A few weeks ago, I attended a seminar on Women’s Fitness at Apple Wellness in Fitchburg. They talked about supporting women’s bodies in the world of fitness, whether athletes or non-athletes. Dozens of women, including myself, learned about ways they can improve their fitness performance, increase their health, maintain flexibility and agility, and support their bodies to achieve ever greater fitness goals.
I spoke with the Apple Wellness team about expanding on some of the information relayed during the Women’s Fitness open house as it relates to women in the fitness world — athletes and non-athletes alike. Read our conversation below:
Question 1: I’m fascinated by the fact that that "healthy" food these days is much less nutritionally dense as the same foods 50 years ago. What are the top 5 baseline vitamins/supplements to make sure you have a balanced nutrition intake?
Here at Apple Wellness we have something we call ‘The Foundational Five’. These are the primary nutrients that we feel are most important to support and nourish our bodies, whether we’re training athletically or not.
Anti-inflammatories: Inflammation is the root cause behind almost all disease, pain, digestive disorders, and depression. An anti-inflammatory will help cleanse inflammation from the body, eliminating irksome health issues and renewing energy and vitality.
Antioxidants: These protect against oxidative stress, free radical damage, and toxins from our food, water, air, and environment. In a world that is an almost constant barrage of toxins, the importance of keeping our bodies supplied with the nutrients needed to remove those toxins can’t be overstated.
Omega-3 Fats: Every cell wall in your entire body is surrounded by omega fatty acids. If you’re depleted, every cell and system suffers. If you have a steady supply of Omega-3 Fats, every system in the body will receive the nourishment needed for optimal function.
Probiotics: More than 100 trillion micro-organisms inhabit our digestive system or gut and they are in a constant battle for dominance. Our goal is not to eliminate ‘bad bacteria’, but rather to maintain a healthy balance of beneficial bacterial flora. The health of the ENTIRE body is determined by the health of the gut. Over the counter and prescription medications, poor diets, and toxins all damage the balance of our gut flora. To maintain a healthy gut (and healthy immune systems, cardiovascular system, digestive system — the list goes on) we recommend supplementing with probiotics.
MultiVitamin: We are all nutritionally deficient in one way or another. Deficiencies in even just one vitamin can affect our bodies in surprising ways. For example, did you know that low Vitamin C contributes to acne? A high quality multivitamin will replenish depleted nutrient stores, providing your body with the solid nutrients it needs to function optimally.
Question 2: What should a female athlete be particularly mindful of when she is working out consistently or training for a sport?
Know and listen to your body! Getting adequate nutrition is key when it comes to being active, and especially when training for a sport. Women’s bodies are different than men (no surprises there) so our nutritional needs vary as well. For example, because female hormone production relies heavily on healthy fats, women require a diet that is higher in (healthy!) fats than men. You can find these health fats in avocado, nuts, fish, and other foods.
It is also extremely important to know your body in the sense of being able to recognize and feel out injuries. Knowing the right steps to healing your body is key! Before an injury occurs, be proactive in taking the vitamins and supplements that will help prevent injuries as well as help them to heal more quickly. We recommend all female athletes rely on a high-quality protein, a multivitamin, BCAA’s, Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Following an injury, we may have other or additional nutrients to recommend that are specific to your situation.
Question 3: As a multi-disciplined athlete, I have different needs at different times, depending on what I'm training for. What are one or two supplements you might suggest for the following concerns:
Muscle building/growth: BCAA’s and a high quality protein supplement with give your body the boost needed to safely strengthen and grow muscles.
Energy (especially before intense workout): We’d recommend pre-workout suited towards you preferences, whether that be plant-based with natural energy boosters or something a little more intense with a bit of caffeine!
Performance/Focus: Take a B-complex! B vitamins play a major role in our energy levels and are a very affordable supplement to add to your daily work-out regimen. Adaptogenic herbs such as Rhodiola can also help with focus and athletic performance.
Recovery/muscle fatigue: An anti-inflammatory such as CuraMed or CBD Oil and a protein shake to help rebuild and recover the muscle tissue
Sleep: Gaba, Melatonin, Valerian all work very well synergistically to help fall asleep as well as getting into that deep REM sleep!
Question 4: The number one goal for many of my training clients is weight loss. Aside from a healthy, balanced diet, what types of supplements can they take to maximize their weight loss efforts?
As you said, nutrition is a foundational starting point for not only weight loss, but also a healthy lifestyle in general. This is always step number one! Step number two would be incorporating The Foundational Five supplements mentioned above.
Next, a high-quality protein shake is essential. Protein helps your body recover from a workout, supports your energy, and fills in those gaps between meals in a healthy way.
An herbal detox is a great way to kickstart a lifestyle change. Most of us have well over five pounds of toxins built up in our body, and a gentle detox helps rid your bodies. Toxins quite literally weigh you down and impede vital functions of your body, such as your digestive system, cardiovascular system, and even brain function.
The reality is, there is no magic weight-loss pill. But, there are definitely natural and healthy ways to help boost the metabolism and curb cravings. There are a couple of different herbal blends including Garcinia Cambogia, Green Coffee Extract, and Raspberry Ketones that help your body naturally boost metabolism. We also recommend incorporating CLA, which is a naturally occurring fatty acid that helps promote healthy weight loss and management and supports lean muscle mass.
There are many other options as well, but these supplements have been successful for many individuals and are a great starting point!
Question 5: I was impressed by how specific the Apple Wellness experts can get when identifying possible vitamin deficiencies and supplement needs. What is the best way to go about asking for help with vitamin shopping?
There is a lot of information out there in the supplement world, so we always encourage people to reach out with either a phone call or popping on in to one of our stores. It might seem a bit intimidating initially, but actually talking to someone about your questions, goals, and concerns is extremely helpful. We are trained in this and passionate about helping people heal, so we’re excited to help you clear up health mysteries and find a high quality supplement in the most absorbable form.
Our team is here to help people live healthy, vibrant lives. We’ll always do everything we can to go the extra mile for anyone who reaches out. Healthy people create healthy communities, and healthy communities create a healthy world. At least, that’s what we think. :)
Vitamin shopping can be confusing and overwhelming so let the experts at Apple Wellness make it fun and educational. If you go into either location, be sure you mention this post. As always, if you need help or direction in your fitness journey, you know who to call. ;)