The best supplements for active women

Here’s how to get even more out of your workout

You may be filling your diet with superfoods and training a few times a week, but have you ever wanted to get even more out of your routine? The answer could lie within supplements, as they’re an easy way to boost the effectiveness of your workouts and diet throughout the day. We asked Holly Louise Vogt - a pharmacist, personal trainer, bodybuilder (yes, we’re talking serious #fitspo) and Body Science ambassador - for her best advice on the topic.  

You want to: improve muscle recovery

With summer in full swing, your training is probably at an all time high. When your body is working hard, you want to get maximum results for all your efforts; here’s how to get the most out of your activities.
Supplement you need: Protein powder
Why: Most women steer away from protein powder as it is usually misconceived as something that makes women bulky, however Vogt thinks otherwise. “Whey protein does not make women bulky; instead it can help women increase fat loss while preserving lean muscle mass and is essential for workout recovery. Because your muscle tissue is made up predominantly of protein, it needs an infusion of dietary protein, such as whey, which is rich in essential amino acids and can repair the damage that occurs during exercise.”

Good to know: Whey protein is ideal, however if you have a lactose intolerance then plant-based proteins are still highly effective.

You want to: reduce muscle cramps

There’s nothing worse than getting a cramp mid-training, or worse, when you’re woken up by pains in your limbs. Here’s how to combat the issue.
Supplement you need: A blend of magnesium and calcium
Why: While you may be eating a balanced diet, you could still be missing out on vital levels of magnesium and calcium needed for daily bodily functions - particularly if you’re training hard. “Magnesium aids in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, a process that is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm,” says Vogt. “Due to the fact that many people do not get the recommended dietary intake, taking a magnesium supplement may therefore help to prevent muscular cramps and spasms. For best results, it is recommended that magnesium be taken in an easily absorbed powdered form. Calcium is important for bone health and it is also an electrolyte, which is important for muscle function, especially contraction. Calcium deficiency is very common among female athletes, which can affect muscle performance and increase the risk of cramps. It is also important to ensure adequate vitamin D intake as it is essential for optimal calcium absorption.

You want to: improve energy levels

Just because you’re getting eight hours of sleep a night, doesn’t mean you’ll always wake up to your full potential in the morning.
Supplement you need: Caffeine
Why: We know it seems obvious, but there’s a reason for it. “Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system, but it also fuels other energy systems, providing a significant energy boost,” explains Vogt. “Research shows that taking caffeine about an hour before exercise increases your mood and motivation to exercise, improves exercise performance, reduces muscle fatigue and helps you burn more calories during your workouts.”

Don’t forget your multivitamin; its purpose is to bridge nutritional gaps in your diet that can result from lack of food variety or reduced calorie intake, as well as increased vitamin loss from exercise. Being deficient in many of these micronutrients can lead to low energy levels and impair muscle growth, strength and fat loss.
Holly Louise Vogt
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Pharmacist

You want to: increase fat burning

Who doesn’t want to see a greater yield for the work you’re putting in at the gym? Make the most out of your workouts with this easy addition.
Supplement you need: Green tea extract
Why: We love green tea as it’s rich in antioxidants (and fabulous when it’s infused in our skin care) but it’s also great for those looking to get the most out of their workout. “Experts have suggested that the caffeine and EGCG (both found naturally in green tea) may actually have a synergistic effect when it comes to reducing body weight by increasing energy expenditure and fat oxidation, reducing fatty acid production, and decreasing fat absorption.” Plus, green tea is also associated with a reduction in sugar cravings and appetite regulation, which is also a win.

You want to: improve your immune system

If you’re constantly getting sick then it could be linked to how healthy (or unhealthy) your immune system is.
Supplement you need: Probiotics
Why: Did you know that around 80 per cent of your immune system is located in your digestive system? “A healthy gut is a major focal point for maintaining optimal health,” says Vogt. “Probiotics are bacteria that line our digestive tract and not only support our ability to digest and absorb nutrients – but boost our immune system as well. It is important to keep the bacteria in our gut in balance as it promotes a healthy immune system, which responds appropriately to potentially harmful invaders, such as bad bacteria and viruses that can cause illness and disease. Different strains of probiotics have different actions in the body, and certain strains have a more targeted action on our immune system than others.”

 

Up your health knowledge with these ways to make your breakfast work harder, and find out more about juice cleanses

Main image credit: Getty