When I first started getting into fitness, I followed a lot of other trainers on social media. I would always see them posting about supplements and what type they used. And I always wanted to know if there were some supplements that could make me leaner! I did try some supplements in the past and I will talk about this in this blog post.
I know lots of other women wonder about supplements and if they should be taking them. And I know a lot of you have probably experimented with supplements before.
Everyone’s view on supplements is different. But I just wanted to give you my own personal view on taking supplements, and give you some insight into the common supplements that women take.
I will also mention that I am a sports nutritionist and my studies focused a lot on supplements to enhance performance, so I do know a bit about this topic :)
This is one of the most common supplements out there today. You can literally get any type of protein, and any flavour! Personally, I use protein powder almost every day (I have it in my smoothies) as it makes it easier for me to reach my ideal protein intake for the day.
A lot of women don’t eat enough protein and don’t even realise it. So I think using a protein powder is a great idea for women. Of course, it’s not necessary. If you eat enough protein in your diet, you don’t need to use a protein powder; it just makes it easier. And I think it makes my smoothie taste waaaay better.
I do get a lot of questions about what type of protein powder I use. To be honest, I just use whatever protein powder I can find. When I’m travelling, it’s sometimes hard to find, and I don’t have many to choose from. I look for one that is low in carbs and fats, and high in protein. I do have a more extensive blog post on how to choose a protein powder (and if you really need to use one), so have a look at that if you need some help.
When I’m in Australia, I like using the brand Cyborg, and I usually get vanilla or chocolate as they taste good with anything. Overseas, it’s whatever I can get!
Fat Burners – Caffeine & Green Tea
There are LOTS of fat burning supplements out there, and pretty much every supplement brand will have a few different ones. A lot of these supplements will guarantee that they will help you reduce your appetite and also help you lose fat.
Most supplements will contain several ingredients, and often include green tea extract and caffeine. Caffeine is the only supplement that has scientifically been proven to result in weight loss. Caffeine boosts your basal metabolic rate by increasing your heart rate, which means you burn more calories. Green tea has been thought to have the same effect.
So I guess you could say that yes, some of these fat burners will work and will help you lose weight quicker. Do I think they’re healthy? Not really. Caffeine is addictive and whenever you stop having it, your body will go through withdrawals. Yes caffeine can help you lose weight, but it can also cause other issues (and make certain health issues such as adrenal fatigue worse), and you can become reliant on it. If you were to take a caffeine supplement, I would suggest taking for a short period of time and then having a break.
I know some of you are probably thinking, what if I just drink coffee or green tea? Yes this will have some benefit too, but they will work more effectively when taken as a supplement rather than being used in a drink.
I personally don’t drink coffee or tea, mostly because I don’t like them, but I know tea does have some great benefits! I have tried 2 fat burners before. I can’t remember what the first one I took was called, but it was a powder that you were supposed to take before exercise. I remember taking it and feeling really sick. So I stopped taking it. The second one I tried was called Dexaprine and it was supposed to be an appetite suppressant and fat burner. It came in pill form. It did kind of work – I wasn’t as hungry. But I could only take 1/4 of a pill otherwise my heart rate would be going CRAZY, I would get diarrhoea and I couldn’t sleep. Needless to say, I didn’t take this for very long.
This is another popular one that women take. If you take L-Carnitine before you exercise, it is supposed to mobilise fat stores so that you can burn them when you workout. I don’t think there’s any solid scientific evidence to prove this, but the theory sounds good.
I have tried taking an L-Carnitine powder before my workout. It didn’t make me feel sick like the fat burners, but I didn’t notice any difference in terms of fat loss. This was a few years ago now. I took it for a little while but because there were no results, I stopped. And I haven’t taken it since.
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
BCAA’s are L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine, which are all amino acids that are naturally found in your body. They help to build muscle, so taking them during or after a workout will help you build more muscle and recover quicker.
I’ve never taken BCAAs, but I don’t see any problem with taking them. I’m just not that hardcore!
One thing I’ve noticed is that now it seems to be mostly women who are into bodybuilding and really heavy lifting that post about supplements (but not always!). If you just want to get fit and healthy, you shouldn’t really need to take supplements.
Supplements to enhance performance and get really really lean are mostly for athletes and men and women competing in body building and figure competitions. That is just my view. But if you want to take supplements, it’s entirely up to you! I would just make sure you do your research first.
I’ve only discussed performance enhancing supplements and those to help you “look” better. But this isn’t the same as nutritional supplements. I don’t want you to get confused and think that I’m suggesting you don’t take ANY supplements.
If you have a nutrient deficiency (i.e. iron, calcium, Vitamin B, D, etc) and you need to take supplements for this and it’s recommended by a doctor or medical professional, then you should take these supplements.
Would love to hear your thoughts about supplements and whether or not you take them! xx