How Much PROTEIN Should Women Eat to Build Muscle (and Lose Fat!)?
How Much Protein Per Day For Women to Lose Fat and Build Muscle?
How much protein should women eat if they want to lose weight but also build muscle? In this blog post, I’ll share what I’ve learned on this topic and what I’m focusing on personally so you’ll understand completely how much protein women should eat on a daily basis. I’ve recently enhanced my KETO diet approach to remain KETO/Low-Carb but also be very focused on high protein– why? Because when I learned how much protein women should eat to support muscle gains and fat loss- I realized I was likely not eating nearly enough. And once I focused on adjusting my macros, I found that I could easily do HIGH protein and the same low-carb (50G or less per day typically) and stick with my caloric deficit. I’ve been on this track for about 2 weeks so far and have am SEEING RESULTS. Tune in to the blog post below to learn more about how much protein should women eat, why they should focus on eating more protein, how protein helps with muscle gain/growth and recovery and how protein supports fat loss with a conclusion summarizing what I’m doing in MY diet and workouts and how it’s working so far and what my goals are for the future!
Do women need to eat as much protein as men?
Our fitness industry has long been permeated by the notion that women need to eat less protein than men to achieve their fitness goals. Much of this mythology is spread by women trainers also promoting super low-calorie diets and suggesting women should never lift heavy weights for fear of “bulking up’ (eye roll). That said, recent studies have shown that this is simply not true. The fact is, women need just as much protein as men to build muscle and lose fat. In this blog post, I’ll talk about the recommended daily protein intake for women, the benefits and importance of consuming enough protein, and the best sources of protein for building muscle and losing fat.
What is Protein and Why Is it IMPORTANT For Women Who are Weight Training?
Protein is one of the three macronutrients that are essential for human survival. It is made up of amino acids and is responsible for building and repairing tissues in the body. Women need protein to maintain and repair muscles, bones, and organs. Protein is also important for hair, skin, and nail health. It’s also that thing we enjoy eating in dishes like sushi or burgers with fries or tacos or roast turkey or Turkey Taco Bowls (just had this this week sooo good!!) any sandwich etc.
How Much Protein Does a Woman Need?
The amount of protein a woman needs varies depending on her body weight, activity level, and fitness goals. Generally, women need between 0.8 and 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. (For those non-metric people like myself, 1 kilogram = 2.2 LBS.) This means that a woman who weighs 130 pounds (59 kg) should aim to consume between 70 and 100 grams of protein per day. However, women who are trying to build muscle or lose fat may need to consume more protein than this. For reference, based on what I’ve read and learned from several trainers in my age group– I’m currently focusing on 100g-125g of protein per day. This doesn’t mean YOU need to focus on that much– we all need to do our own research. I’m doing 1600 calories a day, 50g of carbs, 100-125g protein and the rest healthy fats.
How Does Protein Help With Muscle Growth?
When we lift weights, we are essentially creating small tears in our muscle fibers. It may sound counterintuitive, but it is these tears that actually stimulate muscle growth and repair. In order for our body to repair and rebuild the damaged muscle tissue, it needs a steady supply of amino acids – the building blocks of protein.
When we consume protein, our body breaks it down into its individual amino acids and uses those amino acids to repair and rebuild that muscle tissue. This process is called muscle protein synthesis, and is essential for muscle growth and recovery.
The consumption of protein can help to prevent muscle breakdown as well. When we don’t consume enough protein, our body may start to break down existing muscle tissue in order to access the amino acids that it needs for other functions. By consuming enough protein, we can help to prevent this muscle breakdown and ensure that our body has the amino acids that it needs to support muscle growth and recovery.
It’s also worth noting that not all proteins are created equal when it comes to muscle growth. In particular, protein sources that are high in leucine – an amino acid that plays a key role in muscle protein synthesis – are especially beneficial for muscle growth. Some examples of protein sources that are high in leucine include animal-based proteins like meat, poultry, and dairy, as well as plant-based proteins like soy and quinoa.
In summary, protein is essential for muscle growth and recovery. When we lift weights, we create small tears in our muscle fibers that require amino acids to repair and rebuild. By consuming enough protein – especially protein sources that are high in leucine – we can support muscle protein synthesis and prevent muscle breakdown, leading to stronger, healthier muscles over time.
Benefits vs. Risks of Consuming Enough or Not Enough Protein for Women.
Consuming the right amount of protein has myriad benefits for women, including increased muscle mass, improved bone density, and a faster metabolism. (BAM!) Protein also helps to keep you feeling full for longer, which can help with weight loss. Not consuming enough protein can have some negative health consequences for women, including muscle loss, bone density loss, and a weakened immune system. YIKES. Women who are not getting enough protein may also experience fatigue, weakness, and a slower metabolism. Enough reason to up your protein game??
What are the BEST Sources of Protein For Women?
OMG. There are SOOOO many sources of protein that are ideally suited for women, including lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, and plant-based sources such as beans, nuts, and tofu. Plus of course you can incorporate additional enhancements like protein powders and protein bars as well. This helps to mix things up and you can create fun recipes. Right now, the entire internet is making high protein recipes using cottage cheese for virtually EVERYTHING. Stay tuned, I’ll share my favorites in a post coming up next week and down below I have one for you to start with! Try to choose high-quality sources of protein that are low in saturated fat and added sugars. Want some fantastic ideas for high protein low carb meals? Hmmm where could you get that I wonder? OH YEA– my KETO COOKBOOK!!
