Protein Up?? What is a Girl To Do?

Hey everyone! So, I was having a discussion with a friend this week regarding protein consumption needs in women. Here’s the background several personal trainers and fitness instructors upon completion of a group fitness class, will encourage the class to immediately head over to the smoothie station and protein up. My friend’s question was “Should I consume protein following a class?” My short answer is “No.” It is not necessary to consume protein at this time unless you happen to be an elite athlete or are competing in athletic pursuits. Typically, when women work-out, their goal is to not put on bulk or build beefy muscles.  Instead, most women are looking to build lean muscle and reduce overall body fat.

If the diet contains adequate protein consumption already, it is unnecessary.  As a matter of fact, to prevent bulk, I recommend waiting at least 45 minutes up to to an hour to consume a protein. Protein’s role is important, and in fact, critical, in our diets. It’s most important function is in cellular function, muscle repair, and muscle growth. So, if you find that you really want the protein shake or are just very hungry that day, go for it. Just realize though, based on the calorie content in most protein shakes, it will equate to a meal. If that fills you up, fantastic. Personally, I feel pretty unsatisfied unless I am chewing and swallowing something. Sometimes, in a pinch, protein shakes are the best choice/option around given time constraints etc.

How much protein should you consume anyway?  For most women, to maintain lean muscle mass, the optimal standard requirement is .50 grams for every pound of body weight. For a woman weighing 100 pounds, this would be 50 grams of protein a day. Additionally, most women should consume 4 oz of protein during a single setting.  Therefore, 4 oz of chicken would have 28 grams of protein, and only 22 additional grams would be needed to reach optimal protein requirements.

During my weightlifting “craze” (some of my friends remember this) many years ago, I ate a gram of protein for every pound I weighed. I also bulked up. I know now, on my 5’2 frame, that this is not my best look..(will try to dig up some pictures as proof).  I do like the look of being muscular and cut but my preference now is for long lean muscles. I will leave the bulkiness for the men. My husband’s preference is for my arms to be smaller that his. Ha! Hope this provides a clear and simple rule of thumb on protein consumption needs.  Also, listen to your body, if you are hungry, eat. Most of the time it provides us with a clear direction in terms of what our needs are.

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