By Elizabeth Millard
Like just about anything, when it comes to pre- and post-workout supplementation, you can find store shelf upon store shelf of products formulated specifically for one gender. But do men and women really need different workout supplements?
Not according to Shena Jaramillo, R.D., who says it's the goal of the supplement — not the sex of the consumer — that should drive choice.
As opposed to supporting general nutritional needs, workout supplements are designed to amplify athletic performance, which applies equally to women and men. For example, a pre-workout supplement like LADDER Pre-Workout boasts caffeine and beta-alanine, a combination that helps increase energy and delay fatigue regardless of gender.
With post-workout options, such as LADDER Whey Protein, the goals are to help muscles recover faster and replenish fuel stores. Those outcomes benefit both men and women.*
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That's not to say the genders don't have slightly differing nutrient needs. "For example, women have a greater need for iron, and this could be one of the components in a supplement designed for women," Jaramillo says.
"One for men may have slightly higher calorie and protein content, as men can have more body mass and require a greater intake to support their sport," she continues. "However, taking a supplement not specifically designed for your gender can still be beneficial to your workout."
One major consideration to keep in mind when comparing workout supplements is to look closely at the ingredients. Among other concerns, research suggests that some formulations may contain banned substances.
That isn't the case with LADDER supplements, all of which carry the NSF Certified for Sport seal. This independent, third-party certification is trusted by major professional sports organizations including the NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB. It's also the only such program recognized by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
In general though, for both men and women, workout supplements can be beneficial because they help to promote recovery, Jaramillo says, "and can increase workout performance."
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.