Protein is an important macronutrient for building and repairing muscle tissue. However most people don’t know exactly how much protein is enough. Of course there are different factors to take in to play; such as age, activity level, and weight. These factors will determine how much will be enough. Most people with a well-balanced diet eat enough protein on a day-today basis, but it’s also important to keep in mind that you need to include complete proteins (containing all 9 essential amino acids).
Essential means that your body can’t produce these amino acids on its own, and therefore they must be consumed through your diet. These 9 essential amino acids are from sources of complete protein, such as meat, eggs, fish, most dairy products and soybeans.
It is important to remember that you actually build muscle outside the gym. Sounds strange, but during the time you spend in the gym training you are breaking down the muscle tissue. In order to actually build the muscle(s), you need to fuel your body properly. This also aids in recovery and your muscles will grow back stronger.
✗ A Fear of becoming ‘Too Bulky’
There is a genuine fear and belief among a lot of women that going to the gym and lifting weights will lead to them becoming bulky and having a more masculine physique. The same fear is then applied to protein, as many women believe eating a good amount of protein will also lead to them putting on weight and becoming bulky in appearance.
It is important to remember that women produce less testosterone than men. Testosterone is needed to build muscle tissue. Men, biologically at least, are much better suited to putting on muscle mass. For the majority of women a lean, toned physique is the aim and protein is an important nutrient to help achieve this aim. Do not shy away from eating protein, embrace it, and fuel your muscles with the nutrients they need.
✗ A High Protein Diet is Expensive
Meat is expensive in comparison to vegetables, such as broccoli, or carbs, such as pasta and rice, but it is a vital nutrient and is extremely important for your health and well-being in its own right. The important thing to remember is that protein can come from a variety of sources.
Eggs and dairy products, such as milk, are reasonably priced and provide great sources of protein. If in doubt about what foods are good for you, high in protein and available on a budget, take a look at the article, 10 Budget Friendly Foods For A Healthy Lifestyle, to give you a list of ideas.
How much protein is enough?
This really depends on how active you are on a day-to-day basis. If you lead a sedentary life, meaning you engage in very little to no exercise, than the recommended amount of protein is much lower than a women who is physically very active and exercises regularly.
For women who are exercising to lose weight the aim should be to eat around 0.03 oz of protein for each pound of bodyweight. So as an example, if you weigh 130 pounds, you will need to eat around 4.2 oz of protein each day to increase protein synthesis and aid the recovery, growth and maintenance of lean muscle mass. You should be aiming to still eat this amount of protein even on the days you don’t work out (rest days).
If you are exercising while eating in an overall calorie deficit, you should consume around 0.05 oz of protein for each pound of bodyweight, meaning if you weight 130 pounds you will be looking to consume about 5 oz of protein per day.
It is important to keep in mind that as your calorie consumption decreases, your protein intake will need to increase.
The Best Women’s Supplements
Myprotein have a range formulated especially for women: The Active Women Range. Here are some of the must have women’s products:
✓ Active Women Diet Blend – with 20 g of protein and only 96 calories per serving this supplement is tailored to help you achieve the physique you want!
✓ Active Women Meal Replacement – this low calorie formula is perfect to fill you up for the day, so you avoid unhealthy snacking!
✓ Active Women Pre-Workout – sometimes you really can’t find the energy to go to the gym. Make sure you don’t falter your progress, with our energy boosting pre-workout!
Take Home Message
Protein is an essential macronutrient that is needed for building and maintaining muscle mass. However, many women stay away from consuming enough out of fear of becoming “too bulky.” Learn to let go of the myths otherwise, and learn more about the actual facts of protein! Complete protein sources include meat, fish, (most) low fat dairy products, and soybeans. Of course, consult your doctor and/or nutritionist if you have any concerns about not getting enough protein.