We all know that the key to healthy and lean body is having a balanced diet:
A diet full of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates with lots of fibers and of course proteins.
I see many girls working out on daily basis and eating healthy food, but they can’t seem to get any results.
Just ask any nutritionist, they all agree that proper nutrition takes more than 70% of your body and leave it the rest to exercising and having healthy life habits.
So, knowing a little bit of nutrition is really important, especially if you want to achieve your full potential.
And one of the leading macronutrients for both weight loss and muscle definition is definitely protein.
Protein is an essential component of the muscle-building process and yet, many girls don’t consume enough protein for maximum results.
But what about protein shakes?
Do we need protein shakes?
And what are the best protein powders for women?
Lots of questions, right? :)
Because of that, today I’ll guide you to EVERY SINGLE THING you need to know about proteins:
- Why are they important;
- What’s their main job;
- How much protein do we really need;
- Do we need protein supplements;
- How to choose the right one;
- The best protein powders for women.
This is my complete guide to protein shakes, so stay with me and learn about the power of protein!
What Are Proteins?
Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is a “macronutrient” which means that the body needs relatively large amounts of it on daily basis.
This macronutrient is linked to building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood, but it it’s also used for building and repairing tissue in the body.
Getting the right amount of protein is crucial especially if you want to get healthy and fit, since our body doesn’t store it.
Unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein, and therefore has no reservoir to draw on when it needs a new supply.”
– WebMD, The Benefits of Protein
Especially if you’re active in weight lifting, proteins are the one responsible for your muscles:
Each time you hit the gym for a workout, you break your muscle tissues down.
You actually build them outside the gym.
To do that, however, you need enough fuel.
With proper protein intake, amino acids come to the rescue of your damaged muscle, repairing those tissues so they grow back even stronger.”
– Bodybuilding.com, Women And Protein
How Much Protein Do We Really Need?
Despite the fact that I believe this is the wrong kind of question to be asked, since every single person is a different individual, with different kind of metabolism and needs, we can all agree on one thing:
Active people need more protein than normal people!
And that’s a fact!
Now, if you search for the studies, you’ll see they all agree on one thing:
Athletes, that diet and exercise daily, need around 0.8 – 1 grams of proteins, per pound of body weight.
So let’s say you weigh 130 pounds – that’s 60 kg, you’ll need around 120 grams of proteins a day.
This is just a good way to make sure you are getting enough, but this pops up the next question:
Is The Food We Eat Enough To Satisfy Our Protein Needs?
Unfortunately, in most cases – no.
Athletes cannot always eat as much protein as they need.
Let’s imagine a daily diet like this:
- Breakfast: yogurt, eggs, and bacon – about 20g protein
- Lunch: 4 oz chicken, beef, or fish, salad or 8 oz lentils – about 30g protein
- Snacks: handful of peanuts – around 5g protein
- Dinner – 6 oz chicken, beef, or fish, sweet potato – about 35g protein
Now let’s do the math:
That’s around 90 grams of protein per day, and we actually need around 30% more than that.
And believe it or not, 30% less proteins may be the reason why we cannot achieve our maximum.
That’s why athletes around the world are hyped on protein shakes.
So, up next, I’m listing a few reasons why it’s really helpful to use protein shakes and I’m giving you all the types of proteins out there, together with a list of (by me) the best protein powders for women.
Let’s head on right away!
Reasons To Use Protein Shake
There are many reasons why a protein shake will not only spice up your diet, but it will improve your health and give you better results in the gym.
We already know that proteins build muscles, promote weight loss and help you achieve your full potential, but let’s see why of all of the proteins out there you should go for the protein shakes.
- They’re digested faster than solid foods, so your muscles will get the protein needed faster;
- They contain all the essential amino acids for muscle development and weight loss, so even if you don’t get them from the food you eat, you’ll get everything your muscles need in a single shake;
- They’re a quick fix up if you don’t have the time to eat a meal right after your workout – and don’t get me started on how bad it is to keep those hungry muscles waiting;
- You can easily load up with proteins without getting the extra calories – that’s a great one when it comes to weight loss.
- They’re a great way to reduce hunger the healthy way – if you already had your meal, but you still feel hungry, this is the best way to feel full.
So, you don’t have to drink protein shakes to get fit, but they can surely help you along the way to achieving your goal.
How To Choose – Types Of Proteins
To be able to decide which protein to use, you must learn the differences in all of them.
