The Fit Woman's Guide to Supplements

The right amount of nutrition will let your body turn that hard work into lasting results.


Training hard puts a tremendous amount of stress on your body, which is why the expected payoff for all those hours at the gym is a leaner, sleeker physique. But getting there takes more than just sweat. It also requires the right amount of nutrition, so your body can turn that hard work into lasting results. Still, sometimes you need more help, and that’s where supplements come in. Consider this your primer to finding the best ingredients so you can maximize your results.

TIP: The right mix of supplements can help you power through your workouts and recover faster.


A high-quality protein powder should be the first thing you reach for when trying to improve body composition. There are tons of options, but many use inferior forms of protein that are loaded with fillers. Find one with a high protein content per serving and choose from these types.

Whey is the opaque liquid left over from the milk used to make cheese. One of the cheapest forms of whey is concentrate, which is generally about 80% pure whey protein. Isolate whey protein has been further refined and is about 90% pure protein. The other main difference between the two: Concentrate also contains lactose, which can trigger allergies in some people. Isolate is also more expensive, but is absorbed faster. Hydrolysate has been further broken down, so it’s even more absorbable by the body, but it’s very expensive and the benefits are negligible.

If you’ve heard of “curds and whey,” casein is the curds, or the other milk protein left over in cheese making. Your body absorbs casein more slowly, which is why athletes like to take it an hour or two before bedtime, so their muscles have a sustained flow of protein.

Alternative Proteins
For people with milk allergies or who are vegan, check out soy protein, made from soybean flour with protein concentrations of up to 97% and very little fat or carbs. Plant-based proteins such as hemp, pea, and brown rice (also available as blends) can also be an effective way to get the key amino acids that protein provides.

Another important ingredient to look for is branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). Three amino acids—leucine, isoleucine, and valine—have been shown to encourage muscle protein synthesis, increase muscle mass, lessen fatigue, and bolster recovery. Most quality powders contain BCAAs, but you can also get a separate product to add to your shake.

SEE ALSO: The Fit Girl's Guide to Protein