As a female athlete putting your body through the rigors of daily training and life it’s extremely important to be mindful of nutrition and self care so that you can push hard and recover well.
These are the four supplements we recommend our athletes take on a daily basis or as needed based on training.
We generally recommend our female athletes consume one gram of protein per pound of body weight. For example, a 150lb woman would be consuming 150g of protein per day. This can end up becoming a lot of food, especially if you’re also consuming quite a few carbohydrates and focusing on eating mostly whole foods.
Using a protein supplement for 15-20% of your daily protein intake allows you to not always be chained to a plate gnawing on chicken breast. Our default is to recommend whey protein, as there are a plethora of studies showing efficacy.
However, if you’re an athlete who doesn’t digest this protein very well there are a bunch of really clean and delicious plant based proteins out there. Look for one with minimal additional ingredients and aim for 18-20g of protein per serving.
Pea protein tends to be the easiest to dissolve, soy tends to be the tastiest, with hemp protein being one of the most bioavailable plant proteins (bioavailable means how easy your body can access the nutrients).
Creatine is one of THE most studied supplements in sports. With over 500 studies performed, it’s been shown to be safe AND effective.
What’s creatine for? In short it helps your body store more of the energy your muscles need to recover quickly from high intensity efforts, in turn improving performance. Recent studies are also showing it may help with brain health!
The recommended dose for all athletes (male AND female) is 3-5g per day. You want to take creatine every day, whether you’re training or not.
We recommend using an electrolyte supplement in any training session over 60 minutes to ensure you’re replacing the electrolytes you lose through sweating, especially during the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle and if you’re an athlete over 50.
During luteal phase one of the hormones your body uses to maintain sodium levels competes with progesterone, in turn affecting hydration.
In addition as we age we have decreased thirst signals which can easily lead to dehydration. Electrolytes are important to manage blood pressure and to help your muscles work (and remember your heart is a muscle!).
As a female athlete you may find that collagen not only helps you grow thicker, stronger hair and nails, it may help with period pains and faster recovery between training sessions.
When menstruation happens your body sheds the lining of your uterus- the superficial stratum functionalis. Part of the stratum functionalis is made up of the extracellular matrix (ECM)- which acts as structural and biochemical support to surrounding cells.
The ECM is found all throughout your body, including your muscles.
Studies have demonstrated that collagen supplementation positively supports the ECM- with some studies showing an increase in healing time and decrease in inflammation (helps with your girl parts AND your fitness!).
And because there’s a potential for your diet to be lacking in collagen (not varying protein sources, eating only the flesh of an animal, a diet low in fruits and vegetables) combined with the decrease in collagen synthesis as we age, supplementing with collagen ensures that your body is receiving what it needs to run optimally.
This is a FANTASTIC article on collagen, including navigating which supplement to choose and why.
Have questions about these supplements or others you are taking? Let us know! Ready to be part of a new program designed JUST for women in the sport of functional fitness? Sign up HERE.