How much protein do girls need?
Girls, you eat right, but do you have enough protein to achieve fitness goals? That's what the latest research recommends!
Author: Bill Campbell, Ph.D., a certified specialist in power and functional training, a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
From hormones and enzymes to muscles and the immune system, each cell of the body contains protein molecules. That's why it's so important to get enough protein with food! The recommended daily protein norm is 0,8 grams per kilogram of body weight, but if you regularly go to the gym, you can throw these recommendations out the window.
Your body needs more protein to support, restore and build muscle. The problem is that the phrase "more protein" does not have enough specifics. For a long time, active women had to wonder how much protein they needed to create and maintain a strong and slender body.
But the days of fortune telling on the coffee grounds are numbered! Together with my team from the Physical Development Laboratory at the University of South Florida, I conducted a study and studied how different amounts of protein in the diet affect the composition of the body of women engaged in power training. I propose a short report with recommendations on how to implement this in practice!
Two groups of women adhered to the training plan – a strength training program with periodization, to be precise – for 8 weeks. The program consisted of two training sessions for the upper and the two for the lower body in a week. One group adhered to a high protein diet, the second – a diet low in protein.
Girls from the high protein group received 2,45 g of protein per 1 kg of body weight per day, including 25 gram of whey protein Dymatize ISO-100 before and after each training session. The low-protein group received the following instructions: 1,2 gr protein per 1 kg body weight per day, including 5 gram of whey protein Dymatize ISO-100 before and immediately after training.
All participants received clear instructions regarding protein, but there were no restrictions on carbohydrates and fats. By the end of the study, girls who adhered to a high-protein diet gained significantly more dry weight (2,1 kg) compared to participants in the low-protein group (0,67 kg). Girls from the first group also managed to remove more fat, but the differences did not reach the threshold of statistical certainty.
Perhaps the results of the study are stunning, but they prove what you probably already knew. If women, especially those who train intensively, adhere to a high protein diet, they build more muscles than girls on a low-protein diet.
But what surprises: representatives of the high protein group on average received 423 extra calories from the protein every day! One would assume that anyone who eats every day 400-500 extra calories during 8 weeks, eventually grows fat, but no, it did not happen.
Girls from a high-protein group eventually lost more fat tissue than their competitors on a low-protein diet, although they consumed more calories! If in figures, the high protein group, getting more calories due to the protein, said goodbye to 1,08 kg of fat mass. Compare with 0,76 kg in the second group.
My research was the first, in which only trained girls participated. However, comparable results were previously obtained in experiments in which only men or women and men participated. Scientists of the Southeast University showed that 500-750 extra calories per day from the protein – in their case it was MusclePharm Combat Powder – in combination with the strength training program does not lead to a set of fat mass. However, in contrast to our study, the participants did not have noticeable changes in dry weight or in the percentage of body fat.
In the light of our experiment, in which only girls participated, it can be assumed that women are more sensitive to increasing the daily protein norm by increasing the dry weight of the body than men. However, all this is only a theory so far, and more experiments are needed before we can say anything with certainty.
You probably heard the phrase a hundred times: "Do not worry about what you see on the scales." Now you have every reason to accept this advice! If we measured only weight in the experiment, it would appear that the participants scored about 1 kg. Do not explain once again how this could become a shock.
But as good scientists, we evaluated not only the mass, but also the composition of the tissues. It turned out that the high protein group increased more muscle and burned more fat than a low-protein group – a result that you will not get, only looking at the scales.
Instead of focusing on one figure, watch for changes in the percentage of fat and muscle tissue. If you notice that the weight has slightly increased, and the percentage of fat has decreased, you are on the right track!
I also recommend taking photographs that record your progress, pay attention to how the clothes are sitting, and assess the level of physical performance in the gym. Positive shifts in every aspect confirm that your diet and exercise program really work!
If your goal is to gain a dry mass and get rid of excess fat, the advantages of a high-protein diet in combination with strength training are beyond doubt. I and my team from the University of South Florida recommend that women receive approximately 2,25 a gram of high-grade protein per 1 kg of body weight daily to improve body composition and optimize recovery after training. So, put aside the salad fork or at least add a little chicken to the salad!
Prompt, on 1 kg of body weight you mean "dry weight of the body" or the total weight?