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Protein for Women: The Missing Piece in Your Muscle-Building Puzzle

Updated: May 22

Pretty young woman is lifting weights smiling

We all know that sculpted muscles don't just magically appear overnight. But if you're crushing it at the gym and still not seeing the gains you crave, it might be time to give your protein intake a second look. Think of protein as the essential fuel for your fitness journey – the building blocks for those strong, sexy muscles you're working towards.

Research shows that aiming for at least 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily is key for optimal muscle repair and growth. So, if you're around 120 pounds, that's about 87-120 grams of protein a day, and if you're around 160 pounds, you're looking at 117-160 grams.

Here's where it gets interesting. While the total amount of protein you eat is super important, new research suggests that spreading it out evenly throughout the day could be the secret to even better results. Aim for roughly 20-30 grams of protein per meal or mini-meal (snack) to keep those muscles happy and growing.

So, what should you be eating? Get excited about lean protein powerhouses like chicken breast, turkey breast, salmon, tuna, low-fat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, tofu, tempeh, seitan, lentils, chickpeas, and black beans. If figuring out those grams seems overwhelming, don't stress – there are handy macro calculators (like the one on my website!) that can do the heavy lifting for you.

Here's a quick cheat sheet to get you started with some tasty, low-fat protein options, each providing approximately 20 grams of protein:

  • Chicken breast: 3 ounces (85 grams)

  • Turkey breast: 3 ounces (85 grams)

  • Salmon: 3.5 ounces (100 grams)

  • Tuna: 3.5 ounces (100 grams)

  • Low-fat cottage cheese: 5 ounces (140 grams)

  • Greek yogurt: 7 ounces (200 grams)

  • Tofu: 3 ounces (85 grams)

  • Tempeh: 4 ounces (113 grams)

  • Seitan: 1 ounce (28 grams)

  • Lentils (cooked): 1 cup (185 grams)

  • Chickpeas (cooked): 1 ½ cups (140 grams)

  • Black beans (cooked): 1 ¼ cups (155 grams)

Remember, ladies, don't let a lack of protein hold you back from fitness goals. Fuel your body right, with a consistent intake of delicious protein-rich foods, and watch those muscles grow stronger and more defined than ever before.




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