In the past, we were plagued with the stereotype that only men should build muscles, and many women were afraid of getting bulky. But nowadays, muscle building has become very common among women who want to lose weight and build a good physique.
By now, we’ve all probably learned that amino acids, aka proteins, are the muscles’ brass tacks. Nonetheless, people still wonder how much protein they really need.
Why Is Protein Important?
Protein comes from the Greek word proteios, which means ‘primary,’ and reflects the importance of protein as part of a well-balanced diet. Protein isn’t just for the muscles. You need protein because it builds your hormones, antibodies, enzymes, and body tissues.
Protein is also a major source of energy, decreases the risk of heart diseases, and contributes to bone strength and overall health. There’s a common misconception that protein causes high levels of cholesterol and kidney failure, but these were never scientifically supported; as a matter of fact, high protein intake has shown to fight diabetes and high blood pressure, both of which play a huge role in kidney damage. So, there’s no evidence that protein can negatively affect your health. Contrarily, insufficient protein can weaken the immune system and cause more frequent illnesses.
Calculation of Protein Intake
According to the DRI (Dietary Reference Intake), for every pound of body weight, protein intake should be 0.36 grams. The ideal protein intake for an average sedentary woman is 46 grams every day. However, other factors need to be considered like activity level, body composition, fitness goals, and lifestyle.
Women’s protein intake can also depend on their fitness goals;
- For muscle building, women need about 1.6 grams of protein for each pound of body weight each day, as protein builds the micro-tears that take place during weight-lifting. Sources of protein include poultry, eggs, meat, and dairy products. If you’re a vegan, there are many sources of plant-based proteins like legumes, tofu, and quinoa.
- Because weight-lifting has proven to be far more effective than strict diets, more women have started hitting the gym. If you build muscles, you can benefit from an increased metabolic rate and a toned physique; muscles are known to be fat-burning machines! That’s why a high protein intake can help women lose weight by increasing their muscle mass percentage and helping them get rid of stubborn fat. Besides, if you’re cutting back on calories, consuming protein will help you feel full and avoid late-night snacking!
- If you don’t do weight-lifting or rigorous exercise, you can consume about 0.36 to 0.6 grams for each pound of body weight. Generally, women who are physically active or want to slim down will need a higher protein intake.
Most women are unsure whether they’re getting enough protein every day or how much they actually need. Maybe because people have always shed a negative light on protein, and there have been countless protein myths that many people still believe. So if you’re reading this post, rest assured. You can go ahead and eat that steak, no guilt!
Need more support on your postpartum fitness journey? Head on over to my FREE private facebook group called Healthy Mama Huddle