What Supplements Should Women Take?
It’s a common question and one that requires a semi-complex answer. Despite what most marketing efforts would lead you to believe, women want more than to just lose weight. The best women’s workout supplement brands also help women to shape and tone their bodies. But, there’s a science to using supplements in a way that fuels your workout without messing with your body. The following supplements for women help to safely blast fat and support the ability to tone and gain muscle in no time.
If you’re looking to ramp up your endurance, creatine supplements can help. Your muscles already contain creatine, and through various chemical exchanges, the compound creates quick energy within the cells. A creatine supplement provides even more potential energy, allowing your muscles to work better for longer spans of time. Because of this, creatine is ideal for runners, weightlifters and other types of endurance athletes. Creatine supplements will help you work out at an increased intensity level and experience incredible benefits like fat burning, muscle toning and strength gains. Plus, studies have found that the use of a creatine supplement may improve brain function, bad cholesterol and inflammation. Take 3 to 5 grams of your creatine supplement 30 minutes before your workout and then the same dosage again immediately following your workout.
2. Whey Protein Powder
As the foundation of most women’s workout stack programs, whey is one of two proteins commonly found in milk. It contains essential branched-chain amino acids to aid muscle growth during workouts and help repair damage caused by training post-workout. Whey protein powder can be the key to your body’s recovery. It’s important to get protein to your muscles quickly following a workout in order to boost protein synthesis and grow muscle. A combination of whey and casein protein after your workout has the potential to spur the greatest increase in lean muscle mass. Take 10 to 15 grams of whey protein powder about 30 minutes before your workout, and then immediately following your workout, take 20 to 30 grams.
3. Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Think you don’t need to take amino acids on their own if you’re already eating a protein-rich diet and taking whey protein powder? Think again. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are made up of three essential amino acids that aren’t naturally produced by the body — isoleucine, leucine and valine. When taken together, these amino acids are easily converted to glucose and give you that extra surge of energy you need. BCAAs can help to maintain existing muscle tissue and allow you to work out longer while minimizing the feeling of hunger and increasing your metabolism. Take BCAAs pre- and post-workout. Start with 2 to 3 grams per dose and slowly increase the dosage to 5 grams.
Arginine is an amino acid that changes into nitric oxide in the body. Researchers have found this helps dilate blood vessels, promoting better blood flow. This means the muscles get more nutrients, supplements and other benefits. Using arginine as part of your women’s workout stack may even help to lower blood pressure and increase your overall energy during workouts. So, while it doesn’t directly increase muscle size, it does give you that extra “oomph” you need at the gym to help you reach your muscle-building goals. To increase these levels, it’s best to take 2 to 3 grams of arginine both pre- and post-workout.
5. Zinc Magnesium Aspartate
We know, we know. You already get zinc and magnesium in your multivitamin. But, that daily pill or gummy isn’t quite giving you enough. By adding zinc magnesium aspartate (ZMA) to your regular women’s workout stack routine, you’ll increase the levels of two very important muscle-boosting hormones: testosterone and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). The zinc aids in protein synthesis, and the magnesium helps with overall muscle growth and body toning. Take two capsules of zinc magnesium aspartate before bed. But if you’re also taking a multivitamin, you may have to adjust your dosage to ensure you’re not taking too much.
Beta-alanine is a nonessential amino acid that the body is incapable of creating on its own. Similar to how arginine creates nitric oxide, beta-alanine creates carnosine. The amount of carnosine the body produces is dependent on how much beta-alanine is present. Supplementing with beta-alanine allows the body to create as much carnosine as possible. This compound has been found to increase not just muscle size, but overall strength, endurance and fat loss. Women who take beta-alanine along with creatine have the potential to drop more body fat than those who take creatine alone. You’ll want to take 1 to 3 grams of beta-alanine pre-workout as well as post-workout.
Remember to always check with your doctor, nutritionist and/or trainer prior to starting a new supplement or making a change to your current women’s workout stack.