After a hard workout, many are advised to load up on the protein in the form of powder and shakes to aid with muscle recovery. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this advice should be taken differently by men and women.
Dr. David Rowlands performed a study on women cyclists in which he gave one set of women bars and drinks with carbohydrates and the other set a drink with carbs and protein. The women showed no noticeable benefit whatsoever from the protein. They could not ride longer or harder. Further, women who received the protein complained that their legs were tired and sore more than the women who consumed only carbs. Even Dr. Rowlands was shocked.
New science suggests that this is because women are full of estrogen, which affects metabolism and and muscle health more than previously believed. When estrogen is given to male subjects, researchers find that men burn more fat and less protein or carbs in order to fuel their workouts, just as women do.
However, Dr. Rowlands did not advise his female patients to stop consuming protein. He stated carefully that his research had only explored one facet of protein’s use in muscle recovery in women. He would like his findings replicated and the effect of estrogen in muscle recovery studied thoroughly.
At least we can rejoice that we burn more fat than men in workouts.