Protein Timing and Distribution
In addition to understanding how much protein women need to consume, it is also important to consider the timing and distribution of protein intake. Some research suggests that consuming protein right after a strength training workout can help to support muscle recovery and growth. Additionally, spreading protein intake throughout the day (rather than consuming all protein in one or two large meals) can also be beneficial for muscle growth and recovery. What am I doing currently? I have shifted from intermittent fasting to eating 3 meals a day and one “snack” which is typically a protein shake or a protein snack (some kind of Greek Yogurt or Cottage Cheese + Protein Powder concoction). I’m actually really enjoying it– and it is certainly working well with my new training schedule because the working out for sure has increased my appetite.
So How Does Protein Help With WEIGHT LOSS?
Protein is often recommended for women who are looking to lose weight because it can help to reduce cravings and feelings of hunger. This can make it easier to stick to a calorie-restricted diet, which is a key component of weight loss.
One way that protein can help to reduce cravings and hunger is by affecting the hormones that regulate appetite. When we consume protein, it triggers the release of hormones like cholecystokinin and peptide YY, which can help to reduce feelings of hunger and increase feelings of fullness. Additionally, protein can help to slow down the emptying of the stomach, which can also help to keep us feeling full for longer.
Another way that protein can assist with weight loss is through its higher thermic effect compared to carbohydrates or fats. The thermic effect of food refers to the amount of energy that is required to digest, absorb, and metabolize the nutrients in food. Protein has a higher thermic effect than carbohydrates or fats, meaning that the body burns more calories digesting protein than it does digesting other nutrients. This can help to boost metabolism and support weight loss over time.
Finally, consuming protein can help to preserve muscle mass during weight loss. When we lose weight, we typically lose both fat and muscle mass. However, by consuming enough protein and engaging in strength training, we can help to preserve muscle mass while losing fat. This can help to ensure that our body is burning fat rather than muscle for energy, leading to a healthier and more sustainable weight loss.
In conclusion, protein can be a helpful tool for women who are looking to lose weight. By reducing cravings and feelings of hunger, boosting metabolism, and preserving muscle mass, protein can support healthy weight loss and help women achieve their fitness goals. Have I convinced you to up your protein focus yet?
1-2 Punch: High Protein, Low Carb!
So, y’all know I have been formerly strict KETO and that is what helped me finally bust out of a long plateau where I could NOT lose weight no matter what- and I lost 36 inches and 30LBS. I was strictly keto for about 1 year and 4-5 months until my doctor and I started working together end of last year to begin adding carbs back into my diet. I didn’t do this strategically enough, and I think frankly I was too confident in my weight loss and having had kept it off so successfully for so long— but let’s summarize and say that the experience of shifting to a much heavier carb diet ended up with me experiencing major stomach and digestive issues and gaining some weight back. MASSIVE BUMMER. I decided about 10-12 weeks ago to get back to keto and then start working out like I used to — with a strong weight training focus. It was mid-way into getting back to my keto focus that I started following a lot of great women on social who taught me a lot about the need for more protein– then my functional medicine doctor agreed. So I currently still do low/carb-keto but I do high protein.
A high protein, low carb diet can be an effective approach for women who are looking to lose weight and build muscle. Here are some ways that this type of diet can be beneficial:
Increased satiety: One of the main benefits of a high protein, low carb diet is that it can help to increase feelings of fullness and satiety. This is because protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates or fats, which can help to keep us feeling full for longer. By consuming more protein and fewer carbs, we may be able to reduce overall calorie intake and support weight loss.
Muscle preservation: When we consume a low carb diet, our body begins to shift from using carbohydrates for energy to using fat. This process is known as ketosis, and it can be beneficial for weight loss. However, when our body is in a calorie deficit (i.e. consuming fewer calories than it burns), it may also start to break down muscle tissue for energy. By consuming enough protein, we can help to preserve muscle mass and ensure that our body is burning fat rather than muscle for energy.
Improved insulin sensitivity: Insulin is a hormone that helps to regulate blood sugar levels. When we consume a lot of carbohydrates, our body produces more insulin to help process the glucose in our blood. Over time, this can lead to insulin resistance, which is a risk factor for a variety of health conditions. By consuming a low carb diet, we can reduce the amount of insulin that our body produces and improve insulin sensitivity, which can be beneficial for overall health and wellness.
Increased muscle protein synthesis: a high protein diet can also stimulate muscle protein synthesis, which is essential for muscle growth and recovery. By consuming enough protein and regularly strength training, women can support the growth and maintenance of lean muscle mass, leading to stronger, healthier muscles over time.
In summary, a high protein, low carb diet can be a beneficial approach for women who are interested in losing weight and building muscle. By increasing satiety, preserving muscle mass, improving insulin sensitivity, and supporting muscle protein synthesis, this type of diet can help women achieve their fitness goals and improve their overall health and wellness. It is important to work with a healthcare professional to determine if this approach is appropriate for your individual needs and goals.
BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!
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