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When you think about protein powder what is the first image that pops into your head? Is it a lean, fit and skinny woman? Probably not. Most people think of a super buff male figure drinking a protein shake after lifting super heavy weights and eating tons of chicken and protein on top of all that. This is a false image. Yes, males usually take protein as well, but protein is for women too!
The other day I had a heated debate with an old high school friend (we could call him Jack) about why women should not take a protein supplement. He told me that since women are not meant to “get ripped”, we don’t need the extra protein. I disagreed with him saying that women still need protein to be healthy.
This debate started because my close friend (we will call her Jill) posted a picture of protein powder she had just purchased and was looking forward to taking. Then the debate ended with Jack calling Jill a “c***” and a “stupid tramp”. Now this was uncalled for so I blocked Jack, not because of the debate, but because of the name calling and cursing.
Anyways, the debate got me thinking about the importance of protein and why women SHOULD be taking a protein powder supplement. No, it will not make you bulky. Yes, it will help create lean muscle and help with weight loss.
1. Lose Weight Faster
Protein contains little amounts of carbs and fats. Some protein powders contain none at all! This means you are getting the protein, vitamins, and minerals you need without all the added fats and carbohydrates that your body does not need. And it has been noted that people who use a protein shake as a replacement for a meal tended to lose weight faster than those who just focused on food dieting.
You do not want to take too much protein though. Using protein as a meal replacement is to help make sure you get your protein intake without the yucky carbs and fats. If you choose to use protein as a meal, replace only one meal a day at the most unless the doctor says you can replace more. Also, try to get protein through food groups as well!
2. Burn 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” (Bodybuilding.com). Now this is just insane! This means that protein burns calories faster than sugars, carbs, fats, fruits, veggies, etc. “Out of every 100 calories you get from protein, 25-30 are burned in the digestion process” (Bodybuilding.com).
I just HAD to quote this section because it was all worded perfectly. This is also so interesting! Burning those calories means your body isn’t turning them into excess fats. You literally NEED protein to burn calories and help digest other foods. This could even potentially help give you faster weight-loss results!
3. Get Your Daily Protein Intake
Most women struggle getting enough protein in their daily diet. Women need about 46 grams of protein a day. If you lift weights or are trying to lose weight, you need more protein than that! Protein Powder can help get you to your daily goals! “If you’re dieting and exercising, aim higher—between 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of your bodyweight per day” (Bodybuilding.com). For example, I am 130 lbs. so I need between 130-195 grams protein per day! (take your body weight x 1 or 1.5).
Whichever protein powder you decide to go with, it should tell you how much protein you are getting per serving. It also helps to check the nutrition facts to see what else is in your protein. I suggest calculating how much protein you need per day so that you can keep track and make sure you are getting enough!
For example, I just got a new protein powder by Body Fortress that contains 60 grams per serving. As stated above, I personally need 130-195 grams of protein per day. 60 grams helps out a bunch! If I am still not getting enough protein with one serving of that plus protein-rich foods, I could always add another serving (as long as I make sure I am not going over my intake).
4. Repair Your Body
You know that feeling of being super sore after workouts? Usually starting the day after your workout? Well protein helps to repair your muscles as well as other important areas of your body. The BEST time to take protein in my opinion is directly after a vigorous workout. This will help repair your bones and muscles as well as help you feel less sore the next day than you would without protein.
People will tell you protein is best in the morning or best when replacing a meal. These can be important times to take protein as well, but after a workout is when protein can help muscles recover. Besides muscles, protein also helps repair skin, blood, bones, and cartilage. To have a stronger body overall, you need to be getting enough protein in your diet every day! Protein powder supplements can help with that! 🙂
5. For Hunger and Craving Control
Protein doesn’t cause such a high spike in your blood sugars as sugars, fats, and carbohydrates do. This means you won’t have as bad of a crash.
Smaller spike= smaller crash
Since protein powders come in different flavors and gives you less of a crash, then this will cause you to have fewer cravings. The flavor probably doesn’t effect your cravings much, but it does for me! I look forward to having a yummy chocolate protein shake with almond milk, bananas, and peanut butter. No, I don’t have this much protein and healthy carbs/fats for every protein shake. However if my cravings are worse on one day, why not find healthy ways to calm them?
I suggest spicing up your protein shakes! I have a whole Pinterest board full of different ways to make your shakes! Just click HERE 🙂 Depending on your flavor of protein, add different fruits or yogurt or milk to give it a fuller taste.
6. Get Your Daily Nutrition
This section will be a bit smaller than some of the others. I just wanted to state how protein contains vitamins and minerals your body needs. Making sure you are getting your daily protein intake also means you are getting your daily nutritional intake!
This is another area that you could always keep track of if you wanted. However, I think as long as you are getting enough protein, fruits, veggies, and healthy carbs and fats, then you will be getting all the nutrition you need. If you still feel that isn’t enough, take a daily multi-vitamin to ease your nerves.
7. To Create Lean Muscle
Protein helps burn calories and break down amino acids. Any excess protein that is not burned or turned into energy will be stored as fat. If you are lifting weights regularly and eating a healthy diet, most of your protein will help go towards building lean muscle!
The only way you will start looking “bulky and manly” is with hormones (which is NOT in protein powder). Protein will help build muscle, but it won’t be bulky muscle. If you want to build this lean and beautiful muscle, then you need protein. You cannot possibly gain the muscle you strive for unless you get enough protein. So yet again, I will tell you protein powder can help with this!
8. Gain a Healthy Immune System
This is another short section I just HAD to touch on. In an article by bodybuilding.com, they say “Whey protein contains glutathione, a tripeptide that helps strengthen immune function”. With a healthier immune system protecting your body, you will not be getting sick as easily. So protein helps prevent sickness and improves your health. If you aren’t lying in bed sick, you can be lifting weights and finding new ways to gain muscle!
9. For the Vegetarian Benefits
This one I just thought of while doing my research. I use to have a person I knew who was female and loved lifting heavy weights. She was also vegetarian making it difficult for her to get her daily intake of protein. So she took protein powder in order to get what she needed without having to resort to meat.
Now if you are VEGAN, you will need a special protein supplement. If you are vegetarian, then most protein powders (if not all) will be okay for you! Many hefty protein food sources come from animals. Chicken, fish, venison, etc. So if you choose not to eat meat (which is okay!) then protein powder can help you get your daily intake of protein without having to ruin your beliefs and life choices! If you want to build muscle, you need protein, but that doesn’t mean you need to change your life and choices to get this health source! Find a protein powder you believe works for you!
Since you have limited protein food sources to choose from (nuts, brown rice, etc.) then you may have to take more protein to get your intake. But this is just fine as long as you are getting what you need!!! 🙂
In conclusion, women need protein for health, lean muscle, and weight loss. If you are curious where to buy protein, I suggest bodybuilding.com or amazon.com. Bodybuilding always has some great deals going on and it is cheaper than most (if not all) GNC products (even with a gold membership). Amazon usually has decently priced products as well for protein! 🙂