Supplements can be scary right? With a little education and understanding they can be really beneficial and are no different to taking a multi-vitamin. You may already be working out and eating well. But getting and staying fit takes hard work for women of all ages. To get the best results possible, it also helps to take the right supplements. Although supplements can’t replace maintaining a healthy diet, they can give you the edge you need, and who doesn’t want that?
With all the powders, pills and drinks on the market, it can be confusing to know which supplements to take. It’s also helpful to understand men and women often require different supplements to be at their best. Whether your primary goal is to build muscle or get lean, there are certain supplements that can help you reach your fitness goals.
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Creatine is an amino acid that is made in the body and also present in fish and meats. Although you may get some creatine through your diet, you may benefit from more, especially if you are a woman who trains hard. Creatine does not in itself increase muscle mass. Instead, it helps you work out harder and decreases recovery time. Because you are training harder, it indirectly helps increase strength and performance.
Taken in the correct amount, it should not make you bulk up. Side effects, such as water retention may occur at first. But with a little fine tuning, it should not be a problem. For most women, 5g a day is enough. Women who eat a lot of meat and fish may take a lower dose, such as 3g.
DHEA is short for dehydroepriandrosterone. It is a naturally occurring hormone produced by the adrenal glands in both women and men. It is considered a precursor hormone since it gets converted into several other hormones including testosterone. Although you may think testosterone is only a male hormone, women also produce it in small amounts. DEHA gradually decreases as you age. If levels fall too low, it can mess with your overall hormone production and lead to fatigue, decreased libido and lowered immunity. DEHA can benefit women by increasing strength, energy and improving mood. 100 mg taken with meals daily is the recommended dose.
BCAA stands for branched chain amino acid, which is a blend of three amino acids including isoleucine, valine and leucine. Your body does not produce these important amino acids. Instead, you need to get them from your diet or through supplements.
BCAA is helpful for women to repair and build muscle tissue. It also helps with digestion. It can be used as either a pre or post workout supplement. The recommended dosage may vary based on how hard you train. But 5 grams before or after a workout is a good starting dose.
Glutamine is also an amino acid that helps with muscle repair, which makes it a good post-workout supplement for women. If you exercise hard, glutamine levels in your body can be depleted. By taking this supplement, you can decrease muscle breakdown that occurs after a workout. Glutamine not only aids with muscle recovery, but it plays a role in immune system function and protein metabolism. The recommended dose is usually 5 grams after a workout.