There have been lots of questions about how protein affects muscle strength, especially in women. Researchers from McMaster University have put together data from 49 different high-quality studies to find out whether taking in more protein during weight training really does lead to increases in strength and in muscle. The answer they found: YES. Keep reading to find out just how much protein you really need (the answer might surprise you)…
The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that, while weight training alone increases muscle and overall strength, those who ramped up their protein intake definitely saw an extra boost. The subjects who took in more protein gained an extra 10% or so in strength and 25% in lean muscle mass compared to the control groups.
So how much protein should I be consuming?
The researchers found that we should actually be taking in about 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. That’s about 97 grams of protein for a 130-lb. woman. This number is much higher still than the protein intake called for by the current federal recommendations, which suggest about 46 grams a day for women and 56 for men. Anything over this 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight, however, didn’t make much of a difference.
“…with resistance training, most people need more protein,” doctoral student and study leader Rob Morton said, according to The New York Times, adding that this is especially true for middle-aged and elderly weight trainers who were shown to miss out on the most protein in the reviewed studies. The additional protein plays a crucial role in recovery. “When we lift weights, we stress the muscles and cause minute damage to muscle tissue, which then makes new proteins to heal [the muscles].”
The bottom line:
Increased protein = increased lean muscle mass = increased metabolism = burning calories long after your workout; so, start incorporating more protein into your diet to see even better results!
For more information about this study, please click here.