-Women are equal to men.
-Women are strong.
The last one I continually need to prove, almost on a daily basis. I often get the feeling that people assume women fall under one of two categories: weak, dainty little flowers with no voice; or feminist bitches who don't shut up (guess which one people assume I fit into?... actually, don't answer that.). Inevitably, when I teach my students about weight lifting or any sort of resistance training, nearly every single girl has "that" look on their face when looking back at me. It's as if I can read their minds.
|"Miss, why are you wearing a bikini to school?"|
Honey, you won't. (Unless you want to get "big" muscles- there are other means that you can- but not by simply lifting weights).
We are women. Strong, powerful, amazing women. We have these beautiful hormones called estrogen and progesterone in much higher quantities than we do testosterone (yes, women have this too!). We simply do not have the capacity to increase our muscle size by a ridiculous amount- what we do have is the ability to decrease body fat and increase LEAN muscle mass. Women get cray cray and only hear the word "mass", so freak out and run for the elliptical machine. You have the ability to increase your lean muscle mass and look toned, fit, and gorgeous- and you can do this through body weight training, interval training, going to your Pump class, lifting weights, plyometrics, pilates, even yoga.
A recent study from the Journal of Nutrition showed that- specifically women- who drank whey protein drinks (over a period of 23 weeks) had less body fat and a smaller waist than those who consumed soy protein or a carbohydrate supplement. In addition- strangely- those who included whey protein drinks in their eating plan DOUBLED their fat loss compared with those who ate the same amount of calories but didn't drink any shakes. Crazy, right?
Here's my bottom line: drinking protein shakes will NOT make you look like a man. Just as lifting heavy weights will NOT turn you into Arnold Schwarzenegger. While you are decreasing your overall body fat percentage through resistance training, you can complement your training by drinking a scoop of whey protein isolate mixed with water (my recommendation- has a higher yield of pure protein and a high concentration of Branch Chain Amino Acids- used to fuel working muscles and stimulate protein synthesis). It can decrease your recovery time in addition to providing a complete protein for your muscles, and can actually decrease your appetite. Don't we all want to look longer and leaner?
I've changed up a few things in my diet recently (about 3-4 weeks ago) that include incorporating a protein shake every day (mixed with water), either first thing in the morning with a piece of fruit, or directly after a workout. I began using GNC's Pro Performance Protein Whey Iso Burst- about 90% protein by weight-, and it actually mixes well and tastes good. This was shocking to me as it is low in fat, sugar, and lactose. It took some convincing from my husband to give it a try with just water and not a bunch of added stuff (like a pint of ice cream... shhhh). I don't know if it's psychological, but I have noticed that my super hard workouts have been easier to recover from- I went to a crazy hard workout this past Saturday and followed the workout with a shake, and I didn't experience the crazy delayed onset muscle soreness!
|"Chocolate Royale" flavour- yes, please.|
I suggest trying Pro Performance! I was very happy with it- the taste and the results- as I ventured out of using Vega protein (both are available at GNC Canada). I suggest adding a protein shake after your workout and as a snack replacement- even late at night when you get the sweet tooth craving.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to freak out my husband and make him take inappropriate photos of me flexing. Live Well Now, peeps!
What is your favourite source of protein?
What supplements do you include in your diet?