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supplements for women

Pre Workout Supplements for Women

Equality is a beautiful thing, but not when it comes to pre-workout supplements. When it comes to working out, men and women are very different and their bodies have very different needs. Women don’t usually want something that is going to increase their hair growth, drop their voice, or shrink their bust, which are precisely what some supplements will do. For women there are a range of better pre-workout supplement options that are ideal.

1. Whey Protein

Whey protein is important for everyone, but it is especially useful for a woman’s body pre-workout. It will help increase blood flow and supply unbonded proteins that can be used to build lean muscle.

For a woman’s body, whey protein often takes the place of mass-building supplements like creatine. Creatine can cause severe water-retention as well as bloating, which no woman enjoys, while whey protein just improves energy levels for longer workouts rather than strenuous ones that add bulk.

2. EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) and Caffeine

These two items should be used in conjunction for those that are looking to burn fat. EGCG comes from green tea extract and is one of the best things a woman can put into her body. The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that it helps with fat oxidization so as you move you are shedding more weight.

EGCG to Combat the Jitters

The reason to combine EGCG with caffeine is to reduce the amount of caffeine you put in your body without sacrificing energy. When you combine approximately 300mg of EGCG with 200mg of caffeine you get a fat-burning energy boost that doesn’t have the same crash as taking caffeine alone. It also removes the caffeine jitters, so you won’t suddenly find your hands shaking halfway through a set.

3. Beta-Alanine

As you exercise your body produces hydrogen ions which raise the acidity in your muscles. The more acidic they become, the more tired and sore they are later. Taking Beta-Alanine can fight off these hydrogen ions.

The way Beta-Alanine works is through helping the body create more carnosine in your blood stream. Carnosine helps clean out hydrogen ions so by making more of it, your muscles won’t tire as quickly and won’t be nearly as sore down the line. This means longer workouts with higher intensity and less recovery time. Check out the video below for more information.

4. Calcium

Women suffer greatly from exercise-induced calcium loss. The harder you train, the worse this can become, which means taking a calcium supplement is of dire importance both in the short and long terms.

By taking it immediately before a workout your body has more calcium to help rebuild your bones as some is being used to keep your body in action. This will improve your overall bone density so that even over time you won’t suffer nearly as much calcium loss.

The true benefits of this will come up much later in life when the dreaded menopause beast looms large on the horizon and your risk of osteoporosis increases.

5. Iron

iron supplementsThe University of Texas did a study of some of the most impressive female athletes in the world. What they discovered that was even though these women were otherwise in peak physical condition, they were iron deficient.

Iron is imperative in moving oxygen to the muscles and to the brain. Anyone that doesn’t have sufficient iron will suffer from lethargy, moodiness, increased injuries, lower cognitive function, and loss of interest in exercise. These become especially pronounced in women who typically consume less meat and therefore less iron than men.

A study done by the U.S. Army found that female recruits who took iron supplements not only performed better athletically, they also had more energy and improved test scores showing it makes you stronger and smarter. You can’t lose.

What to Avoid

The biggest thing to avoid for most women is creatine. The reason for this is creatine builds muscle by working with testosterone. Since women don’t produce as much testosterone as men, they don’t get nearly as many benefits from creatine. Oh, but they do get almost all of the side effects, so there’s that bonus.

Women should also avoid D-Aspartic Acid, Tribulus Terristris, and anything else that claims it will help increase your testosterone levels. Even if your intent is to gain muscle mass, the effects on mood and hormonal composition can be dangerous.

Word to the Wise

Before you take any supplement or pre-workout protein drink, check the label. Even if they claim to be “correctly balanced for a woman” the company has often just slapped a pink label on a supplement meant for a man.

Pre workout supplements can play a huge role in muscle gains

How to Make Your Own Pre Workout Supplement

When it comes to pre-workout supplements, there are plenty of pre-existing, ready to consume workout stacks that come in many different varieties based on multiple types of routines. Despite this, many individuals are opting to create their own unique combinations of supplements that are tailored exactly to their personal goals and their bodies’ needs.

Why Would I Want to Make My Own Pre-Workout Supplement?

