Every now and again, when I say the word ‘protein’ to clients, their eyes widen and they edge away from my desk. I think they’re scared that I’m going to try and enter them in to a body building contest. Especially for women, increasing protein can be a terrifying concept.
Why Protein is Important
The truth is that protein does so much more than just building muscle tissue. In fact, proteins are just chains of little building blocks called amino acids, and out of the 22 amino acids, it’s only three of them that make up most of our muscle tissue. So what do the rest of them do?
Without adequate protein, your body can’t manufacture the hormones that regulate good mood; it can’t build healthy, glowing skin; it can’t detoxify the liver effectively. Simply put: without protein, your body starts to fall in to disrepair. Proteins are the building blocks of a healthy body.
Proteins are also essential because they counteract the glycaemic effect of excess carbohydrates by slowing their release in to the blood. This means that protein can actually help you lose weight, not just bulk up. It’s a complicated process, but the easiest way is to explain it like this:
- Higher protein + higher carbohydrate + heavy lifting = muscle growth
- Higher protein + low-to-medium carbohydrate + body-weight resistance exercise/cardio = tone, fat loss, and overall vitality.
And ladies, with a lower testosterone level than men, you don’t have to worry about bulking up like a pro athlete. It would take a lot more heavy lifting to get you there than it would for a man; your hormones simply aren’t designed to create that kind of body shape easily.
It’s time to do away with the ‘protein = bulging biceps’ concept and remember that it is in fact an essential macro-nutrient that contributes to overall wellness, and one that can also be harnessed to achieve our fitness goals – whatever they are!