The Dietary Reference Intake for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. For the average woman, this number translates to around 50 grams per day. However, this is for the sedentary women that get little physical activity, probably because their jobs involve them sitting or standing in one place for eight hours per day. The protein requirement of physically active women will be higher. You can get that protein from food, but if you are not a big eater, you may struggle with this. Luckily, you can hit your higher protein requirement if you supplement with protein powder for women.
Muscle Damage and Repair
The higher protein intake is necessary for women who regularly engage in physical activity. These activities can include weight training such as bodybuilding, powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, and even Crossfit. They also include athletic activities such as basketball, volleyball, badminton, martial arts, track and field events, etc. When you engage in such activities, your skeletal muscles experience damages or tears. Do not let the term “tear” scare you. These tears are microscopic and will not put you in a cast.
There are slightly bad and incredibly good parts to this story. The slightly bad part is that scientists and professionals in exercise science believe that these microtears are why you get muscle soreness that you can get 24 to 48 hours after the activity. The incredibly good part? Your muscles can heal themselves efficiently. When they repair, they do so by making the muscles bigger and stronger so they can prevent the same microtears from the same activity from happening again. This recovery allows weightlifters to grow their muscles and lift more weights. It also allows athletes to perform better. Athletes take advantage of this microtear-recovery cycle so they can keep getting better. After the muscles recover, they reintroduce a stronger stimulus such as more weight or more intense training. The muscles get more microtears and do more repairs to make themselves bigger and stronger.
Why You Need More Protein Than the Average Woman
The muscles can only do these repairs perfectly if they have the right raw materials, and these materials come from protein. For an athlete or a physically active woman, the 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight will not cut it. If you are among the women who go beast mode in your training sessions and competitions, your protein requirement shoots up to between 1.2 to 2.0 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.
All health and nutrition experts believe that you should get the majority of your protein from whole foods like fresh meat and eggs. If you wish to follow a plant-based diet, you can get your protein from legumes like beans and lentils. Not only do you need the higher protein, but you also need higher calories. You have to eat more. A foodie would relish in this idea, but someone with a small appetite or stomach capacity may find this daunting. This situation is where a protein powder for women can help. How do you consume it? You can throw in your protein powder in your smoothies, oats, and even in baking. The protein powder will barely affect the volume of what you eat, so you do not worry about stuffing your face to get your protein and calorie needs.
Whatever your sport may be, a performing woman will have different nutritional needs than the average Jane. If you struggle to get these needs from whole foods, supplementation is a viable option.
Pearl M. Kasirye is a writer at Plant Sumo, editor, and researcher who spends most of her time reading. When she isn’t reading or working, she can be found sitting on her balcony writing her own novels or traveling.