Keep reading to get some of your burning questions about protein answered!
HOW MUCH PROTEIN SHOULD I EAT PER DAY?
A sweeping, general recommendation for all active women is 100 g of protein per day.
If you’ve never paid attention to protein consumption or have just started tracking, 100 g is a great baseline to meet every day, but understand that to maximize athletic performance and body composition change, you’ll need more.
Eating .8-1.1 g protein per pound body weight leads to lean muscle gain and maintenance when combined with effective strength training activity. However, if you’re are actively trying to gain muscle, shoot for 1.0-1.1 g protein per pound body weight.
EXAMPLE @ 145 lb body weight, 0.8-1.1 g protein per pound is 116-160 grams of protein per day.
If you’re an active woman and wondering where in that protein range of 0.8-1.1 g per pound body weight you should set your target, understand that there are several factors that influence protein needs, including but not limited to:
>> age – we lose muscle mass we get older, so aim for the middle or higher on the range to counteract changes that come with aging for a better body composition, metabolic and hormonal profile.
>> dietary preference – if you prefer a vegan or vegetarian pattern, you might find aiming lower on the range to be more sustainable for you as your protein sources will contain more carbs from beans, peas, and whole grains.
>> goals – if you’re trying to maximize lean muscle gain to match a challenging strength cycle or exercise routine, you gotta aim higher on the range.
This is one of those cases where good enough is good enough. If you’re out here trying to live your best life, hitting anywhere in that range is going to be just fine and there’s no reason to stress about exact macro targets for protein.
HOW MUCH PROTEIN SHOULD I EAT PER MEAL?
Did you know that each time you eat a protein-rich meal, you trigger muscle building? So, it’s in your best interest to space protein throughout your day as a part of all your meals and snacks to maximize efforts to build and maintain lean muscle.
In addition, protein is a slow digesting macronutrient and leads to fullness after eating, so emphasizing protein at each meal ensures you’re satisfied between meals.
To meet daily protein needs, most active women need to eat about 20-35 grams of protein per meal or snack assuming 4-6 meal per day framework.
SIGNS YOU MIGHT NOT BE GETTING ENOUGH PROTEIN
>> loss of lean muscle over time as indicated by a body composition scan
>> lack of muscle tone despite engaging in challenging strength based activities
>> inability to progressively overload as planned in training i.e. unable to increase weights, reps, sets or otherwise overload over time
>> feeling hungry shortly after eating
>> slow hair growth or brittle nails
>> injury prone
>> slow recovery from workouts, unable to stick to training schedule due to fatigue or soreness
If after reading this you’re still thinking, “but how much protein do I need, specifically?” I gotchu!
My free downloadable DIY Macros Guide would be a great place to start to help you figure out what ALL your macro targets should be – including protein.
And of course, if you want me and my macro expert team of dietitians to do the math for you, the Personalized Macro Calculation service is exactly what you need.