Do women need protein?

If you’ve been following this blog, then it’s likely that you’ve read that protein is crucial for an active woman’s diet! Why? Say it with me ladies: MUSCLES!!! In short, protein helps repair our muscles after workouts (especially the kick-butt boot camp workouts your body is going through if you’re a Bootique member!) so they can continue to strengthen themselves. Ultimately, protein sources bring us that much closer to achieving the lean, toned look that so many of us desire.

It’s easy to find protein in foods like chicken breast, lean beef, tuna, salmon, beans, eggs, yogurt, milk, nuts, seeds, and tofu. While we all would love to spend time cooking delicious, healthy meals each night it is not always realistic and/or convenient. If you find yourself coming up short on protein intake from dietary sources, the next best thing is taking advantage of quick and easy protein shakes and powders!

Benefits of protein powder for women

Convenience – Need I say more?

Energy BoostYou know those mornings when you never feel completely out of sleepy-zombie mode? Well, there is no better time to power down a protein shake! It’s the perfect way to fuel your body before heading to a 6:00 am boot camp. Immediately after a workout is another great time to indulge in protein shakes and powders, especially if you have a long commute from your boot camp, personal training session or other workout location- replenish your muscles and energy levels while on the way to a healthy dinner at home!

Specifically For WomenCompanies such as GNC and Vitamin World quickly caught on to the fact that male and female bodies operate similarly but not the same. They both have protein products made specifically for women’s bodies that are worth checking out. Protein Isolates are highly recommended for women because they tend to be lower in carbohydrates and fat and absorb quickly. It has also been suggested that soy protein products may reduce menopausal symptoms, however, research is limited.

VarietyThe flavors of protein shakes and powders alone were not always delicious. Luckily for us, the popularity of such products has risen rapidly in the last decade causing companies to expand the variety of flavors to meet individual needs. You can find anything from Strawberry Cheesecake to Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup. Kind of sounds like ice cream flavors, huh? Yet you don’t have to feel guilty drinking these!

Going off that last one… they’re yummy! 

What to keep in mind when choosing a protein powder for women

While protein shakes are easy to make (two minutes or less), they should not be considered meal replacements but rather meal supplements.

As with anything bottled or canned, pre-made protein drinks and shakes can contain unwanted excess calories and processed ingredients. Because protein shakes are not an actual “food,” they are not subject to the same FDA (Food and Drug Administration) health regulations as other foods.

The marketing and advertising surrounding shakes can be deceiving. Remember that the consumption of protein shakes alone will not shed pounds. It all comes down to how many total calories you consume and how many you burn each day. Remember that protein is great when consumed pre- or post-boot camp, personal training or other intense workout routine. Consume with caution if you think that drinking protein shakes will give you 12-pack abs like the ones on the bottle! 😉

Also remember that “too much of a good thing” is not always a good thing. While protein is certainly necessary, too much protein can have an adverse effect and increase your risk towards certain types of cancer, heart disease, and other health issues. 45-56 grams is the recommended daily intake for protein. If you are highly active, you may need to up your intake. Of course, it is best to talk to a nutritionist about how much you should be getting each day. This is a great topic for discussion at the nutritional counseling session, provided with Bootique boot camp membership.

When So Many Choices is TOO Many Choices!

For the simple-minded, having too many options can be overwhelming enough to shy away from trying a new product. Proteins come in many different forms including milk, whey, casein, egg, soy, and rice. Allergies and intolerances are no joke so be sure to steer clear of any products you are knowingly intolerant of. Whey and casein tend to be the most popular amongst athletes because they are “complete proteins” containing amino acids, which further assist in muscle recovery and fat loss and help build lean muscle.

The Bottom Line on protein for women:

Can protein shakes/powders help you to lose weight and get fit? Yes. Are they necessary for weigh loss? No.

As long as you are getting enough protein through your diet while limiting calories and exercising regularly, you will lose weight. If you decide to try these protein products, you should experiment until you find a flavor (or two… or seven) that you can enjoy. Consume shakes in the morning or before/after a rigorous workout. Finally, continue to keep up all the hard work! The best way to lose weight and become more fit is to continue challenging yourself!