Should women use protein shakes? Do protein shakes give women big muscles? Are they safe for women to use? Read on and find out!
It’s estimated that by the end of 2017, the world will be spending around £8 billion on protein supplements – whether they be drinks, bars, brownies or other sports nutrition products. And while it’s true that protein is needed to build muscle, and a lot of guys use protein shakes to get big, many women worry unnecessarily that taking extra protein will make them look bulky and manly. And that simply isn’t true. The reality is that if you are exercising regularly in the gym, your body needs protein to get strong, recover from stress and avoid injury – and that’s true regardless of your size, gender or workout goals.
Protein in and of itself will not give you big muscles. Working hard in the gym lifting very heavy weights will – taking in extra protein just helps along the way. Being a man also helps, because the male hormone testosterone assists with muscle growth, and women only have a small amount in their bodies.
So girls, if you are concerned that protein shakes will make you look muscular and masculine, you really have nothing to worry about! Here are three fantastic benefits of using protein shakes:
1. It speeds up your recovery
If you regularly feel sore and tired after hitting the gym, you may need to up your protein intake. As you exercise, your muscle fibers tear on a microscopic level, and protein is needed to repair them. This is how your muscles grow and get stronger. Drinking a protein shake after exercise can help speed up the time this takes, allowing you to workout harder, more often and for longer periods. This is true no matter what kind of workout you are doing – from weightlifting to running.
2. It can suppress your appetite
There is some evidence that high-protein foods can help you feel fuller for longer, which in turn reduces your urge to snack and over-eat. Drinking a protein shake is ideal if you have a busy lifestyle and you don’t always have the time to prepare a high protein meal or snack. Some supplement companies even produce special low-carb weight-loss shakes and meal-replacement shakes.
3. It helps you lose weight without losing muscle
If your goal is to lose weight, it needs to be done in a safe, healthy and controlled manner. One of the dangers of losing weight too quickly is that you will lose muscle mass as well as fat. Taking in enough protein and doing fat-burning exercises will help you to lose fat whilst retaining your strength and muscle mass, giving you a lean, toned physique.
Can I use ‘normal’ protein shakes, or do I need to buy special women’s ones?
The main ingredient in most protein shakes in whey protein, which is a natural protein derived from milk. They usually contain some flavouring & sugar or sweeteners, and are prepared with milk. There really isn’t anything male-specific in there, so it’s fine to just buy the same kind used by men. That said, there are companies that make female-focused protein products that come in more feminine packaging and more appropriate portion sizes for women. Simply pick which ever kind you prefer!