I go to the gym five to six times per week. I cook 90% of my meals at home. These are just two elements to being a female weightlifter. What else do I do to optimize my strength and physique? I supplement.
I traveled to Atlanta for Fourth of July week to spend time with David and some of his friends and family. The trip was balanced with new adventures and reoccurring routines.
One of the routines was meal prep and eating together. I’m blessed I have a man who enjoys cooking as much as I do! We eat clean, nutritious foods. But we didn’t just eat. We also supplement our diet to get necessary vitamins and optimize training and recovery.
I’m often asked what supplements and vitamins I take. In actuality, I’m still learning how my body best responds to foods and supplements and what it really needs. I like to get most of my vitamins from whole food sources. But if my diet is staying the same and I’m not eating certain foods, that’s where supplements can be important. I grew up in a household where taking a daily multivitamin was common practice. Therefore, I’m used to it. You might not be and that is OK! Just like any habit, it takes time to adjust. I’ve also learned how to pack said vitamins when traveling. You can use larger compartmental containers or find smaller, simpler ones (I’ve heard Amazon has good options) or use regular plastic baggies. Do what works for you.
Here’s what works for me. This is just an example of my daily vitamins and I recommend consulting a dietitian or medical provider to know what you might need.
Women’s Vitamins for a weightlifter or bodybuilder
Before food and with water:
With first meal:
- 1 Multivitamin
- 2 Collagen capsules
- 2 Fish Oils (2000 mg serving)
- 1 CLA (1200mg)
- 1-2 odorless Garlic capsules
- 1-2 ALA (300mg serving)
- 2 Probiotic capsules
- Swig of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
- Greens Powder with half a fresh-squeezed lemon
Evening (or 1/2 hour before bed):
- 1 CLA (1200mg)
- 1 ALA if only one taken earlier
- Magnesium (400mg)
- Calcium (500mg-1000mg)
Now that you know what I take, here are some simple reasons why I use each vitamin/supplement. Everything I do is intentional. It’s the way I live and it could be helpful for you as well.
Lysine | Immune system support. In the summertime, I am prone to waking up with a stuffy nose, even though I don’t have any known allergies. I take a Lysine+ supplement that also has Vitamin C, Calcium, Garlic, Echinacea, Proplis and Licorice Root. All these natural vitamins and herbs help with strengthening your immune system.
Multivitamin | The one-stop shop for simple vitamin needs. Forewarning, not all multivitamins are created equal and I will only purchase a multi from a supplement company. I’m not saying your multi purchased from a department store won’t add any benefit but it may end up not having the efficacy needed to truly help your body. My multi is from Vitamin Shoppe and has over 30 different vitamins in one capsule!
***Pro tip: Read the serving sizes of each vitamin for your multi. That is where additional supplementation is necessary if you do not get it from whole food sources.
Collagen | Skin, joints and muscle recovery. I started taking this Biocell Collagen II with Hyaluronic Acid my senior year of college. I used to have terrible hip pains and did not know the cause. I’d stretch, do cardio, weight train and stretch again. Once I added collagen, I noticed a tremendous improvement to my mobility. There are even more benefits being revealed for supplementing collagen.
CLA | Body fat loss. CLA or conjugated linoleic acid is not necessary weight loss but will add in body fat loss when paired with regular exercise and healthy eating habits. I’ve just added this one in for the past month and am seeing great results!
Garlic | Immune system & disease prevention. In raw or supplemented form, garlic has a lot to offer for your health! It can improve cholesterol, blood pressure and aid in training performance. If you can’t handle the smell, opt for odorless capsules.
ALA | Antioxidant and balances carbohydrate metabolism. ALA or alpha lipoic acid can benefit anyone wanting more muscle growth, improved metabolism or people with diabetes. It is a more complex supplement but worth trying.
Probiotics | Gut health. This article by Dr. Axe is very thorough discussing why we need probiotics to function and optimize our health. I reference him a lot because of his clear, concise content. I’ve switched to RAW probiotics for live cultures and feel my body responds much better than to regular capsules.
Magnesium | Regular bowel movements, muscle recovery and relaxation. An interesting combo but magnesium offers a lot, especially when training intensity is high and caloric intake might be at a deficit.
Calcium | Bone health, cancer prevention and weight management. I don’t often supplement calcium but if I have a caloric deficit and limited intake of specific foods that naturally have calcium.
Apple Cider Vinegar | Lowers cholesterol, blood sugar levels and blood pressure, improves metabolism and gut health. One of the oldest medicinal remedies and extremely cost effective, you’d be selling yourself short if you didn’t take a shot of ACV daily.
Greens Powder and Lemon Water | Alkalizing the body. Both greens powder and lemon water help balance pH levels in the body. Lemon water also aids in nutrient absorption. I got creative when I added the two together and they taste amazing!
It might seem like a lot but I feel the difference in my body from these supplements. They are supplemental to a healthy diet and training regimen. I hope you find this helpful and will continue dedicating time and resources to life-long health!