Tag Archives: female athlete

Creatine for Female Athletes

15 Aug

pGNC1-4505613dt[1]Although there are dietary supplements that have been shown to improve performance – in addition to training alone – including creatine and whey protein, they are often underused by female athletes.

In a Strength and Conditioning Journal article, Joan M. Eckerson, PhD, FNSCA provides information and rationale for creatine as an ergogenic aid for female athletes.

Effects of creatine supplementation for female athletes include:

  • Enhances muscular strength and power with minimal effects on body composition
  • Favorable effect on anaerobic performance and fatigue
  • Enhances recovery from aerobic exercise

Creatine is not an anabolic steroid – it is naturally produced by the body.  It enhances performance by reducing fatigue and enhancing recovery, providing for a greater stimulus of training.

Creatine increases both strength and power without large fluctuations in body weight or muscle mass.

Creatine may be especially beneficial for women involved in “power” sports – those that require short bursts of high-intensity activity (for example, basketball, volleyball, sprinters and throwers, soccer, field hockey, and tennis).

Creatine does not impair aerobic performance and may enhance recovery.

Creatine is safe and effective when taken as recommended.  Individuals with pre-existing kidney or liver problems should consult with their physician before taking creatine.

Creatine has not been reported to intensify premenstrual symptoms.


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Building Muscle and Strength for the Female Athlete

7 Dec

DSCN0057Strength training can benefit everyone, male or female. And, while there are certainly some gender differences, women have the potential to build muscle and gain strength through a well-designed strength training program. Here are some tips for how to build muscle for women.

Be realistic. Think about (and write down) what you want to accomplish. Understand that progress won’t occur overnight. Set short- and long-term goals, then develop a plan that is aligned with your goals.

Be consistent. Avoid peaks and valleys that can occur as a result of over- or under-training. Commit yourself to a set schedule that fits with your lifestyle, and stick to it.

Push yourself. If you want to build muscle, you have to challenge yourself. That means using weight/resistance that challenges you through a certain number of reps and sets. Heavy weights force your body to recruit more muscle fibers, which leads to muscle growth. It’s not supposed to be easy.

Perform compound exercises — those which engage multiple joints and muscle groups — like the deadlift, squat, and bench press. These exercises are terrific for improving conditioning, building muscle, and increasing strength.

Workout at least three times a week. If you’re a novice, start with at least two times a week. Allow for a day of rest between training days.

Eat well. That means quality and quantity. Ensure that you’re getting adequate calories. Aim for 5-6 evenly-spaced, small meals throughout the day. Your diet should include lean protein, clean carbs, and healthy fats.

Fuel your workout. You need a combination of carbs and protein both before (30-90 minutes) and after (within 30 minutes) a workout. Carbs provide energy and replenish depleted glycogen stores. Protein is essential to rebuild and repair muscle.

Try a creatine supplement. Creatine monohydrate may have the ability to enhance your training — helping you workout harder and for a longer period of time. This could lead to increased muscle growth.

Track your progress. Keep a chart of every workout, including exercises, weights, reps, and sets. A nutrition journal is not a bad idea either.

Get help. Consider enlisting the services of a strength and conditioning professional, at least to get started. He or she can help you to be more effective and efficient.


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