turn on genes that stimulate fat burning.
Fish oil contains Omega-3 fatty acids and these are essential nutrients, which are important in preventing and managing heart disease. Findings show omega-3 fatty acids can also help to lower blood pressure.
Don’t just use any fish oil because lower grade oils can contain heavy metals that are dangerous to humans. Nordic Oil (best price on Amazon here and it includes vitamin D which is also very beneficial!) is a fantastic and quality brand because it boasts pharmaceutical grade essential fatty acids in high amounts (EPA and DHA).
Because you are what you eat! Extensive and tough exercise/training regimens can deplete your body’s supply of iron, which can lead to you feeling fatigued and your immune system can become significantly weakened.
For this reason it is imperative for women (also due to your menstrual cycles) to take an iron supplement. Significant reduction in the production of red blood cells due to lowered iron levels can even cause anaemia.
Not only this, but according to the NDNS women in particular do not meet current iron recommendations so ensure you get enough by taking a tablet/supplement form of iron.
Because us ladies often need a boost! Bust work and family lives often demand everything we’ve got in terms of energy stores. When it’s time to work out you probably feel a little deflated and well, flat.
Indulge in some caffeine be it from a sugar free energy drink or a pre-workout supplement containing caffeine. This will provide you with the energy you need to give your exercise of workout all you’ve got fuelling your body and mind.
Magnesium is an essential for the production of cellular energy (ATP). Magnesium is also highly beneficial for those women struggling with PMS, including premenstrual migraines, irritability, low mood, and cramps. Magnesium also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Incorporating the above 7 supplements into your diet and training regime will keep your body fighting fit, your mind rejuvenated and you insides working for you not against you! If you haven’t been using the above, you’ll soon notice the difference!