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Most people blindly assume that men should eat huge quantities or man-food like red meat and potatoes before a gym workout, accompanied by a jug of protein shake while women need to munch on a stick of celery or half an apple on a cracker before hitting the cross trainer for three hours.
Men and Women Should Eat Differently: The Myth
While sexism in the real world may have moved on, there are still plenty of uneducated preconceived ideas about how men and women should do thing differently when it comes to nutrition and exercise.
The truth of the matter is that pre and post workout nutrition is far more closely related to goals than it is to gender.
Just as with training, there are very very few differences between how a man training for muscle gain should eat, and how a woman training for muscle gain should eat.
The same goes for fat loss, sports performance, general fitness and any other goal you can think of.
To kick things off, let’s look at nutritional supplements, as they tend to be what people are most interested in.
Creatine is an amino acid, amino acids being one of the building blocks of protein. As protein makes up muscle tissue and helps regulate your metabolism it’s pretty clear that protein and amino acids are an important component of workout nutrition. Creatine boosts your muscles’ energy stores to help you lift more weight and slows the build up of lactic acid, which means you can train for longer when performing endurance exercises.
While creatine is more often than not marketed to men, women can get exactly the same benefits too. You needn’t fear creatine or think that it will bulk you up and make you look manly. Likewise guys – creatine is not the be all and end all. It can be useful but it’s just one small piece of the workout nutrition puzzle.
Take 5g of creatine before, during or after your workout and don’t worry about cycling it or taking loading doses.
If you’ve ever had a mid-afternoon slump during a long day at the office (and let’s face it – who hasn’t!? In fact, if you’ve not had one this week you’re pretty super-human) then you’ll know how great a pick-me-up caffeine can be. It’s the same for workouts too.
A small dose of caffeine just before a training session either in supplement form or from a strong coffee can be the boost you need for a fantastic session. The only difference between men and women when it comes to caffeine is that females will likely need slightly less. As a general guide women should shoot for 100 to 200 milligrams and men 200 to 300.
While more and more protein powders are now being designed purely for women or as “diet” protein shakes, these are a con. There’s virtually no difference between these and basic whey or casein protein powder, except for the massive price difference. Stick with a basic protein powder and you can’t go wrong.
These contain a blend of caffeine and other goodies such as beta alanine, carbohydrates, guarana, taurine and green tea extract, all designed to get you even more pumped up. Again the only consideration is dosage. Women are generally lighter than men so will need a lower does to elicit the same effect.
Usually a mix of protein, carbs and amino acids, post-workout drinks are subject to the same guidelines as pre-workouts.