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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.

preworkout safety

Workout Supplement Cautions

DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone)

DHEA is a common supplement used by bodybuilders because of its effect on testosterone and strength. DHEA levels drop beginning at the age of 30, causing decreased muscle mass and libido.

DHEA seems to be a great addition to a workout stack, but there are several reported side effects. Due to the fluctuation of testosterone levels, DHEA can cause psychological disturbances including anger and insomnia. Supplementing with DHEA can also cause gender-specific alterations such as shrinking of testes or unwanted hair growth.

DHEA is likely safe when taken as directed; however, it is important to contact a physician prior to use.

Vitamins C and E

VitaminC[1]These vitamins are found in most workout supplements acting as natural antioxidants. Both vitamins C and E offer many benefits including weight management support, healthy skin, and improved immune function.

It is safe to use vitamins C and E; however, it is much more beneficial to consume these vitamins through whole foods rather than supplements. Overdoing these supplements can result in fewer mitochondria meaning less energy and growth.

Tribulus Terrestris

Tribulus Terrestris is a common ingredient in testosterone boosters and pre workout supplements. Tribulus claims state that the supplement increases testosterone levels, thus improving strength, muscle mass, and sex drive.

There have been no dangerous side effects reported from Tribulus supplementation, so it appears safe to consume. The problem with Tribulus is that there are very little studies to back up the claims stating this supplement supports testosterone or performance enhancement.

Yohimbe

Yohimbine is a popular supplement taken to increase energy and fat loss, which is why yohimbine is a common ingredient in weight loss and pre workout supplements.

This supplement needs to be treated just like other stimulants. Too many stimulating supplements can cause anxiety, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, and insomnia. When using supplements in this category, it is always wise to start at the lowest dose possible to assess tolerance.

Effective and Safe Pre-Workout Supplements

Whey Protein Make sure you have some whey protein and some Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) like isoleucine, leucine, and valine. The whey is the same protein you needed when you were a child to help you grow big and strong while the BCAA’s help your body use the protein more effectively and reduce delayed muscle soreness.

While some workout supplements have approximately 900,000 ingredients, taking the time to make sure you know what each one is and what it does can not only give you a better workout, it can save your life. Also remember that any of the beneficial ingredients – such as caffeine – can be harmful if taken in improper amounts.

The Bottom Line

Taking supplements daily is an excellent way to feel better and work harder; however, some dietary supplements do have side effects. It is always recommended to speak with a doctor before taking any dietary supplement.

whey milk protein

How Much Protein Does a Person Need?

The body needs plenty of protein because protein builds muscle and aids in a variety of internal processes. While most Americans eat plenty of protein in their diets, getting the right kind of protein is just as important as how much is consumed. Different proteins play different roles in muscle growth, immunity, hormone regulation, and energy production. Whey proteins have become popular as a supplement because they can be used for muscle building as well as a variety of other health benefits.

What are Whey Protein Supplements?

whey protein builds muscle

The first step to building a great physique is to make sure you’re ingesting enough protein.

As the name suggests, whey protein comes from whey, a by-product of cheese production. It contains all of the soluble proteins and nutrients from milk, but is dehydrated into a more convenient supplement form. Whey is generally available in three different forms: concentrates, isolates, and hydrosolates.

Concentrates still contain fats and lactose, but are less processed than other whey protein forms. Isolates have the fat and lactose removed and are made up of a higher percentage of pure protein. Hydrosolates are processed even further and metabolize more easily. All of the forms of whey protein can be used as a pre-workout supplement to increase gains in muscle mass (1).

The Benefits of Whey Protein

Whey protein is an incredibly popular supplement for bodybuilders due to its ability to help increase muscle mass and endurance and reduce body fat. It stimulates protein synthesis in the muscles, which means more muscle mass and more energy.

These proteins are also absorbed quickly, meaning that they start working faster than other supplements. Whey protein will increase blood flow to muscles, providing energy and allowing for a faster post-workout recovery. On top of the workout benefits, whey proteins contain leucine, a compound that helps the body to adapt to high levels of stress from exercise. Whey contains antioxidants that destroy free radicals, and also blocks harmful carcinogens from affecting the body. Using whey protein not only helps during and after workouts, but also protects your body from outside threats.

How Much Whey Protein to Take

whey protein shake

Whey protein makes for a delicious pre or post-workout snack.

Ultimately, the body needs at minimum between 46 and 56 grams of protein per day, and whey protein is a great way to reach, or even exceed, that number. Proteins from food are necessary to keep the body running, but adding whey protein has the added benefit of being a workout booster.

A whey protein supplement can be taken before workouts, usually in an amount of 10 to 20 grams, but can also be taken post-workout at 20 to 40 grams. It can also be taken in between meals for an extra boost. The amount of protein needed by the body is actually fairly small; supplementing with whey protein means that you get extra nutrients, more power, and more strength.

