‘Won’t Protein Make Me Manly?’
Ah yes, the question commonly asked whenever the topic of ‘protein’ comes up ..
For those of you on a January health kick and are thinking about buying protein because it seems like the logical next step to take, STOP AND READ THIS FIRST!
And for those of you who are simply terrified of the idea of protein anyway, well you might want to carry on reading also..
I’m here to educate and remove the stigma of the topic surrounding protein- i’m going right back to basics here so feel free to ask me anything you’d like answered further too 🙂
I often get approached by women who just aren’t seeing the results they want. They spend hours in the gym whether it be doing cardio or strength based exercises yet are unhappy with their progress. Nine times out of ten it comes down to their nutrition and a lack of education surrounding this topic mainly due to what they’ve read/seen on the internet
There seems to be a stigma and fear relating to post workout protein, that it makes you ‘bulky’ and ‘manly’. This may be due to a lack of understanding about how important protein really is and what it does..
Protein is absolutely crucial in our bodies, not just to repair and rebuild broken down muscle but it participates in practically every living function our body performs.
The reason we associate protein with bodybuilding is because the people participating in this sport do consume more than those who are less active because they NEED it..
In times of extreme sports your body’s demands for protein increases because your muscles are under more strain than someone who doesn’t exercise. Your muscles are breaking down and rebuilding at a rapid rate in comparison to a static individual as it’s very adaptive.
For example; someone weightlifting or training for a marathon will be using their muscles far more than someone who take lights walks or doesn’t exercise at all.
It is however, the most specific of all the macronutrients as you consume- specific to you, your body weight and your activity levels
So how much do you need?
Different studies argue different amounts but a general rule to go by is;
0.75-1.5g of Protein per Pound of bodyweight
This range has shown to be most superior in both recovery, repair and bodybuilding
Like I said, this is totally personalised and you may choose the lower or higher end of this range dependent upon your activity level.
Let’s get a little technical..
During your workout, whether it be cardio or strength focused, you’re breaking down muscle tissue via a process known as catabolism to supply you with energy. Now, remember the notion ‘skinny fat’… well lets explain just how it happens. Some women spend hours breaking down muscle, leave the gym, don’t refuel properly and therefore end up in a state where they have in fact LOST muscle mass and kept their fat mass the same because it’s actually easier for our bodies to resort to muscle break down over fat. Our bodies enter a state of gluconeogenesis (muscle breakdown) before ketosis (fat breakdown) and, especially in women, this is due to our in built survival instinct to conserve fat for pregnancy and times of starvation as it is so energy dense.
Why people drink protein shakes…
The most commonly consumed protein you may see people taking after a workout is known as whey protein. This form is most rapidly absorbed by the body and transported to your muscles to repair and help re-build mass that has been broken down during your workout. A standard serving will supply you with approximately 20g of protein, an amount which will in no way make you ‘bulky’.
Think of it in terms of chicken, an average chicken breast supplies you with 25-30g protein, a tin of tuna is 30g protein.
So what exactly is the difference here and why do people drink protein?
A post workout protein shake will supply you with essential amino acids (mini building blocks) that your body cannot produce by itself. It will kick start your muscle repair and recovery. But most importantly, it will take you out of that catabolic state rapidly- It’s simply a convenient way of getting some essential amino acids straight to your muscles without physically eating anything.
Alternatively you could quite literally just eat a chicken breast!
So whats the point of protein I hear you ask?
You can throw a scoop into a shaker /blender and consume as you finish your workout, you can combine it to make a delicious smoothie, you also may have noticed its a fab thing to use in baking!
As you’ll have already come across in many of my recipes 😉
It replaces ingredients which essentially change the nutritional profile of the meal into a much more nutrient dense one (and you can get some pretty amazing flavours out there too!)
So ladies and gents, do not be afraid of protein! With the correct post-workout nutrition you’ll actually start to see that your muscles appear more defined and you’ll feel more ‘toned’. You’ll recover much more efficently and find that you can actually workout more. You will become more efficient at breaking down fat and you’ll start to feel stronger and fitter.
With the right amount of protein for YOU, I guarantee you’ll find yourself feeling healthier, less fatigued and may even notice that your hair feels much thicker and grows faster.
Do you need it? absolutely not
Could you benefit from taking it? Absolutely
(especially if you find it hard to get enough that you require via the means of food only)
Will you get manly and bulky? Absolutely not
And ladies don’t forget, one of the main hormones needed to build muscle to appear ‘bulky’ (Testosterone) are actually produced in the testicles so we simply don’t have the the means by which to produce it at a large level to cause such an effect.
I will be following this up with a post about different sources of protein especially for those who are vegan and vegetarian
I hope you found this useful- please do let me know what your thoughts are too 🙂
Lots of love,