Protein intake in women 💪🏻 // Do cis-women need different protein intakes than cis-men?
The majority of sports science is largely done in cis-males. But there is some more data on cis-women emerging and a recent meta analysis set out to ask the question “what are the protein requirements of pre menopausal women”?
As we know, the RDA is 0.6-0.8g/kg/day. We get this argument a lot to rationalize lower intake. BUT this is to prevent nutrient deficiencies NOT optimize performance.
With current general guidelines for those participating in sport to be 1.2-2.0g/kg/day.
Also, ladies — if you intentionally engage in exercise of moderate to high volumes with the intention of progressing over time. You’re an “athlete”. Even if you don’t compete.
So are our protein needs any different!? Yes & no! (Isn’t it always that). First you’ll see too values here the ERA or estimated average requirement and RDA the recommend dietary allowance. This study used the ERA they gathered from other studies to calculate the RDA. More simply? Go with the RDA value 😉!
For endurance it looks like we fall within range 1.59-2.02g/kg/day and same for lifting with 1.85g/kg/day. This is pretty on par with data we have already!
When it comes to strength it appears lower intakes may not impact strength as much as it does muscle growth. And with endurance/all training we have to remember training status as well as total energy + carb intake are key. Women tend to under eat more frequently, leading to more protein breakdown/turnover or less carbs for spacing this.
When it comes to protein timing doses pre/post workout of ~0.37-0.38 g/kg appear to be beneficial but may be on the higher end. 0.31g/kg may be sufficient and again … other nutrients matter too!
Over all timing isn’t as important as total intake, but within ~1 hour of workouts is a good key for getting nutrients in. Aiming for higher quality protein across our day or supplements. 💪🏻 or possibly slightly higher intakes for lower qualities. All these especially important when progesterone is high in the second half of our cycle💪🏻
For more on protein checkout my guide FUEL!