Different factors can play a role in the decision of what supplements to include. Some questions to ask yourself include:

  • What are my long term goals concerning my weight, muscle gains, and overall health?
  • Am I creating an exercise and supplement regimen to address serious health concerns, to maintain a healthier state of being, or to improve my athletic abilities? Depending on which situation you happen to find yourself in, the right combination of supplements can boost your workouts’ potential benefits.
  • What has worked for me in the past and was I happy with the results? Likewise, what supplement has not worked for my body?
  • What types of beneficial compounds are found in my diet already? Are there high levels of proteins, vitamins, or other beneficial compounds like antioxidants? Some supplements are only beneficial in adequate amounts as our bodies can only absorb a set amount.
  • How difficult is, and how often do I plan on participating in, my training program? Depending on the duration and intensity of your regimen, different supplements can boost the body’s ability to build muscle, maintain muscle gains, promote weight loss, increase our stamina, and provide sources of energy.
  • What are the short term and long term effects of this supplement on my body? Are there any reported negative side effects.

Of course, these are not the be-all, end-all guidelines for creating your own combination of supplements, as there is no one right answer. Hopefully these questions do give you some idea of what you’re looking for in  your personal stack and possibly help you think of some of your own that will help you decide.

Make Your Own Pre-Workout Supplement:

Out of the hundreds of supplements available on the market, the lists below cite just a few of the beneficial compounds to consider for inclusion in your pre-workout supplement.

 Muscle Growth and Energy Supplements

Make your own preworkout for less
Too many options on the shelves? Check out our suggestions to narrow your search.
  1. Increase and maintain muscle gains with Creatine supplement and Protein. Both help the body to reduce recovery time and generate essential energy. [2,3]
  2. Citrulline Malate can assist in weight maintenance as well as maintaining muscle gains by warding off bacterial toxins in the body. Citrulline Malate powder also appears to have the ability to fight fatigue caused by acidosis from lactic acid. [7]
  3. Glutamine is an amino acid that will increase plasma growth hormone levels and stimulate the pituitary gland during workouts. [4]
  4. Tyrosine can help to improve nerve cell function in the body during exercise as well as produce different stress controlling compounds like dopamine. [6]
  5. To help improve circulation and oxygen delivery during physical activity, the supplement Vinpocetine works to widen the blood vessels to decrease blood pressure and ultimately increase workout performance. [5] 
  6. Caffeine is a popular energy booster that is often combined with various other supplements, but the synergy that it has with L-theanine makes it an ideal pre-workout energy booster. Taken in conjunction, the theanine will help calm the feelings of unease and crash often caused by caffeine alone. [8]

Post-Workout Cool Down and Relaxation Supplements

  1. For enhanced post workout recovery assistance, consider Pure Green Tea Extract and Beta-Alanine Supplement. These supplements can contribute to the decrease of fatigue and recovery time. An additional benefit of Green Tea Extract is it also contains a high number of antioxidants which can fight off free radicals brought on by oxidative stress. [1,2,4]
  2. L-theanine can be taken independent of caffeine to calm the nerves after a particularly heavy workout, though it can also be found naturally occurring in teas, albeit in smaller doses.
  3. For particularly stressful sessions Valerian Root, a stress relieveing herb, can provide strong calming effects and Melatonin, a hormon produced in the pineal gland, can help provide more restful sleep. [9,10]

Remember to Learn and Acknowledge Your Limits

The most important thing to keep in mind when creating your own pre-workout supplement is to not overdo it. Some people may be able to take many items from this list at once while others may only be able to take a few. Start slowly while mixing and matching and research the individual supplements that you find appealing as well to see which ones tend to work the best together and how to use them effectively. There are a lot of different pre-workout supplements out there and there’s no better way to find the ones that are right for you but experiencing them first hand.

Sources

  1. www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/green-tea-000255.htm
  2. www.livestrong.com/article/441502-best-pre-workout-supplements/
  3. www.livestrong.com/article/479263-safest-pre-workout-supplements/
  4. http://examine.com/supplements/Beta-Alanine/
  5. www.vinpocetine.com/index.html
  6. www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/tyrosine-000329.htm
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20386132
  8. http://examine.com/supplements/Theanine/
  9. http://examine.com/supplements/Valeriana+officinalis/
  10. http://examine.com/supplements/Melatonin/