Active women have unique needs that are not shared by their male counterparts.
Women tend to need more calcium/magnesium over all. In my 24 years’ experience of testing for nutritional needs, generally speaking, men tend run on the high side with calcium levels; women tend to run low.
Add athletics to the mix, women can hit the wall of nutritional shortfall very fast.
1. Notes on iron
Women hormonally cycle. I know that isn’t real news, but for female athletes this is a huge consideration. A woman who works in an office and walks her dog for exercise may feel tired when her period starts. A female athlete may faint. The whole parameter of supply and demand gets narrower for active women.
You may want to track your cycle to make sure your iron is up before your period starts, this can be done with beets, blue and black berries, beet greens, red meat, barley malt, black strap molasses. Miso and tamari sauce are good to increase B12.
If you feel you need an iron supplement, there is only one I recommend; ever! It is Flora’s Floradix Iron Tonic. Iron is famously hard for humans to absorb. Floradix is the best, and even at that, some people have to go further to activate absorption.
2. Minerals and Trace Minerals
The other addition I might suggest if you are beginning to exercise or are in the peak of training/competition especially in the summer heat is the need for electrolytes. There are many ways to replace electrolytes but an easy way is through a supplement called Endurolyte. This supplement replaces electrolytes lost during exercise. It is much like Gator-aid but without the sugar and nasty colour chemicals.
Muscles use magnesium as fuel. Even the heart muscle burns magnesium. When muscles are running low, we experience fatigue in the muscle and muscle cramping. It is a sign. A very body-friendly form of magnesium is Magnelevures by Seroyal. Other great product is Flora’s Salus Liquid Calcium Magnesium.
Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals. Ok, what does that really mean?
When we exercise, the cells (those little energy factories) create waste. The more we work out, the more waste our cells create. This waste required oxygen, and will steal it by plucking it out of our oxygen rich tissues without a ‘by your leave’. Our tissues then robbed of oxygen will begin to age and ‘brown’ like a cooked turkey. So in reality, the more we exercise, the faster we age. I recommend a network antioxidant called Phytoberry.
There may be a need for protein supplementation for active women. Too much protein can cause stress for the kidneys and circulation. Every person has a unique ‘how much’. This is why I promote nutritional testing. Our bodies will show an energetic shortfall long before it becomes manifest in the body and a way before it shows as a disruption in the blood.
6. Schedule Rest
Create a training schedule and stick to it. Plot out your training program in a way that allows for reasonable increases in demand. Schedule rest periods too. Years ago I had a friend who bred and trained horses for Three Day Eventing competition. Pre competition she moved her training schedule up to 6 days a week. That seventh day was not just to regroup and muscle their bodies. It was to regroup and refresh their minds too. It was a formula for success.
Be aware of when you push yourself and not in a good way. Hypersensitivity is a good thing when it comes to performance. Being aware of small sprains and strains helps you know when to back off and let your body heal. If all you know is to ‘push on through’, you may be doing damage and not even be aware of it.
No one can really know their limits but we can be aware of our excess. Do not over-exercise. Take the time to build your body.
7. Know what foods energize you
Learn what foods build you, and what foods tire you out
For example, beets straighten me out. It doesn’t matter what’s up with me, beets make me feel better. It could be that my kidneys or bowel feel backed up. It could be that I am low in iron or minerals or feel tired and run down. I could be having a hard time getting my internal furnace fired up. No matter what, beets are my super food of choice.
Conversely, eating flour makes me tired. It isn’t just the ‘eating wheat or gluten factor’. Even eating rice pasta knocks me out. It is like somebody put Novocain in my brain. Ditto for bread (glue). If you are looking for carbohydrates, whole grains or whole rice are better choices.
On the good side, when I am too mentally wound up and I need to settle down and rest, a feast of pasta will do the trick. Add a glass of wine and I am just about de-boned.
8. Not always what we eat but when
Be careful of going into exercise with a full stomach. Our digestion pulls all the energy we have to combust the food we have consumed. Eat lightly or eat after exercising. Everyone is different, but again awareness is the key.
9. Dampness and congestion
Our bodies like to run like a finely tuned machine. They like high octane fuel and enough activity to burn fuel efficiently. When we are sluggish and under exercised, eating dense, concentrated foods tend to make us congested. Foods such as milk, cheese, eggs and fat tend to make mucous and congest.
This is not true for athletes. Because an athlete’s metabolic burn rate is high, these foods digest fully and will build the body, especially the lungs and large intestine.
10. Vitamin Mineral Supplements
There is a better supplement for athletes and semi-athletes than the supplements formulated for ‘normal’ people. Each have stresses, they are just different stresses.
Athletes need a formula to combat stress and fatigue associated with endurance. With an active lifestyle there is an increased need for oxygen uptake and electrolyte replacement. Antioxidant support is a concern and there is a greater need for nutrients to assist in recuperation such as L-glutamine and phosphatidyl serine.
What activity do you do? What are some special needs around this activity? What works for you?
I would love to hear from you active girls. Please leave a comment below.Nelda McEwen has been practicing as a Medical Intuitive in SW Ontario for over 25 years; counselling individuals and families, as well as offering her signature ICH training to other Medical Intuitives in the health field. Nelda’s professional research has been acknowledged and published in the Professional Kinesiology Practitioners Manual. The PKP program is recognized through the International Kinesiology College of Zurich Switzerland.