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The Protein Problem: Why Women Have A Hard Time Getting Enough Protein, and How To Fix It

blog muscle science for women Dec 21, 2021

In our experience as coaches, one of the biggest nutritional challenges for women is getting enough quality protein to support muscle growth. There are many reasons for this that we dive into deeply in our Muscle Science For Women course, but we can briefly outline a few common ones here:

1. You want to build muscle and lose fat at the same time

We won’t get into this topic too deeply here, as it’s a relatively complex subject, but the biggest issue we see is women who want to “get toned” or build muscle but are still prioritizing fat loss by chronically restricting calories. Often, this restriction will come at the expense of nutrient-dense protein. 

Not saying you have to eat in a huge caloric surplus to build muscle. But as women, with our unique physiological and hormonal makeup, it’s unrealistic to assume that you can eat less food than your body requires and still build new muscle tissue if you work hard enough in the gym. It just won’t happen. 

Shanna struggled with this exact issue before joining MSW (she talks about it at the end of this post..keep reading!)

2. You’re eating sub-optimal protein sources

Women are often the recipients of heavy marketing around the benefits of plant-based protein sources. While we aren’t here to villainize plant foods, it’s a well-researched fact that animal protein is a far superior source of essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals than plant sources. 

There are a myriad of reasons which we get into in more depth in the course, but the key takeaway here is that if you are not eating enough animal protein (this includes fish, seafood, eggs, red meat, poultry, and even animal-based protein powders), you are likely not getting enough essential amino acids required for optimizing muscle growth. 

And what comes with optimizing muscle growth?? You guessed it – that toned, lean physique you’re after!

3. You’re filling up on carbs and fat and don’t have room for protein

We’ve been told for decades that red meat, animal protein, and fat from meat is unhealthy, artery-clogging, and should be minimized as much as possible. 

We’re also told by the media to eat “diet” or “light” foods that may be lower in calories but are highly processed and often so devoid of nutrients, that consumers end up eating more as their bodies desperately try to grasp any value from these “food-like” products. 

It’s no wonder that many women balk at the idea of eating a plate full of steak and veggies cooked in animal fat when they’re used to eating a light salad with a few chickpeas sprinkled on top. When you consider the propaganda that’s been aimed at us by special interest food groups and diet food companies, it makes sense that many women would see the former plate and think they would gain weight.

We believe that protein is by far the most important macro for muscle-building, and we can show you how to adjust your meals to get more of this satiating, nutrient-dense, and muscle-promoting protein into your diet.

Want to dive deeper into the importance of optimizing protein intake, timing, and distribution across your day to maximize muscle and strength gains? Check out the Muscle Science For Women program: A 12-week program on the theory & application of strength & muscle-building.

P.S. Click the video below to hear how Shanna went from eating 1300 calories to 1900 calories while completely transforming her body composition ⬇️

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