It never stops surprising me how many people go about their health and fitness routines without taking advantage of perfectly safe products that can get them to their goals faster. Even more frustrating is when I see them taking the cheapest protein powders, thinking that’s all they need.
But, whether your goals are weight loss or to build muscle to appear stronger and leaner, there is so much more available that can make a big difference.
I’m not talking about spending hundreds of dollars on a stack of 10 different supplements to get lean. But even with just 2 or 3 women's fitness supplements, you can start making the absolute most out of your workouts.
And to help illustrate what is possible, I’ve picked my favorite products from 7 different categories.
Our Top Workout Supplements For Women (2020 Updated)
Best Protein Powder
Best Fat Burner
Best Fish Oil
Best Protein Powder: Transparent Labs
While this whey protein powder isn’t specifically marketed for female athletes, the contents and dosage are perfectly suitable for women. And what I like about this product is that it really is just protein and nothing else fancy mixed in.
One of the core statements Transparent Labs makes is that if you want to “build muscle or lose weight, protein is an essential component and tool for success.”
While it’s basic biology that dictates that you need amino acids for muscle growth, I was able to find several studies that support the idea that protein also helps with weight management.
Check this Youtube video by Fitness Deal News to learn more about Transparent Labs Whey Protein.
I personally like the flavors and agree with many online reviews that it’s really easy to mix, but I would like to see an unflavored option to mix in with some food or smoothies.
Best Pre-workout: Powher
If you exercise a lot, then the best way to get that little bit more out of workouts is to use pre-workouts to get an energy boost. Whether you’re doing some long cardio sessions or strength training, PowHer claims to have the formula to help you work harder and for longer.
This pre-workout shake is specifically formulated for women, and I specifically like that the caffeine dose is moderate at about the equivalent of a cup of coffee.
From my own experience, it combines a good energy boost along with mental focus and motivation, no matter what sports or exercises I’m doing.
Of all the women's muscle building supplements, I find this one actually tastes the best, but it is only available in one flavor, which can become a bit boring.
Best BCAA: - Performance Lab
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a set of essential amino acids, which means that the only way you can get them into your system is by eating certain foods. But, trying to get the right food into you just before and after your workouts isn’t ideal.
Performance Lab has created an all-natural product with no dodgy additives, and they claim to have a formula that supports increased blood flow for better pumps.
This is confirmed by a few studies, and if you’re looking for supplements for women's muscle growth, then this is a pretty solid option.
The only thing I would say is that you should check other products for electrolytes like sodium to make sure you don’t end up with too much in your diet.
Best Fat Burner: LeanBean
This is my absolute favorite of all supplements for toning female bodies. Every part of of the formula has taken the needs of women into account, so you don’t end up with too potent ingredients or amounts.
While I generally don’t have difficulty with keeping cravings at bay, I did see a lot of online reports that it works well to keep the hunger demons away, especially when fasting.
Instead of heavily relying on caffeine, the makers, Ultimate Life, have included a good dose of turmeric; they say that it “is a thermogenic spice,” and I was able to find a study that supports this concept.
One bottle of Leanbean contains 180 capsule, which is good for one month. It has 3000mg of Glucomannan and it’s approved for weight loss in the European Union. It’s also recommended to take 6 capsules per day: 2 during breakfast, lunch, and dinner, respectively.
My personal experience has been that using it during a cutting phase worked well to reduce my BMI and build up some more muscle tissue.
For some people, the low caffeine dose will be positive, but I would love to see another version of this product with a higher dose.
Best Creatine: Transparent Labs
A lot of high-end and professional protein powders these days will combine whey and creatine because the two can complement their effects. The reason it’s so popular is that it plays quite a critical role in making energy available to muscle fibers.
The good news with creatine is that you only need small amounts. With muscle building supplements for women generally just smaller doses than the normal ones, this will work just fine for both men and women.
Personally, I like the extra performance, but even more than that, my recovery times are faster and less sore. I just wish there were a few more flavors available
About 95% of your body's creatine is stored in muscles in the form of phosphocreatine. The other 5% is found in your brain, kidneys, and liver. When you supplement, you increase your stores of phosphocreatine. This is a form of stored energy in the cells, as it helps your body produce more of a high-energy molecule called ATP.