1. Burke, Darren G. “The Effect of Whey Protein Supplementation With and Without Creatine Monohydrate Combined With Resistance Training on Lean Tissue Mass and Muscle Strength”. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.

pre-workout supplements for women

The Best Pre-Workout Supplements for Women

Step into any gym, especially the weight room, and you’re likely to see a scene dominated by men. Online resources are heavily geared toward men as well, with dozens of large sites, forums, and stores focused on providing men with what they need to succeed in the gym. What about the other half though? Should women be relegated to slow-paced elliptical workouts and measly salads to achieve fitness goals?

No, absolutely not! Women can benefit from weight training just as much as men. Sure, you may not want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger when you walk out of the gym (and your natural biology would make sure this change doesn’t happen), but who doesn’t want to be stronger, leaner, and more toned?

So suppose you’re already lifting weights or ready to make the jump, you will want to make sure you are getting the most out of your time in the gym. Pre-workout supplements can do just that. While they’re often associated with muscle-bound guys screaming during squats, pre-workout supplements can offer many benefits to women.

Benefits of Pre-Workout Supplementation

For a long time, supplementation was viewed from a post-workout perspective. Empty the fuel tank, refill the fuel tank. Over recent years, however, it’s become increasingly obvious that by filling your tank with the right kind of fuel before you workout, you can make sure the right nutrients are ready to go right when you need them.

Pre-workout supplements can help you maximize:

*Strength – Any time you workout, you have to overload your muscles to get results. Pre-workout supplements can help you lift more weight and for a longer duration while training and ensure your muscles have the energy to perform.

*Recovery – DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) can be a thorn in the side of any athlete. The right supplements can reduce muscle soreness so you’ll be ready for the next session faster.

*Fat Loss – By taking supplements that help your body use its own fat as fuel, you can improve body composition by burning fat while you build muscle. Lean muscle is also referred to as “metabolic currency” meaning the more lean muscle you have, the better you are at burning fat!

Which Supplements Should I Take?

Now that you’re well aware of the benefits of pre-workout supplementation, you’re probably wondering which supplements you should be taking and you may be a little confused. This confusion is understandable as there are many effective pre-workout supplements on the market. Fear not! Below are the essentials of pre-workout supplements for women. These will help you achieve the benefits listed above and get the most out of your gym time.

Magnesium Creatine Chelate

Creatine is one of the most widely-used supplements and a staple in many athlete’s stacks. Creatine helps support performance while training and improved recovery post-workout. There is a downside to some forms of creatine, however. Some users report bloating when taking basic forms of creatine, mainly creatine monohydrate. So, what’s the best creatine for women that don’t want to walk around feeling bloated?

Magnesium creatine chelate is a relatively new form of creatine that helps you get performance and recovery benefits of creatine without feeling like you swallowed a balloon. One study even showed that magnesium creatine chelate was 6-8% more effective than creatine monohydrate alone. Higher performance with no bloating worries make this the best pre-workout creatine for women.

Whey Protein

As you exercise, muscle tissue is broken down and then repaired afterward by building blocks of protein called amino acids. Whey protein, another staple in the supplement world, helps repair muscles faster by delivering amino acids to muscles quickly. When you repair muscles quicker two main things happen. First, you experience less soreness so you’re ready to get back in the gym faster. Second, and perhaps the more important of the two, you build muscle and see results faster. Whey protein is normally sold in powdered form and in a variety of flavors so you can mix it with other supplements in a pre-workout shake.

Citrulline Malate

Citrulline malate is a complementary supplement to magnesium creatine chelate. By reducing muscle fatigue and improving strength, citrulline malate makes you more efficient in the gym and helps you work harder. Citrulline malate works in two main ways. First, it increases blood flow to the muscles, removing toxins, and delivering nutrients. Second, it increases ATP energy in muscles, giving you that extra boost to work harder. The icing on the cake with citrulline malate is the recovery benefit. Research shows that citrulline malate not only improves performance during a workout, but can reduce soreness by up to 50%!

Nitric Oxide

Nitric oxide (sometimes shown as the acronym NO) is a fantastic supplement with multiple benefits. First, it increases blood flow to the muscles during workout. It delivers more nutrients and oxygen to the muscles, enabling you to workout harder and longer in both strength and endurance exercises. The increased flow of nutrients to muscles also boosts recovery. Additionally, it helps the body use existing energy more efficiently and improve lypolysis. Meaning, glucose in your bloodstream and stored fat can be broken down and used even faster as fuel during a workout!

There you have it, four high-quality pre-workout supplements that come highly recommended for women! As you can tell, these all have incredibly synergistic effects. Whether it is whey protein providing amino acids or nitric oxide moving them to muscles while burning off fat for energy, these supplements are sure to help you get the results you want in the gym.

time of the day to workout

What is the Best Time of the Day to Exercise?

Is There a Best Time to Exercise?

