Though the image is slowly changing, it’s fair to say that the archetypal image associated with protein shakes is still the uncomfortably muscular male gym junkie in a string vest. It’s left many women grappling with questions like “Can women drink protein shakes?” which seems absurd — at best — in 2021.
The good news is that this image is beginning to change, even though it should have never existed in the first place. The truth is that many people can benefit from incorporating protein supplements into their diet; you don’t need to be a gym fanatic to use protein powder for women. Rather, they can be a useful tool for healthier eating, weight loss or muscle maintenance. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide around the benefits of protein powder for women. If you’ve been wondering about giving it a try in the past, or just weren’t sure where to start, then this is the guide for you. Here at Health Vitality, we’re passionate about bringing its benefits to a wider audience.
One of the main reasons that protein supplements first end up on women’s radars is due to their potential for use in weight loss. We lead busy lives in the modern world, and one of the benefits of protein powder supplements is that they can be incorporated into an existing diet to provide a lower calorie intake while still providing adequate nutrition. This is obviously appealing to anyone who has previously struggled to lose weight or maintain their existing physique. Protein supplements can act as an effective way to snack between meals, serve as meal replacements or simply provide a healthier eating option than might have otherwise been taken.
As part of a wider, balanced diet and healthy exercise program, protein powder or other protein supplements can be an excellent way to help manage weight. Just make sure you speak to a medical professional before you undertake any drastic changes to your eating or exercise habits.
One of the big concerns many women often express around using protein powder is the risk of “bulking up” too much. But in truth, it’s far less common than you might imagine. Turning yourself into a shredded, superhuman being — à la pro wrestlers or bodybuilders — emerges from a combination of the right genetics, an intense dedication to the gym and extreme dedication to the right eating habits. Coupled with this is the fact that as a general rule, women don’t generate as much testosterone as men, which makes building that kind of intense muscle bulk far more difficult.
So bulking up to unwanted levels isn’t something to worry about — but what does protein do for women? Essentially, it enables you to develop better muscle tone and recover better post-workout. This has the benefit of making you stronger and enabling more effective workouts, while also having benefits for your long-term health. As we age, our muscles begin to lose tone, and our bones can be at greater risk of losing density, particularly as women. This effect becomes particularly pronounced from the late 40s or 50s, particularly once menopause occurs.
However, strength-based exercises can help maintain muscle tone and bone density, even as we age. Having the right intake of protein can aid in being able to achieve your exercise goals, both now and into the future.
Protein supplements for women can be a great way to ensure that you’re getting all of the nutrients you require in your diet. Though the average Australian diet contains plenty of protein, there are always outliers; people who are fussy eaters, or those who are vegetarians or vegans, for example. If you’re just starting out on a plant-based diet, for example, it can be particularly challenging to determine the best ways to source adequate protein; supplements such as protein powders and bars can help take some of the stress out of the process. Additionally, once you do get the hang of things, that doesn’t mean you need to cut out using protein powder or supplements either; there are all sorts of fascinatingly delicious ways to incorporate them into your eating program.
Importantly, there are still protein supplements available even if you’ve got a dairy intolerance. Though whey-based products have long been the most prominent in the market, there are an increasing number of plant-based protein supplements available.
- Looking after your long-term health
So can women take protein powder? Absolutely! And no matter your core reason for utilising protein powder — weight maintenance, gaining muscle or improving your nutritional intake — it’s a great opportunity to learn more about the benefits of specific foods and look at new ways to ensure that you’re looking after yourself. Protein supplements are best incorporated into a wider healthy eating and exercise program, which will both help you develop healthier habits and help facilitate better long-term results.
Hand-in-hand with any of these purposes is learning better habits around eating, exercise, nutrition and looking at better ways to look after yourself. New, positive habits aren’t formed overnight, and incorporating protein powder into your routine can be an excellent stepping stone to better things for your whole self.