A Beginner’s Guide To Workout Supplements

Get all the answers to your burning questions about what you should be taking before and after your workout.

Let’s be honest, fitness supplements can be pretty overwhelming. When you walk into a sports nutrition store, you’re greeted by shelves packed with tubs larger than the size of your head with names like ‘ripped’, ‘jacked’ or ‘shred’ that all claim to burn fat, build muscle and help you recover faster – not what you’d call female friendly. There’s also a misconception that taking supplements like protein will make you look bulky and masculine – but in most cases it will actually do the opposite.

I enlisted the help of IsoWhey Sports naturopath, Corinne Bett to break down some of the most common workout supplements for women.

Protein Powder

What? There’s a lot of information about protein out there that’s often geared towards men and a misconception that consuming protein powder makes you bulk.

These are the most popular sources of protein ideal for women:

  • Whey protein: The most popular form of protein powders. For a majority it’s the best all-round choice in terms of taste, quality and cost. It’s derived from dairy milk.
  • Egg white protein: Was originally considered the most popular type of protein supplements until the dairy milk protein options exceeded popularity due to taste and price.
  • Brown rice protein: Provides a convenient source of protein for vegetarians and is allergen friendly.
  • Pea protein: A vegetable based protein source which is great for anyone with specific food allergies.

When? Pre and post workout

Who? Anyone who exercises. Protein shakes are an easy and convenient way of providing your body with the building blocks to stimulate muscle recovery from exercise. In the long term, maintained muscle mass sports weight management and a higher metabolic which increases lean body mass.

Try Bare Blends Organic Whey Protein Isolate

Creatine & HMB

What? Creatine monohydrate is one of the most popular supplements used by people looking to build lean muscle mass while maximising performance and increasing strength. HMB (beta-hydroxy, methyl butyric acid) assists in enhancing creatine’s ability to improve the body’s strength and power following exercise.

When? Pre-workout

Who? If you’re looking to kick-start the building of lean mass, increase your work capacity and improve training. Studios shows that creatine supplementation enhances the overall quality of training by building up your energy reserve and helps prevent muscle breakdown. You do however need to seek medical advice of a healthcare professional if you plan on taking this supplement a long term basis.

Try BodyScience Mocronised Creatine Monohydrate


What? BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) are made up of three essential amino – leucine, isoleucine and valine.  They are essential because the body is unable to make them out of other amino acids so they must be ingested through food or supplements. BCAA’s make up 40% of the daily requirement of all nine essential amino acids so they’re pretty important.

Nutritionally BCAA’s can be consumed through a range of protein rich foods like meat, chicken, fish eggs, certain nuts (eg. peanuts and almonds) lentils and some beans.

When? Pre and post workout

Who? If you want to increase strength and/or muscle mass. BCAA’s reduce muscle fatigue, speed up recovery and prevent muscle loss.

Try Scivation XTEND BCAAs


What? Magnesium is an essential mineral known to be depleted as a result of exercise. Magnesium is involved in normal muscle relaxation meaning it can help reduce cramps and spasms, while promoting muscle recovery. Adequate magnesium can also contribute to peak performance by reducing blood lactate levels and muscle weakness.

When? Pre and post workout

Who? If you’re an athlete, gym junkie or live an active lifestyle – it is important to increase your magnesium intake.

Try IsoWhey Sports UM Magnesium


Why? Electrolytes are paramount in maintaining whole body and cellular water balance as they influence the ability of your body to retain water. During exercise, electrolytes assist with muscular function and energy synthesis to maintain maximum endurance and muscular strength.

If you’re low in electrolytes, your hydration, performance and recovery are compromised. Consuming a quality hypotonic electrolyte formula that contains a full range of electrolytes lost during exercise is an excellent way to hydrate and support recovery.

When? Pre, during and post workout.

Who? Everyone who exercises. If you’re looking for a great source of natural electrolytes, coconut water is a great additional as it provides essential electrolytes, other minerals (potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium), vitamins (vitamin C, B6 and folate), carbohydrates and protein.

Try IsoWhey Sports Electrolyte Formula

Image by Christine Ai. Wearing FIRST BASE

Disclaimer: The information in this post has been prepared for general information purposes only. Please consult the advice of a qualified health practitioner if you have any questions or concerns.

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