The Best Protein Powder for Women
Most women that want to lose weight, tone up, and increase their protein intake don’t want to end up with the bulking muscles of a body builder, so they may avoid turning to a protein powder. However, protein powders offer a great way to supplement any woman’s protein intake safely and in a stable manner to ensure they get the desired results.
Protein powders can add exactly what you need because you can control exactly how you use them and how much you exercise in order to get muscle-building benefits from them.
Protein for Women
Preferred protein sources for women are actually the same for men, and protein powders are no different. The actual variance is just in how much protein a woman needs in her diet.
Protein requirements vary for all people by their age, weight, height, activity level, and other factors such as body mass index. According to the USDA, a woman should get between 17 percent and 21 percent of her total daily calories for protein, which is often in the range of 40 to 50 grams of protein.
Pregnant women and those who are still breastfeeding require even more, typically between 65 and 75 grams of protein each day.
Protein powders and shakes are a great supplement to help women reach their protein needs each day. These can also add in many other vitamins and nutrients that women need, such as calcium, B6, iron, and folic acid.
Whey Goes Golden
Perhaps the best protein powder for women is the 100% Whey Gold Standard from Optimum Nutrition.
It offers 24 grams of protein in each serving plus a good blend of essential fatty acids (EFAs) and branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). The powder also ranks highly in terms of mixing smoothly and tasting great. Optimum touts the powder as a good candidate for both weight loss and muscle gain, and reviews from all across the Internet agree.
The Gold Standard powder uses a mix of whey isolates, protein concentrates, and peptides to allow for better absorption by the body. The mix of protein sources in the powder facilitates better use throughout the digestion process. The mix as well as its added EFAs and BCAAs improve how well your body uses nitrogen, which will help you burn fat and create muscle.
The protein blend also means that your body has fuel to burn quickly in the near-term as well as fuel to use over a whole workout. It is not a complete long-term protein like others so it works best after a workout and gives improvements for around 4 hours.
Optimum’s Gold Standard is one of the best protein powders on the market, whey or otherwise. It can deliver all the nutrients and protein needed to supplement any kind of workout and mixes well enough that it’s never a chore to have a drink.
The nutrients and protein blend provided in the Gold Standard blend are designed for recovery after a workout and can also help fill you up in order to replace a meal.
The 24 grams of protein per serving mean the powder should only be used once or twice each day and should serve as both a meal replacement and a workout enhancer. This schedule will help women see weight-loss after the first week and muscle mass increases within the first two weeks of consistent use.
The powder is designed to improve your recovery so it should be used just before a workout and then later at night. If you need only one serving each day, it’s recommended to split the serving size in half and use it both before and after your workout.
For women that aren’t looking to bulk up, stick to one serving a day for the first two weeks and watch for muscle gain. If muscles grow more than is desired, expanding instead of toning, reduce the number of days the protein is used as a supplement and meal replacement.
If the powder is used correctly, it can give a wide range of results and help you bulk up, tone down, or simply burn fat. Leaner muscles can be toned to increase strength without too much extra mass.
Whey for Women
Optimum’s Gold Standard is recommended for women because it makes use of whey protein.
Whey protein has among the largest amount of natural proteins in supplements or regular foods. It also offers specific benefits for women, such as the natural inclusion of calcium which is essential for women throughout their lives.
The Gold Standard contains very little fat and carbs – just 1 gram of fat and 3 grams of carbs per serving – making it a good supplement for many diets. Even the low-carbohydrate diets popular among many people can make use of this protein.
Taste Test It
It’s worth mentioning a few times that Optimum’s Gold Standard is a great tasting protein.
Many powders and mixes taste very, very bad, and reviewers are very vocal about poor taste. This makes the rave reviews for Gold Standard stand out even more.
Flavors currently offered include:
- Banana Cream
- Caramel Toffee Fudge
- Chocolate Malt
- Chocolate Mint
- Cookies and Cream
- Delicious Strawberry
- Double Rich Chocolate
- Extreme Milk Chocolate
- French Vanilla Crème
- Mocha Cappuccino
- Rocky Road
- Strawberry Banana
- Tropical Punch
- Vanilla Ice Cream
Most users stick to the basic chocolate, vanilla, and banana flavors because they offer good protein and taste that mixes well with a variety of liquids. Other users recommend the mocha, mint, and rocky road flavors.
The powder is designed to liquefy and quickly dissolve through simple stirring with a spoon. This means few clumps are left over or stuck in the bottom of a blender, so it’s easy to make and reduces the frustration that many of its competitors cause.
If you really like the taste and plan on using it to replace a meal on a consistent basis, try mixing in fruits and vegetables to ensure you’re getting a nutritionally complete diet.
Gold Standard fits in daily schedules differently depending on use and should be adjusted to fit your desired outcome.
Optimum Nutrition recommends you use it in one of three ways:
- Breakfast replacement. This helps jumpstart your metabolism and can be used to energize your day. For active women, it can help tone muscles and drop weight as they go about their day. For less-active people (those of us with desk jobs) morning supplements aren’t recommended.
- Replacing meals. This protein powder can serve as a meal replacement at night to either extend the benefits of daily activity or to help cut down the calories you’re taking before you sleep. This allows your body to continue to burn calories. When using it as a meal replacement, you should consider this to be roughly 400 calories.
- Workout booster. If you’re going for the best benefit for your daily workout, take a single serving about 15 minutes before you start – this time may be better closer to 30 minutes depending on your personal preference. If you’re hoping to slim down, you can move this to directly after your workout and also use it to replace a meal. If you’re hoping to build more muscle, don’t use it as a meal replacement.
When using this as a consistent meal replacement or night-time snack, be sure to add in extra nutrient-rich foods throughout the day. You can also take a multivitamin in order to guarantee you’re getting the right amount of essential vitamins and minerals.
Gold Standard 100% Whey is available online and at many drug stores and nutrition stores around the United States. Because of all of this availability, a retail price can differ depending on the size of the product, flavor, place of purchase, and any shipping you need to have done.
On average, prices for Gold Standard 100% Whey are:
• One-pound container: $15 to $22.50;
• Two-pound container: $25 to $45;
• Five-pound container: $55 to $75; and
• Ten-pound container: $100 to $140.
Prices come from online storefronts such as Amazon as well as publication and product comparison sites such as BodyBuilding, ProteinPowder, and SupplementReviews.
Final Word for Women
Women need to make sure they are carefully regulating their protein intake when using powders and other meal replacements.
The protein being used needs to be matched to established goals of gaining muscle or losing weight; over-use or even under-use can lead to results that are different from what’s desired.
Since protein powders help based on calorie burning and muscles used during a workout, the gym routine should be customized as well. When looking to beef up, use it near a workout and treat it as a meal replacement less often. Since Gold Standard 100% Whey is low in fat, it makes a good pre-workout drink.
When it comes to just dropping calories and losing weight, it’s best to approach Gold Standard 100% Whey as a meal replacement for breakfast or dinner.
Whatever the plan, always make sure to follow the instructions on the bottle of Gold Standard 100% Whey and don’t exert yourself to an unhealthy degree in the gym.