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Women and Fitness: Unleashing the Power of Protein for Building Lean Muscle

When trying to build up your muscles, protein plays an important role in this. Despite this, many women who are trying to bulk up their muscles will avoid eating too much protein in order to maximize their results. But, if you want to build up your muscles quickly and efficiently whilst also looking after your health, you’ll need to understand just how important protein is in this process.

Adhering to a controlled diet and practicing a rigorous exercise routine is sure to take its toll, particularly when you’re eating chicken, brown rice and broccoli most evenings. As those naughty snacks start to cry, “Eat me!” it can be hard to remain strict and focused on your end goals. What’s more, even when women harbor after these treats, they’re still avoiding protein.

A recent study found that when women crave foods, these tend to be donuts, ice cream and chocolate, whilst men will hanker after burgers and steaks. It is this lack of protein in a diet that can cause all kinds of problems, especially when it comes to building up muscle in the gym.

Women and Fitness: Unleashing the Power of Protein for Building Lean Muscle

Why is Protein Important? 

There are numerous advantages to eating protein, with 9 out of the 20 amino acids being found in protein being essential. This means your body isn’t capable of making these amino acids on its own and will acquire them through food or dietary supplements like protein powder for women. This protein is what will help to build up muscle tissue and it will also supply the body with the materials it needs for hormones and neurotransmitters.

When you undergo a rigorous workout, you’re breaking down your muscle tissues. It’s when you’re out of the gym that you’re actually building them up. And, in order to do this, you need to supply your body with enough fuel. Having the right amount of protein in your diet will help to repair your damaged muscles with a supply of amino acids, making them even stronger.

How Does Protein Affect Your Appetite and Energy Levels? 

If you constantly feel hungry throughout the day, the chances are you aren’t consuming enough protein in your meals. Because protein takes a longer time to digest and break down than carbohydrates, it helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer, reducing those hunger pangs significantly. Therefore, protein also helps you to keep on track with your calorie intake, sticking to your diet with ease.

How Does Protein Help You To Burn Calories? 

The thermic effect of food (TEF) measures the number of calories needed to process and utilize nutrients during digestion. And guess what? Protein has the highest TEF effect of food with a score of around 20 – 35%.

So, when you’ve eaten protein, your body’s actually using 20 – 35% of the calories in it to consume it, so if you ate 100 calories worth of protein, you’ll burn off 20 – 35 during digestion! Therefore, those who stick to diets that are high in protein and lower in fats and carbohydrates may notice a better reduction in fat than those who are on a low-protein diet.

How Does Protein Safeguard Your Muscles? 

When you’re on a strict diet plan and fats and carbohydrates become scarce and your calorie intake drops, your body is quite likely to turn to protein to get its energy. This means that there’s less protein available for other functions in your body.

If this is the case, to get individual amino acids, your body can turn to your muscle tissue, breaking this down to get the nutrients it needs. This means you could start to lose muscle and will have a lower metabolism when you’re resting.

Women and Fitness: Unleashing the Power of Protein for Building Lean Muscle

How Much Protein Do You Need? 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a guide that recommended the average daily protein intake for men is 65g while for women it’s 46 grams. However, when you’re exercising on a regular basis and you’re breaking down your lean muscle, you will need to increase your protein intake to suit. If you’re also dieting and you’ve reduced the number of fats and carbohydrates you’re consuming, your protein intake will need to alter to cater for this too.

To get this valuable protein intake, focus on eating protein sources that are high-quality and low in fat, such as low-fat dairy products, eggs, lean red meat, fish and chicken, or protein powder. By adjusting your intake of protein accordingly, you’ll not only build up muscle quickly and efficiently but will also achieve a healthier balance in your body.

Oliver Venton is a fitness enthusiast. Throughout his life, his family has dealt with hardships in health. Diseases, conditions, the worst of the worst. He has seen into the eyes of Alzheimers (his Dad), has witnessed bad health habits snowball into pancreatic cancer (his older brother) and a heart attack (his Mom), and he felt the struggles of hypertension himself. Instead of letting the illness of loved ones tear him apart, he used it to fuel his mission: to educate people on good habits.

About the Author
Da Vinci, Editor in Chief of Your Life After 25, has carved out her own position as a “Realistic Optimist,” and modern day Renaissance woman. Your Life After 25 is the women's magazine for all women, but we put a spin on things and also make sure to embrace life for ladies over 25. Whether you're 25, 30, 35, 40, 50 or older we have something for you! Your Life After 25 "Believe It Or Not, It Does Go On"
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