A Woman’s Guide To Using Supplements For Boosting Fitness Levels

Choosing the right supplement can do wonders for your body. It can boost your immunity, keep you healthy during pregnancy and childbirth, keep your bones and muscles strong, as well as make you lose weight and gain lean muscle.

As a woman you start losing muscle very fast- the process begins as soon as you hit your 40s and sometimes it starts in your 30s itself.

Reduced musculoskeletal health predisposes you to more joint pains, fractures, weak bones and poor muscle tone.

That’s one big reason why experts recommend resistance or strength training for all women, especially older ones.

A good fitness regime coupled with proper nutrient supplementation can cut back on the loss of lean muscle, keeping you healthy and fit into your 80s.

Add these 5 critical elements to your daily diet to supercharge your workouts, lose weight and improve your overall health:

1. Whey protein

Protein is crucial for your body to build muscle mass.

But, any kind of protein will not do, you need a special type of protein supplement. That’s why women into fitness all over the world prefer whey protein.

Whey is a protein found in milk and is very useful for building muscle.

Whey can help you lose weight because it curbs hunger and increases satiety levels.

Drinking whey protein shakes daily will easily make you feel full for hours and help you lose weight and get lean.

Whey’s primary advantage over other forms of protein is its digestibility. It breaks down quickly and sends the amino acids to muscle tissue to build them and prevent their breakdown.

This is the reason whey is very effective in the morning just after getting up for a muscle wakeup call.

And whey doesn't deliver only protein, it also delivers peptides that help increase blood flow to muscles. This helps muscles receive more oxygen, nutrients and hormones right when they need them.

How to take whey?

You can 20 grams of whey protein powder mixed in water immediately on waking up. It can also be taken 30 minutes before workouts and another 20 grams within 30 minutes after training.

2. Casein protein

This is the other type of milk protein which is very popular amongst women who work out.

Casein is a slow digesting protein. It takes a long time to digest, which means it provides a steady stream of amino acids over a span of several hours for muscle growth.

This means you can take a casein supplement right before going to bed to avoid losing muscle at night when you don’t eat anything for 7-8 hours.

How to take casein?

You can take 20grams of casein right before bedtime.


3. BCAAs

BCAAs are 3 amino acids with a branched chain structure. These are Isoleucine, Leucine and Valine and they increase the length of your workouts by reducing exercise-induced muscle fatigue.

BCAAs are also involved in the process of the creation of new muscle tissue. Leucine, in particular, promotes protein synthesis, which is the process which promotes muscle growth.

BCAAs also help boost growth-hormone levels, reduce cortisol levels and increase levels of insulin, the hormone that's critical to replenishing muscle tissue with nutrients after workouts.

How to take BCAAs?

BCAAs come in the form of a powder and you can take 5-10 gram of BCAAs as a pre-workout and post-workout both.

4. Calcium

This essential mineral is a woman’s best friend. It helps make bone and it’s also required for muscle contraction.  Without adequate calcium, your muscles are unable to contract properly.

It also spurs fat loss. Research suggests that this may be because calcium decreases the amount of dietary fat that's absorbed by your intestines.

How to take calcium?

You can take 500-600 mg of calcium twice a day.

5. Vitamin D

The sunshine vitamin is linked to a number of benefits. It makes your bones strong by facilitating calcium absorption and it’s also related to increased muscle strength.

D also supports fat loss, especially when taken in conjunction with calcium.

How to take D?

You can take about 2,000 international units IUs of vitamin D twice per day at the same time you take calcium.

The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests that you steer clear of something called performance enhancing supplements as these may not be effective or even safe. These are supplements marketed to improve athletic performance or promote weight loss.

Also, do more work on eating a healthy and balanced diet as this may be the best way to achieve your goals of health, weight loss and muscle strength and only supplement after taking your healthcare provider’s advice.

About the Author

Shikha Gandhi

Shikha Gandhi is a health journalist and a short film maker. She is also a certified Pranic healer and a lover of long walks.