Over the last decade, we’ve witnessed something terrific happen- more and more girls are taking up space in the fitness industry.
From trainers, to gym-goers, to overall fitness enthusiasts, the number of girls who have stepped up and started working on themselves has skyrocketed!
Yet the entire industry still remains heavily male-focused. With products, knowledge, and gym advice targeted mostly to men, we thought it’s about time someone starts addressing women and their specific needs when it comes to health and fitness.
One of the most important topics to discuss is nutrition for the simple reason that you can't out-train a bad diet.
We see lots of women complaining about not seeing results, hitting plateaus, and not being satisfied with the work they’re putting in which often leaves them feeling discouraged and wanting to give up.
I mean I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard girls say “oh my body just doesn’t work like that” or “I don’t get it, I’ve done everything.. I guess this is just how I’m built”
Well, I’m here to tell you the hard truth that you honestly NEED to hear.
But you are not special babes. Your body doesn’t have its own set of rules.
Sure, your DNA, genetics, body composition, and lifestyle is specific to you and you only, but when it comes to the human body… we’re all the same. So if something’s not working out for you, there must be SOMETHING that’s wrong.
And that something is often nutrition.
A lot of people start their fitness journey thinking that if they just go to the gym, that their lives will change and they’ll finally flourish into who they’ve always wanted to be. But we’re here to tell you that the gym is only the tip of the iceberg.
Think of what your goals are. Are you trying to build muscle? Are you looking to lose some weight? Or are you just trying to improve your looks?
Well none of those things will happen if you don’t watch what you eat.
Now we’re not saying that you need to follow this crazy restrictive diet that’s going to leave you miserable, no.
But the least you can do in the kitchen is make sure you get in enough protein, sis.
Protein is the ruler of all macronutrients. (macronutrients are the nutrients your body uses the largest amounts of i.e. carbs, fats, and proteins.)
We say this because protein is not only one of the best sources of fuel for your body, but it also is what makes up your body!
From your muscles, to your bones, skin, hair, organs, hormones, and neurotransmitters, protein does it all. Protein makes up your physical body parts while also acting as a communication means within your body. They make up the enzymes that power chemical reactions so your brain can communicate to certain areas as well as your red blood cells that help transport oxygen in your blood!
It’s safe to say that protein will be your best friend through your fitness journey.
Now, when it comes to reaching your fitness and nutrition goals, there is a certain amount of protein you’re going want to be adding to your meals. And this goes whether you’re building muscle, losing body fat, or simply just improving your overall physique.
How much protein should you really be having and why?
When it comes to changing your body, you want to make sure you’re giving it the right fuel so it can continue to function optimally. If your goal is to build muscle, you’re asking your body to produce more of something. This would naturally require you to give it what it needs in order for it to do what you want it to do. On the flip side, if your goal is lose weight (lose fat), you’re not going to get real results by starving yourself. The goal is then to work on what you’re eating and how much you’re eating and then adjusting that until your body doesn’t feel the need to store fat and instead uses fat as energy. Once again, protein plays a key role in this too.
For building muscle (weight gain)
When it comes to building muscle, you first need to understand how muscle is built so that you can then use this knowledge to better understand what you need to do in order to reach your goals.
And it all starts while you workout.
Every time you contract and release a muscle during exercise, you create hundreds of tiny little tears in the muscle tissue of that target area. Your body then goes in and fixes those tears, making you stronger and more resistant to that weight, number of repetitions, or type of exercise. And what does your body repair those tears with? That’s right, protein.
Now, in order to make your muscles grow (AKA build muscle AKA gainzzzz), you need to give it more protein than is broken down. This is about 1g-1.2g of protein per pound of body weight.
So, say person A weighs 140lbs and they want to put on some muscle mass. Ideally, they would want to eat between 140 and 168 grams of protein each day. This will give them the amount of protein necessary for their body to synthesize more protein than it breaks down.
For weight loss or maintenance
Now if your goal is to lose weight or even just maintain your current weight, you’re naturally going to require less protein than if you were trying to build muscle!
See, when you eat more than what you use, your body stores all those excess calories for future use.
This is how fat builds up on your body.
