The Top 3 Sports Supplements for Women

    You train hard and eat healthily. But if you’re a woman who wants to optimize her workouts and nutrition, adding the right sports supplements can give you an extra edge.

    With the vast array of sports supplements available, it can be confusing to know where to start. Here are 3 supplements that women should put at the top of their list for consideratio

    Protein

    Protein is probably the most common workout supplement and for good reason.  Having an adequate amount of protein intake is important to build, repair and maintain muscle. So even if you are not looking to build a muscular physique, protein is vital for your body’s recovery if you’re a female with an active lifestyle.

    There are many types of protein, but whey is the most popular because it is rapidly absorbed and contains a wide range of branched-chain amino acids. However, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Lowell recently showed that plant protein can be just a beneficial as animal protein for building muscle mass and strength.

    BCAA

    Amino acids are basically the building blocks of protein, and some are called essential because the body cannot make them. Therefore, you must obtain them from food, supplementation or a combination of both. Branched chain amino acids (BCAA) are essential amino acids which include leucine, isoleucine and valine.

    BCAA is a popular nutritional supplement for both endurance and strength sports because research has demonstrated that they can reduce exercise-related muscle soreness, prevent mental and physical fatigue during exercise, and build more muscle following resistance training.

    A review of the studies available to date suggests that a reasonable dose of BCAA is 100 mg per kilogram of body weight per day to prevent fatigue, reduce muscle soreness, and help build or maintain muscle.

    When Should You Take Protein and BCAA?

    Most evidence-based fitness professionals agree that you should consume protein following exercise. After training, muscles are more responsive to the muscle-building stimulus that protein provides. The rate of muscle protein breakdown begins to quickly rise after a workout, and protein intake during this time helps to negate this.

    You can also take protein first thing in the morning to feed your body after several hours of no caloric intake during sleep. Another option is to use a protein supplement to replace a protein in a meal.

    BCAA can boost your energy during a workout. So, if you sip on BCAA during training, not only will it hydrate your body, it can also help you train longer and with more intensity.

    Creatine

    The muscles of your body contain creatine which provides your cells with quick energy. It is used as a supplement to increase your potential energy, helping your muscles work harder and longer. Creatine also has an antioxidant effect which can reduce muscle damage, improve recovery and preserve lean muscle.

    When first starting to take creatine, it used to be popular to do an initial “loading phase” where you consume 20 to 25 grams daily and later decrease the amount. However, there is no strong evidence that taking more than 5 grams of creatine daily is necessary to “load” your muscle stores.

    When Should You Take Creatine?

    Take 3 to 6 grams of the creatine monohydrate with a meal (or in a shake) each day. It’s actually best to consume creatine before resistance training and in combination with a simple sugar like glucose or dextrose, or with a meal containing protein and carbohydrates. This stimulates the release of insulin which drives creatine and other nutrients into your muscle cells giving them an energy boost for your workout.

     

    Published in Nutrition

    Simple and Delicious Protein Powder Recipes

    Protein powder is not just a supplement for shakes or other bodybuilding drinks. This versatile ingredient has a texture that makes it work well for a variety of other recipes. Since it is made from protein instead of grain, protein powder is ideal for crafting keto, low-carb or low-calorie treats. Here are a few great recipes that add protein to a diet while also creating tasty meals and snacks.

    Protein Powder Pancakes
    Enjoy a tasty and protein-packed breakfast by using protein instead of flour to make pancakes. This recipe can be made with any type of protein powder, including those with a chocolate or vanilla flavor. It is low in carbohydrates and contains no processed sugars, so it can accommodate most diets. One can easily toss in mix-ins like chocolate, fresh blueberries or nuts if desired.

    Ingredients:

    1 cup oats
    2 scoops protein powder
    2 Tbs. ground flax seeds
    2 eggs
    3 egg whites
    4 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    1 banana
    1 pinch salt
    1/2 cup optional mix-ins
    Instructions:

    Place all ingredients besides the mix-ins in a blender or food processor and mix until a smooth batter forms.
    Heat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Keep in mind that the pancakes may fall apart if the heat is too low.
    Pour 1/4 cup of batter at a time into the pan.
    If desired, gently sprinkle some mix-ins on the pancake in the pan.
    Wait two to three minutes until the edges look slightly dry, and then flip the pancake.
    Cook a minute or two more and serve warm.


