Women's approach to supplements and nutrients for active people is with great caution and concerns. Supplements are associated with muscled men who spend long and hard time at the gym. As a result, ladies who want to enjoy fit, graceful, women's physique fear excessive growth of muscle mass. Are they right?
There are many factors contributing to increases in muscle mass, such as: proper training, diet, sleep and specificity of the endocrine system. A great role also plays your sex. Women have very little testosterone: hormone that affects muscle mass gain. Women will not be able to build their musculature at the pace and extent men do.
Are supplements a magical measure that will make your muscles suddenly start to grow? Of course not. Despite this, you can very often hear such statement among women: "Protein supplement is a mass gainer? I do not want to gain mass, I want to lose weight!". Another common opinion spread by women having no clue about supplementation is: "If you want to build muscle mass, you have to eat protein supplements." These misleading statements are only due to ignorance. Let's look at two "male" supplements and see why they should be used by active women.
Why is it worth taking supplements?
Nowadays, even a varied diet may not provide all necessary nutrients. This is because soil often has a shortage of minerals caused by tillage focused on rapid growth. It is often acidic, owing to which plants cannot collect some minerals. In addition, the food we eat is heavily processed and often devoid of minerals.
Moreover, it is worth remembering that when we are physically active and we train regularly, our bodies needs' are much greater. Along with sweat we lose a lot of minerals, and muscles need more building materials. Therefore, it is hard to meet the needs of your organism through food and water. It may be appropriate in this situation to use vitamin supplements.
The most popular supplements used in sports include whey protein. They are available as concentrates, isolates and hydrolysates. They constitute a valuable source of protein, which is both easy to digest and delicious.
Proteins should be considered a part of your diet. They supplement your menu with amino acids and proteins, and facilitate regeneration of muscle tissue.
When should you use whey protein supplement?
Protein is a good solution when it is hard for you to provide appropriate amount of this nutrient from conventional food such as meat, fish, eggs, legumes. It is very helpful after your workout because it is easily digestable.
Protein is also an ideal alternative for those who don't want to give up on a sweet taste. It diversifies your menu and gives it a touch of sweetness.
Why shouldn't women take advantage of it? It is usually ladies who have problems eating large quantities of meat, as well as feel the need to introduce sweet, easily digestible meals in their menus.
Controversial supplement that is associated with "male" ones is creatine. Creatine is a natural substance produced in your body. It is formed from three amino acids: glycine, arginine and methionine, and is an energy carrier. By delaying fatigue process it allows you to train a little longer and harder. It increases cells' hydration, promotes growth of muscle mass and strength. At this point, most people reject it as a supplement recommendable for women. Why? For fear of increases in muscle mass. The truth is that creatine itself will not contribute to the magical growth of muscle mass. It can have a significant effect on increase in strength (up to about 15%), and this is very good news also for ladies. Why? More strength means better training. Better training is better results of your work. And this is what should be important for every woman.
"Greater muscle mass" wording is usually a deterrent for women. However, if you extrapolate this to the women's language and say that it contributes to greater firmness of body and shaping, it may sound much more inviting, right?
Creatine may affect water retention in the body, thus increasing your weight. It is one of the reasons why women avoid creatine. Are they right? Weight gain usually occurs at the beginning of supplementation, disappears in time and everything returns to normal condition. In many cases there appears to be no water retention at all. A safer option would be to supplement creatine in the form of malate and not monohydrate.
Keep in mind that the transport of creatine is insulin-dependent. For this reason it is best to take it in the company of carbohydrates.
Creatine can be supplied in the diet. However, to obtain 4 g of creatine, you would have to eat about 1 kg of beef. That's quite a lot, eatin such a meat portion would be rather difficult. Creatine supplementation may be particularly helpful for physically active women who have an aversion to meat, do not eat it at all or very little. Creatine works very well at very intense strength sports or sprint.
Remember that no supplements are a substitute for a well-balanced diet. They are merely complements to it. You should always pay most attention to a proper diet and decide on supplements as a next resort.
To sum up: women should not fear that the strength training, not to mention consumption of supplements, would make them huge. Many supplements have been wrongly considered "masculine". Both whey protein and creatine can be successfully used by women. Remember, though, that supplements are only an addition to a balanced diet.