What Workout Supplements Do Women Need?
Around ten to twenty years ago, it was common to see a clear gender split in the gym. Weightlifting was seen as a predominantly male activity, while women were usually found on the cardio machines or taking part in group classes.
Thankfully, the fitness industry has changed a lot. Thanks to better education and a host of female fitness influencers online, women are now as comfortable on the squat rack as they are on the treadmill. Many women have now moved away from weight loss as the sole goal of their workouts, and instead are also interested in building muscle and improving strength.
For many men and women, fitness goals are now aligned and everyone understands the importance of strength training and diets. However, that’s not to say that both genders can work out in the exact same way. In fact, there are a number of biological differences that mean women’s bodies respond differently to men’s, even if they were to do the exact same workouts.
How Do Men and Women’s Workouts Differ?
There are several factors that affect how women train compared to their male gym buddies. These include:
- Hormones – men naturally have higher levels of testosterone, while women have higher levels of oestrogen. Testosterone is the hormone associated with building muscle, which means men usually find it easier to gain muscle mass than women do. In contrast, oestrogen can lead to the build-up of fat cells because these are needed for women to reproduce.
- Fat Loss – because of the levels of oestrogen in their bodies, women often struggle to lose fat as quickly as men do. Even when on strict diets and plans, they’re often left with more stubborn areas of fat than men.
- Metabolism – more muscle mass usually leads to a faster resting metabolism (which is essentially how much energy your body uses when not exercising), which means that men naturally burn more calories than women. Without this muscle mass, women’s metabolisms are often slower and so macronutrients such as carbohydrates can take longer to burn through.
- Recovery – anecdotally, many females report suffering more from DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), which can mean that it takes them longer to get back into the gym after a heavy workout. If this is the case, then men can also typically fit in more workouts per week than women.
All of these factors combine to mean that theoretically speaking, men can find it easier to lose weight and get into shape. This means that if a woman in the gym has similar goals to a man, she will likely need to approach the workout differently. This could be in regards to the length of her gym sessions, the frequency, and the number of sets and reps she completes.
As to be expected, diet will also need to be considered. This is where supplements come in, as they provide an easy way for people to ensure they’re getting the right blend of nutrients and vitamins into their body.
Do Women Need Different Supplements?
The short answer for this is no – but the quantity of the supplement is likely to be different for women. Generally speaking, supplements that are designed to improve performance in the gym should work for both men and women if their goals are similar. However, some supplements could actually end up hindering a woman’s progress if some tweaks aren’t made.
A good example of this is protein. Some protein powders aimed at the general male market can have upwards of 300 calories per scoop, and so for men taking two scoops a day, this is an extra 600 calories on top of their usual food. For a man with a lot of muscle mass, whose resting metabolism is good, this isn’t usually a problem.
However, for a woman who is more naturally prone to weight gain, lacks muscle mass and has a slower metabolism, those extra calories could be a much bigger problem. She could fail to hit her calorie deficit and in turn not be able to burn fat as effectively. This is why many protein powders aimed at women come in a ‘diet’ format, where one scoop only equates to around 100 calories. This way, they get the benefits of protein without the added calorie intake.
Best Supplements for Women
As mentioned, most dietary supplements on the market can be taken by both men and women. However, some that are particularly beneficial for women include:
- Caffeine – caffeine is commonly used in pre-workout mixes to increase energy and improve focus during workouts. This is helpful for both sexes, but considering women may have to work for a longer time before seeing progression, it can be especially helpful to get them through gruelling sessions
- ‘Fat Burners’ – these supplements usually contain several different thermogenic ingredients such as caffeine and green tea extract. They essentially aim to help the body burn more calories by reducing appetite, boosting energy and increasing the temperature of the body. As women struggle more than men with stubborn fat cells, many find an additional supplement like this beneficial
- CBD – as mentioned, women can be more prone to DOMS and recovery problems than men. So, while both genders can benefit from the calming, anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis oil, women in particular may be interested in the benefits of CBD on sports recovery. Taking a CBD supplement could mean that they can increase the frequency of their workouts, and ultimately reach their goals more quickly. Also, as our CBD-infused sports drinks are low calorie, they won’t prohibit women’s progress by adding unnecessary fats into the diet.
While it may be true that men are predisposed to seeing faster results from workouts, there’s no reason for women not to progress at a great pace. By making small tweaks to diet and approaching workouts in a slightly different way, women can work with their bodies to shed fat and build muscle.