    Chocolate Protein Pudding
    This is a quick and easy snack that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. It is ideal for those who are on a low-carb diet but miss rich desserts like pudding. This recipe makes a single snack-sized serving, but it can easily be doubled.

    Ingredients:

    1 scoop chocolate egg white protein powder
    1 tsp. cocoa powder
    3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
    1 - 3 tsp. milk
    Instructions:

    Mix together protein and cocoa powder.
    Gently stir powder mixture into Greek yogurt.
    Depending on the consistency of the yogurt, add a splash of water to make the mixture slightly thinner.


    Vegan Coconut Popsicles
    These Popsicles are the perfect treat for a hot summer day. They are very low in calories, so they are a great dessert for those trying to maintain a healthy weight. Another great benefit is that they are both vegan and vegetarian. Depending on flavor preferences, any type of frozen or fresh berry can be used. A Popsicle mold will make the whole process easier, but these Popsicles can be made without a mold if desired.

    Ingredients:

    1 1/2 cups strawberries, raspberries, blueberries or blackberries
    2 scoops vanilla protein
    1 cup soy milk
    1/2 cup coconut milk
    1 banana
    Instructions:

    Finely dice 1/2 cup of berries and set aside.
    Blend remaining berries, protein powder, milk and bananas until smooth.
    Set out the Popsicle molds and put a few of the sliced berries in each mold. If no molds are on hand, small cups or an ice cube tray can be used.
    Pour the Popsicle mixture on top of the berries.
    Insert Popsicle sticks into each serving.
    Freeze at least four hours or until firm.


    Chocolate Protein Cookies
    This recipe uses coconut flour and Brazil nuts instead of wheat, so it is gluten-free as long as a gluten-free powder is used.

    Ingredients:

    1/2 cup chocolate pea protein powder
    1/4 cup coconut flour
    1/2 tsp. baking soda
    1/4 cup dried coconut flakes
    1/4 cup ground Brazil nuts
    1/4 cup milk
    1 egg
    1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
    Instructions:

    Preheat the oven to 340 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Mix together protein powder, flour, baking soda, coconut flakes and ground nuts in a large bowl.
    Mix together milk and egg in a small bowl.
    Slowly add milk mixture to protein powder mixture, stirring to combine the entire time.
    Gently fold in chocolate chips.
    Divide cookie batter into 12 equal balls and put them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
    Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until cookies are firm but slightly soft in the center.
    Cool completely and serve.
    Cinnamon Protein Powder Oats
    Adding protein powder to a morning bowl of oatmeal might seem like a great idea, but many people realize that it can be quite tricky. Using whey protein with super-high heat can lead to curdling that causes an unpleasant texture to form. Follow these steps to make a filling bowl of oatmeal that also contains plenty of protein.

    Ingredients:

    1/2 cup rolled oats
    2 cinnamon sticks
    1 chopped apple
    1 cup almond milk
    1/2 cup vanilla whey protein powder
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    Instructions:

    Combine rolled oats, cinnamon sticks, apple and milk in a small pot.
    Place pot over medium-high heat until it boils.
    Turn heat down until the oatmeal simmers.
    Let the oatmeal cook, anywhere from five to 15 minutes, until it reaches desired level of softness.
    Remove from heat and gently stir in whey.
    Serve topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
    Nutty Protein Powder Bites
    Those who are bored of eating plain protein powder or dry granola bars will enjoy this snack. These protein balls taste delicious, and they contain plenty of healthy fats. They can be stored at room temperature for quite a while, so they are a great protein boost on a hike. If desired, these protein bites can be customized with any tasty mix-in.

    Ingredients:

    1/2 cup whey protein powder
    1 cup nut butter
    1/4 cup agave nectar
    1 - 2 Tbs. coconut oil
    1/4 cup coconut flakes, crushed nuts, dried fruits or other mix-ins
    Instructions:

    Place all ingredients, except coconut oil, in a bowl and stir to combine.
    Start with 1 Tbs. of coconut oil and slowly add more if the mixture seems dry.
    Divide mixture into 1/8-cup size portions and roll into firm balls.
    Store in an airtight container until ready to eat.

    Published in Health

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