Exercising is certainly one of those things that we all should be doing on a regular basis. Yet the studies show that most of us are not, or at least not as regularly as we should. There are those who say that whatever time you actually workout and feel good about doing so is the best. Others say that basing your exercising times around your circadian rhythms is the best option. Let’s take a look at some of the research.

Exercise and Circadian Rhythms:

The circadian cycles within the human body regulate our temperature, blood pressure, alertness, metabolism, and a whole host of other factors. But research also suggests that we can train and even reset these rhythms. So, if we decide to exercise in the morning (or whenever), the body and the circadian cycles will reset and adjust. This resetting is actually what we do every day when using an alarm clock. After all, not everyone has a body that is ready to wake up when it is still basically dark outside in order to get to work on time.

The Research:

Current research does indeed suggest a “best” time for working out. This is normally the late afternoon. The main reasoning behind this is that the body temperature is at the highest. Other factors include strength and endurance being greater at this time than any other in the day. Also, we are most alert and since the muscles are already warm and flexible it is easier to warm up and injuries are much less likely.

Despite these findings, research also shows that people who exercise in the morning are more consistent in their efforts. There is also some evidence to show that exercise improves sleep quality, which is a nice extra benefit.

Some Pre-Workout Supplements to Consider:

One of the best ways to make sure that you are ready for your workout and get all you can out of them is to use a pre-workout supplement.

Whey protein can be very effective. It contains branched chain amino acids that are responsible for increased energy and quicker muscular recover. It is also great to take immediately after finishing your workout to further speed up the recovery process.

Citrulline Malate is another very effective pre-workout supplement. This is an amino acid and also a key intermediary in the production of cellular ATP (which is basically energy that is delivered directly to the muscles). This can also lead to better muscular pumps and being able to exercise at a stronger and higher level.

lifting-weight-200x300

Why Non Lifters Can Benefit from Pre-Workout Supplements

Pre-workout supplements are most known for being used by bodybuilders and gym enthusiasts. This however does not mean that this is all pre-workout supplements can be used for. You don’t have to be a regular gym-goer to benefit from the positive effects of pre-workout supplements.

There are all sorts of great supplements that can be used to enhance performance of all types of athletes. Basketball, football, volleyball players, runners, gymnasts and others can benefit from pre-workout supplements, even if they do not plan to hit the gym and lift weights.  Besides athletes, every day people can also benefit from these supplements.

Below you can see a short list that will emphasize and outline how some of the most popular pre-workout supplements can benefit athletes, and regular consumers alike.

Magnesium Creatine Chelate:

You don’t have to go to the gym to feel the effects of this supplement. This however will be more beneficial to athletes rather than average people. Magnesium Creatine Chelate will increase energy and stamina for endurance sports that include running, swimming and many team sports.  Also when participating in highly demanding physical activities, Creatine will help decrease muscle fatigue, thus helping you feel better next morning.

Whey Protein

Whey protein is another supplement that most people have heard off. It is one of the most researched, and safest commercially available supplements. Whey protein can be used by both athletes and just average, everyday people. Whey can repair previously damaged muscle tissue, and even out blood sugar levels. Besides fixing small problems your body might be having, whey also increases the feeling of fullness. By feeling fuller than you actually are, you can cut down on your meal size without feeling hungry. This may eventually lead to weight loss in some consumers.

Glutamine Supplement

L-glutamine is one of the 20 amino acids encoded in the genetic code. The majority of your body’s glutamine is produced in the muscle mass. L-glutamine helps decrease muscle break down, and increase muscle recovery time. Besides helping you keep your muscle in tip-top shape, glutamine benefits the immune system, protein synthesis, as well as nitrogen retention; making it a perfect natural supplement for everyone, including your average person. You can buy glutamine from HSW’s store.

Vitamin C Supplements

Everyone reading this has definitely heard about the importance of Vitamin C, so I will not go too in depth on it. There are all sorts of supplements that include large concentrations of Vitamin C. Such supplements are used to repair tissue cells, help relieve stress from compromised immune systems. Vitamin C also has some cosmetic benefits, certain supplements will help make your skin look healthier.

Beta Ecdysterone

Beta Ecdysterone is found more than 150 plants. It is extracted from herbs like Cyanotis vaga and Leuzeae.  The Beta-Ecdysterone supplements works by increasing nitrogen retention as well as protein synthesis. Ecdysterone helps with weight loss, improves your nerve function, and lovers you LDL cholesterol.

Above are only some of the more popular supplements that are mostly directed at as “pre-workout” for body-builders and gym-goers, however and average person can also benefit from these supplements. Remember that this article only covers a few, there are a ton more that will help you stay in shape and maintain your body healthy.

Sources:

http://circlepad.com/Hooptrition/Non_Weightlifters_Guide_to_Supplementation
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/ctgblue2.htm

http://www.wisegeek.com/how-do-i-choose-the-best-anabolic-supplements.htm