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Pre-Workout Supplements for Women

By Renee Thompson

A pre-workout supplement can help you improve your workout. Women and men have different physiques and are affected differently during exercise, so it is important to use the best supplements, those whose effectiveness is backed by research, to help you increase how effective your workouts are. Some foods, like yogurt, may have benefits for your overall health and fitness goals.


Most women have smaller lungs, a smaller airway and less surface area for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide during exercise than men do. These differences may make an exercise that is not challenging for a man more challenging for a woman simply because women have to work harder to breathe. This will lead to fatigue, but research has shown that beta-alanine may help reduce fatigue during exercise. In a study published in 2007 in Amino Acids, researchers gave women beta-alanine or a placebo and measured their performance on a cycling exercise. The beta-alanine group had less muscle fatigue, was able to cycle longer and was less out of breath than the placebo group.

Whey Protein

When women exercise, their body slows down its metabolism to prevent weight loss. This is biology’s way of ensuring women are healthy enough to have children. Unfortunately, this makes it more difficult to lose weight. A whey protein supplement combined with resistance-training exercise can increase how many calories you burn throughout the day. In a study published in 2010 in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, researchers fed subjects either 18 grams of whey protein or 19 grams of carbohydrate 20 minutes before exercise. After exercise, the group that ate whey protein burned more calories throughout the day than the group that ate carbohydrate.

Branched-Chain Amino Acids

During exercise, women use fat stores as a source of energy, while men use carbohydrate. Carbohydrate is the primary source of energy for women during exercise, but protein, especially branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs such as leucine, can help you power through your workout. A study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology in 2005 fed female subjects 45 milligrams of leucine or a placebo and measured performance during upper-body exercises. At the end of the six-week study, the group fed leucine had more endurance and more upper-body strength than the placebo group.

Supplementing With Yogurt

Women, especially postmenopausal women, are at risk for osteoporosis. Certain choices, such as a diet low in calcium and vitamin D, can increase your risk of developing this disease. A container of yogurt has about 20 percent of your daily value of calcium and vitamin D. Researchers published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism in 2011 studied the effect of yogurt supplementation in women prior to exercise. Subjects were fed yogurt or a placebo before and after their workouts. At the end of the study, the yogurt group had an average weight loss of 5.7 pounds, while the placebo group had an average weight loss of 2.6 pounds.

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