Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Female's Guide to Taking Protein

I often get asked about taking protein powder and why protein is beneficial to women. Protein is not a beneficial thing based on sex-protein benefits you no matter what gender you may be!

Each time you complete a workout, your muscle tissues break down little by little. The muscle building takes place at home, through proper recovery and refueling (nutrition). This is where protein plays a huge role.

With proper protein intake, amino acids come to the rescue of your damaged muscle, repairing those tissues so they grow back even stronger. The body doesn't store amino acids, like it does fats or carbohydrates. The body needs a daily supply of amino acids to make new protein.

However, it seems that women, in particular, are afraid to start taking a protein supplement such as whey protein powder. One of the biggest misconceptions is that it will make them look bulky or they fear that they will somehow grow a penis and turn into a man.


Not true. Women lack the hormones to bulk up like men do. So do not even begin to worry about that!

Protein can benefit you, as a woman, more than you may realize. It not only will help you tone up and build muscle, but it will ultimately aid your battle against the bulge.

Some benefits of taking protein are:
  1. Controls Appetite. It is no secret that proteins take longer to break down and digest, keeping you feeling fuller longer. If you are finding yourself constantly starving throughout the day, maybe you should try upping your protein intake to see if that helps keep hunger at bay.
  2. Burns More Calories. Protein has the highest thermic effect of food (TEF), which is the amount of calories it takes your body to process and utilize a nutrient. Out of every 100 calories you get from protein, 25-30 are burned in the digestion process. Since your body expends more energy to process proteins than it does to digest carbohydrates and fats, people who consume more protein throughout the day might see faster fat-loss results than people on a lower-protein diet plan.
  3. Aids Muscle Recovery. Heavy resistance exercise increases the rates of both protein synthesis and breakdown in muscle for at least 24 hours after a workout. Unless a protein-containing meal is consumed during recovery, breakdown will exceed synthesis, resulting in the loss of muscle mass.
  4. Boosts Immunity. Research studies have show that deficiency of high-quality protein can result in depletion of immune cells, inability of the body to make antibodies, and other immune-related problems. Protein is composed of the 20 amino acids your body needs for growth and repair, and some of these amino acids appear to be particularly important for immune functioning.
So, how much protein do women need?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the standard food guide recommendation for the average individual is set around 46 grams per day for women and 65 grams per day for men. But, this is for your average person. If you are working out regularly and tearing those muscles down, your body will require more protein to build those muscles back up again.

The general guideline for an active individual's intake of protein is about one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. 

For example, if you weigh 120 lbs, your daily protein intake requirement will be at least 120 grams-again,  if you are working out regularly.

Here is a protein intake calculator that you can use! For more nutritional calculators, click the page tab at the top of the blog.

I know what you are thinking, "How in the hell am I going to consume THAT much protein?" 

In one simple, short answer: Protein Powder.


So, what are some good sources of protein?
  • Lean meats
  • Protein Powders
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Greek yogurt
  • Quinoa
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Soy
  • Tofu
So, when is the best time to take protein?

Ideally, you want to constantly take in a stream of protein throughout the day. My biggest tip is to aim for including protein at each and every meal. However, if you are clueless as to when to take your protein powder, the best times for that are 1) after your workout and 2) at bedtime.

"Protein at bedtime!? But I have been told to not eat past 7 pm!!"


It all depends on what you eat past 7 pm., first of all. Recent studies have shown that consuming a protein shake or high protein snack such as boiled eggs or cottage cheese with fruit at bedtime can help improve postexercise overnight recovery, not to mention, keep you away from wandering towards your fridge or pantry at night. Just don't overdo it and eat a large quantity.

"What if I am vegetarian or vegan?"


There are tons of other ways to get your protein in such as:
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Spinach
  • Sprouted Grain Bread
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu
  • Nut Butter
  • Nuts
  • Pea Protein Powder
  • Hemp Protein Powder
  • Peanut Protein Powder
On a last note, keep in mind that not all proteins are created equally.  Some proteins will meet all of your needs while others won't  and because of this, there are two main types of protein:

complete protein contains an adequate amount of all of the essential amino acids that should be incorporated into a diet such as beef, poultry, fish, eggs, yogurt, and milk.

An incomplete protein is any protein that lacks one or more essential amino acids in correct proportions such as grains, nuts, seeds, peas, and corn.
There's no reason to fuss or worry about whether or not you are getting enough of either as, in the American vegetarian diet, food choices are so varied and in such abundance that the lack of essential amino acids is rarely a problem.

Remember: Variety is key.

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