What’s the first image that comes to mind when you think of protein powder? A muscley, sweaty, pumped up man in a wifebeater slurping on a protein shake? Am I right? It’s time we rehab protein powder’s image.Getting enough protein could be one of the most powerful things you do for your body. Protein is not only key for achieving a great looking body, it’s also important for your health and longevity. Forget wrinkle creams – getting enough protein is way more effective!

One of the first things we usually do with new Personal Training clients at SMART Training is increase their protein intake. Why? Because we have found that the majority of women fall short of eating an optimal amount of protein and it makes such a big difference to their results when they increase it.Women can actually benefit more from protein powder than men do. Men who are involved in a general fitness program typically have enough protein in their diet, whereas many women fall short. Protein powder can help fill in the gaps. Experts believe that women who are active or trying to lose weight should consume between 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram body weight per day to keep their muscles strong and their metabolisms revved. For a 140-pound woman, that would be between 76 and 108 grams of protein per day.
When you’re strapped for time, eating on the run, or trying to cut down on your meat habit, getting that much protein can be challenging. That’s where protein powder comes in. Mixing it into a shake or smoothie can help you hit you protein goals wherever you go. Meanwhile, sprinkling some powder in your soup or putting some on top of your oats can also help make every meal and snack into high-protein one.


Am I Getting Enough Protein in My Diet?

The only way to really know if you get enough protein is to weigh and track your food for a few weeks using an app like MyFitnessPal. Don’t just assume you get enough because in our experience most women under eat protein and don’t realise it until they start tracking their food. If you eat four to five times a day, you’ll need to get at least 20g of protein per meal to get 30% of your calories from protein (assuming you eat around 1600 calories or more).


So Why Protein Powder?


If you track your protein and it turns out you are hitting your goal, without additional protein, then your sorted! If though, like many women we speak to, you are not getting enough protein, then you need to think about other ways of boosting your protein intake. Often the easiest way for women to boost their protein intake is the addition of a protein powder into their daily routine. The reality is most women don’t have time to prep four to five balanced meals everyday so protein powders offer a convenient, quick solution. Protein powder is low calorie and contain little if any grams of fat or carbohydrates, so all of their calories come from protein. Expect to put away just four calories per gram. That’s something not even your super-lean chicken breast can claim.





How Should I Add Protein Powder to My Diet?

One of the most common (and useful) ways to consume protein powder is to mix it into pre- and post-workout shakes and smoothies. For before training, protein powder in a shake can make for an easy-to-digest meal that won’t sit too heavy in the stomach. But you might want to keep the volume on the lower end since it might be hard to keep down during burpees. For post-workout, combining whey protein with some potassium-rich fruit like bananas or strawberries in your smoothie helps with recovery.

After a tough workout, we recommends consuming a mixture of carbs and protein—aim for at least 15 grams of protein. If you’re hungrier, no harm in eating more protein. It will help with managing your post-exercise appetite. While we don’t advocate using Protein powder as a Meal Replacement, if you are on the go and don’t have time for a full meal, mix the protein with milk or yogurt, you’ll get some additional protein there. Adding in some nuts, nut butters, flax, hemp, or chia seeds can add healthy fats to your shake to help keep you full for a full four to six hours, while mixing in some veggies and fruits (take it easy on the fruits or you could wind up OD-ing on sugar and calories), will help you hit your carbohydrate, vitamin, and mineral needs.


What Type of Protein Powder Do I need?

Before you get sucked into the whole whey/casein/soy/pea/rice/hemp debate, don’t. Whey, which comes from cow’s milk, has been shown to be more effective in stimulating muscle protein synthesis, it’s affordable, and in our opinion tastes the best. So we recommend whey protein unless the client is a vegan. If you’re vegan, soy is a great post-workout option since it’s rapidly digested, getting amino acids where they need to be ASAP. Unlike other plant sources like rice, hemp, and pea, soy contains all of the essential amino acids.

Whatever type of protein you choose, reading the back of the pouch is essential. We recommend searching for a protein powder that contains less than five grams of carbs and two grams of fat per serving. It should also list protein as the first ingredient. Avoid any tubs that list “added amino acids” among their ingredients. “These amino acids can be much cheaper than a whole protein, such as whey, and may not offer the same benefits. Other fillers to avoid include wheat grass, apple fiber, maltodextrin, or cellulose. They generally are used as inexpensive bulking agents and just take away from the protein you really want.


30-Day Kick Start Programmes

If you feel have a goal in mind and feel that you could use a the guidance or support of some of the best Personal Trainers in the country, we offer a 30 Day Kick Start programme in our Churchtown based gym. We offer both Personal Training and Group Training programmes. During the 30 days, you’ll learn what you need to know to continue on your own path following the 30 days, or you can always sign up for 1-on-1 Training or Semi Private Training or even Group Training at SMART Training to continue working with a personal trainer.