Best Multivitamin: Performance Lab
What so many of my clients are always surprised about is how important nutrition such as vitamins and minerals are for your muscles to perform at their best. Everything from protein synthesis in muscle cells, to the delivery of fatty acids as fuel, won’t work well without some essential vitamins.
Opti Nutra has formulated this product specifically for women, and there are very few nutrients that are included for at least the full daily guide amount.
Not only will it provide benefits for your strength and fitness, but you will look and feel so much more healthy.
While it’s great that you can spread out the dose over the day with each meal, you might want to set a reminder to take it until your in the habit of reaching for it.
Best Fish Oil: OmegaXL
Omega-3 is an essential part of creating a healthy heart, brain, and immune system.
But it also has benefits for joints and connective tissue which come under a lot of strain when you have an intense fitness regime.
Unlike so many other fish oil capsules, these ones are very soft and small.
That makes them so much easier to swallow without getting stuck in your throat.
The company behind OmegaXL is Great HealthWorks Inc, and what I like about it is that the fish oil is sourced in a sustainable way. However, that does drive up the price a bit, but you get what you pay for.
How Do You Assess What Supplements You Will Need?
As I said at the start, most people think they just need some protein to give them fitness and muscle recovery benefits. But you should always take a close look at what your actual goals are in order to pick out the products you actually need.
This might sound like it will make things more expensive, but in reality, most of you won’t need all of them every day.
1. Fat Loss Vs. Muscle Gain
If you want to maximize fat loss, then pick a fat burner along with a post workout protein. This combination works best to target that stubborn fat storage, while at the same time helping your muscle cells recover faster for the next session (1).
If you want to build muscle mass, then it’ll take a bit of a different approach. Some of the best supplements for female muscle building would be creatine and BCAAs, which your body will need to create new fibers.
2. Performance And Endurance
If you really want to get the most out of every trip to the gym, then you need to improve how hard you can push yourself and for how long.
This is where pre-workouts shine the most, and with the right product, you’ll not only notice that you can lift more or do more reps, but you’ll feel more motivated as well (2).
3. Overall Health Improvement
Your body is heavily reliant on a steady stream of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. While a balanced diet with carefully planned recipes can get you close to all your needs, it’s never a bad idea to take some multivitamins.
Not only will they help with your immune system, but your muscle or weight goals will depend on them as well.
Is Stacking Supplements A Good Idea?
Yes, stacking products is a good idea, specifically if you have got some very ambitious goals to target. It will all come down to maximizing your performance and helping your body develop and change in the way you want it to.
However, that doesn’t mean you should be taking all the above stuff all the time.
If you combine the best supplements for female bodybuilding with fat burners, then you can quickly end up with very large doses of similar ingredients.
And that can ultimately go against you or even make you feel sick.Essentially, you should set your training plan for several weeks at a time to target either weight loss, muscle gain or endurance, and then pick the supplements to support each effort.
When You Should Take These Workout Supplements?
When you’re taking supplements for toning and weight loss, it all comes down to getting the timing right. Here are some tips that I give my clients as a starting point:
You will need to observe how your body reacts and then adjust the timing by a few minutes at a time. It’s not an exact science, but you’ll know when it feels right.
What vitamins should a woman take while working out?
What are the best supplements to take when working out?
Will creatine make you fat?
How can you turn fat into muscle?
Our Recommended Products
If you’ve followed along with us all the way to the end here, then hopefully you’ll have all the information you need to start building up a small stack of your own.
If you were to start with just one product I would recommend protein powder and the Transparent Labs Whey Protein is the best on the market no matter your gender. Their creatine is another worthy mention which stacks perfectly with the protein powder to compound the effect.
Performance Labs BCAA, if used in combination with protein powder, or even on its own, can make a dramatic impact on your gains.
If you need a bit of a boost and a helping hand down the gym then Powher pre-workout is perfect for that and it’s designed with female physiology in mind.
If you’re looking to lose weight or cut then LeanBean is going to be a girl's best friend. And if you’re looking to improve overall health then check out Performance Labs multivitamin.
High-performance athletes will always depend on more than one product, and the advantages can work for you as well. Just make sure you’re always checking the labels of the products you’re going to take.
If they have too many overlapping ingredients, then you can quickly end up overstimulated or feeling a bit sick. Usually most companies offer “stacks” of products that work well together at a discount, it’s worth asking.