The best way to support a fitness routine and boost training performance is through nutrition, rest, and consistency. However, women engaging in a fitness routine often have numerous other responsibilities to juggle. As such, it can be hard to find balance when training.
Supplements are designed to help fill gaps in nutrition and support bodily health. Here are some of the best supplements for women who want to give it their all and smash their fitness goals.
There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the use of multivitamins. While some physicians and nutrition specialists swear by them, others say that multivitamins aren’t worth the money. It ultimately depends on your nutritional habits and the quality of the multivitamins you use.
If you struggle to get the nutrients you need every day, look for a high-quality multivitamin with a high bioavailability level. Grocery store multivitamins often have a shiny coating that extends the shelf life. Unfortunately, it’s that coating that limits the absorption during digestion. Higher quality multivitamins lack that thick coating and are easier to digest.
When looking for a high-quality multivitamin, it’s best to keep it simple. Look for a supplement that offers the most essential micronutrients in amounts close to your recommended daily allowance (RDA). Many vitamin manufacturers will add special ingredients as a marketing effort, but they tend to be in nutritionally insignificant quantities.
It’s also important to be mindful of the serving size. Taking more than two capsules per day to meet the RDA isn’t economical.
Krill oil supplements are one of the best foundational supplements women can take to support their training. With numerous benefits for the body, high-quality krill oil is worth its weight in gold.
The primary benefit of taking krill oil is the proven effect it has in fighting inflammation— a result of the high level of Omega-3 fatty acids. To understand why Omega-3s are essential for fighting inflammation and why that matters for women, you need to understand what inflammation is.
While it has become a buzzword in the health and wellness industry, inflammation is a normal bodily process. When you are injured, blood flow to the area assists with healing. The area becomes warm and swollen internally as healing takes place— this is inflammation. However, this natural process is meant to handle acute injuries; the problem arises when acute inflammation becomes chronic, as it puts the body under constant stress.
One of the primary reasons why chronic inflammation is such a widespread problem is our modern diet. Many oils and meat products have high levels of Omega-6s. While Omega-6s are another fatty acid that can benefit the body, they need Omega-3s for regulation and balance. Omega-3s are found naturally in wild game and some seafood (like krill), making them harder to ingest naturally.
Supplementing with krill oil can bridge that ever-widening gap and help fight chronic inflammation. It’s vital for joint and muscle health, cognitive function, and even PMS regulation. Supplementing with krill oil can keep women strong and healthy during training.
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are a popular supplement in the fitness world. In layman’s terms, BCAAs promote protein synthesis and muscle recovery. These complex building blocks go straight to the bloodstream to help repair damaged muscle tissue— a normal result of fitness training. It’s the damage and repair cycle that builds strength and toned muscles over time.
Supplementing with BCAAs can help women enhance their post-workout recovery and offset the impacts of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Many BCAA supplements also have added electrolytes and fun flavors to help encourage adequate hydration during and after training.
There’s some confusion around the use of protein powder for fitness and weight loss. It’s worth noting using protein powder when you’re not training is often useless. Additionally, protein powder isn’t a necessity if you’re hitting the gym.
So why should women consider supplementing with protein powder?
Like other supplements, protein powder is meant to fill a gap in your nutrition. If you struggle to get adequate protein through your daily consumption, using a supplement can help. Protein plays a vital role in muscle repair and growth while also helping with satiety and hunger management. Drinking a protein shake doesn’t mean you’ll magically build muscle or meet your goals.
The most common types of protein powder are whey and casein, which are milk-based. You can also get plant-based alternatives such as pea, rice, or hemp protein. It’s important to look at the serving sizes and research the additives and fillers used in the product you choose.
Fruit and vegetables are filled with micronutrients that do wonders for your body. These vitamins and minerals help with everything from immune support to tear duct production. However, they often get overlooked for fad diets and misinformation surrounding carbohydrates.
Powdered greens are a supplement that helps deliver the nutrients of fruit, vegetables, and other beneficial plant matter when you aren’t getting enough in your diet. While they aren’t a replacement for eating your vegetables, they are better than nothing.
The immunity support is more important now than ever, as heavy training causes a temporary dip in immune function. As we now live in a world where a global pandemic is the new reality, maintaining a strong immune system is integral.
Finally, many women are surprised to discover that they have a calcium deficiency. Taking a calcium supplement is especially important for those who follow a vegan or dairy-free diet. Women, in particular, are more susceptible to calcium deficiencies due to menstruation.
While lifting weights helps support and maintain bone density, calcium also plays an important part. As women are significantly more likely to develop osteoporosis with age, a calcium supplement can prevent debilitating injuries.
One caveat if you choose to supplement with calcium: this mineral doesn’t interact well with iron. For this reason, you’ll rarely see iron and calcium together in a multivitamin (if you do, choose another brand). If you take a multivitamin or iron supplements, take one in the morning and one in the evening to allow ample digestion of each.
Supplements will never replace good habits and proactive health. However, they can help busy women meet nutritional needs while juggling the many responsibilities of modern life with their fitness goals.