And in order to combat weight gain (i.e. getting “fat”), all you have to do is control how much you eat, plain and simple.
But does this mean you have to go hungry? No. This is where protein comes in.
Out of the three macronutrients (carbs, fats, and proteins), protein takes the most energy for your body to breakdown. A gram of protein also contains less calories than a gram of fat (4 calories vs. 9 calories). This makes it so that increasing your protein intake while lowering your fat intake helps keep you feeling fuller for longer and with fewer calories.
The ideal range for protein intake with the goal of weight loss or maintenance is between 0.8 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight (0.8-1g/lb).
Note- if your starting weight is over 30% body fat, base these measurements off your goal weight and not your current weight as per the calculations.
So just to help us situate, person B is weighing in at 170lbs with 25% body fat, with the goal of losing weight. Person B should then be ingesting between 136 and 170 grams of protein per day in order to lose body fat.
Notice how person B is consuming more protein than person A even though person B is trying to lose weight while person A is trying to gain weight. This is a perfect example of how everyone’s journey is specific to them and only them. Something that works for you, may not work for them, and vice-versa.
All this being said, not all protein sources are the same! Some protein sources are higher in fat, while others are considered lean. Most are sourced from animals or animal products, while others are plant-based and vegan. Different sources of protein also contain different amino acid profiles! So when it comes to choosing your protein, here are some of our favorites:
Chicken breast is an excellent source of lean protein. They’re super easy to make into your favorite dish and honestly, who doesn’t love chicken!
With less fat and calories and a higher ratio of protein per serving, you can easily get in about 35g of protein per 4 ounces of chicken breast.
Beef is another good option for protein, however the fat content does vary from cut to cut. Most beef products contain about 7g of protein per ounce of meat.
Tofu is an excellent vegan alternative for chicken, beef, and eggs. While tofu doesn’t have much taste by itself, it is super versatile and can easily be added to any dish as it will soak up the flavors of whatever it is you’re cooking.
Typically, tofu products contain anywhere between 12g and 20g of protein per 3.5 ounce servings.
If you’re a seafood lover like me, then you’re in for a treat! Salmon, while it is on the fattier side, is a great source of protein and essential omega 3s. A 4 ounce serving of salmon contains about 18g to 20g of protein.
Eggs are the ultimate breakfast food and for good reason too. Versatile, delicious, and easy to make, each egg contains 6g of protein. And if you want to cut back on fats, you can simply resort to using egg whites instead!
Ground turkey is another excellent lean protein source. And while the taste is similar to that of chicken, the protein content is actually higher with 34g of protein per 4 ounce serving.
Perfect for a morning yogurt or as a midday snack, greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein and carbs with 8g to 12g of protein per cup of yogurt!
Make yourself a bowl, mix it into your smoothies, or have it as a side, greek yogurt is not only versatile but delicious too! And the possibilities are endless!
Compared to salmon, tilapia, and other “white” fish are a low-fat alternative to our beloved salmon filets.
With 45 grams of protein per 6 ounce serving, this protein source is undeniably delicious and packed with protein.
9.Beans and lentils
Beans and lentils are a must if you’re following a plant based diet. Not only are they packed with protein, but they’re also an excellent source of fiber and complex carbs!
Each cup of cooked beans contains 15 grams of protein while lentils contain 18 grams of protein per cup.
For those of us who find it hard to eat enough protein, protein powder is an excellent way to increase your protein intake without any added carbs or fats.
When it comes to protein powders, you’re faced with two options: whey protein and plant protein. Whey protein is what most people are familiar with. However, this type of protein is derived from dairy and often causes uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating due to it’s lactose content.
Plant protein on the other hand, has had a bad rep for many years due to having lower protein content and a gritty, sandy texture.
However, ONESOL™ Supplements has an excellent plant protein option that will make you rethink everything you think you know about plant protein.
With 21g of protein, 24 vitamins and minerals, and 1000mg of Sunflower BCAAs per serving, ONESOL™ Supplements has created what we truly believe is the best option for protein powders. Creamy, tasty, and only 100 calories per scoop, ONESOL™ Protein powder contains a full amino acid profile and is easy to digest, so you don’t ever have to worry about bloating again!