So because of that, I decided to break down for you my favorite types of protein, together with the best options you can find on the market.
Also, by me, there’s not such thing as a best protein powders for women, since I believe what’s best for men is also best for us girls.
Although there’re few targeted as protein powders for women, so I’m mentioning them as well :)
Let’s get started.
Whey concentrate is one of the most basic forms of protein, all beginners go to.
Also girls, if you are looking for an inexpensive protein source this is the way to go.
Whey concentrate is a great starting point for beginners and those looking to add protein to their diet without making your wallet lighter.
It is a slow digesting protein, so some of you may find it hard to digest it and will end up feeling a little gassy and bloated.
Whey concentrate can be used both pre and post workout or as a snack in between meals.
Here’re my favorite protein concentrates on the market:
Isolates are one of the quickest absorbing proteins.
This means that if you want to build lean muscle mass and tone your body, this is the way to go.
It’s a bit more expensive version, but that’s what you get for a fast digesting protein.
Isolates are absorbed quickly and can supply the muscle the nutrients needed to help recover and grow, and that’s what makes them perfect for fast post workout fuel up.
They’re low carb and are very low in any carbs or sugars, that’s why isolates are my favorite.
Here are the isolates I’ve tried, and my personal faves :)
Blends are one of my personal favorites.
They are actually a blend of protein concentrate and protein isolate.
They’re a great option if you’re a beginner with protein shakes.
I personally started with these few, so here they are:
Now, if you’re looking for a protein that you can use as a meal replacement, or better yet right before you go to bed, casein protein is the way to go.
Casein will slowly breakdown over the course of several hours about 5-7 hours to fully breakdown which keeps your body absorbing and utilizing the nutrients even while you sleep.
Many people are using casein during the day too, it helps you stay full and to keep a constant supply of protein for the whole day.
Soy protein is by me, the best way to fuel up with if you’re a vegan.
Bodybuilders are marking it down, since it has lots of estrogen, but I say it’s the best non animal protein since it contains all the essential amino acids, it’s loaded with glutamine, arginine and BCAA’s.
Soy is a complete protein, and can be used both pre and post workout or anytime throughout the day if needed to get in a meal/snack containing protein, however it’s not preferred to use at night.
Here are the ones I’ve tried:
Milk Protein Isolate
Milk protein isolates contain both casein and whey proteins.
This type of protein is mostly used in a blended protein source where multiple types of protein are used.
Here’re a few I’ve tried:
This is the most expensive source of protein you will find on the markets these days.
But, it’s the highest quality of protein available too.
Hydrolysate proteins are the highest absorption proteins available, they’re digested fast and much better compared to the other above.
This protein can be used both pre and post workout.
This is a protein made out of egg whites.
Egg whites are a great source of protein, egg albumin, with a great profile of amino acids.
Egg albumin is not commonly bought in the powder form, but in a carton or container, although there are some powders
Egg whites source of protein can be used anytime throughout the day, but it’s recommended for daily intake – not late at night.
Although “Naked Egg” is my personal fave, it’s a bit pricey so here are the other I’ve tried:
How Much Protein Is Too Much Protein?
Can we actually overdose with protein?
It’s hard to tell how much protein is too much.
Experts in nutrition will say that our body cannot absorb more than 50 grams of protein per meal.
While I don’t believe this is completely true, at least not in all cases, there are a few things we should really be careful.
Overdosing isn’t the right word, since you really cannot overdose from protein, but if you notice changes in your body on the wrong way, and you so every single thing right, then you can consider eating too much protein as an option.
Protein “overdosing” is linked to a few side effects:
- Weight gain – some will say that if your body doesn’t absorb the protein it will be stored as fat;
- You might hurt your kidneys – but only in some cases with people that have problems with the kidneys, otherwise you cannot damage them with protein;
- Can cause indigestion and nausea – your body will have a hard time digesting all of that protein.
- Increased thirstiness – proteins are packed with nitrogen so to flush out all that extra nitrogen the body uses fluids and water.
However, these are cases where people intake more than double the amount of the recommended dose of protein, so you’re probably safe without even counting your proteins.
Girls, Pick Out Your Fave And Spice Up Your Body
Don’t be afraid of proteins, they can only help you build better body and achieve your full potential.
Pick out your favorite one and start right away!
And, if you like my Fit Girl’s Guide To Protein Shakes + A List Of The Best Protein Powders For Women, don’t forget to share it with your friends!