It turns out that eating lots of protein after a hard workout, which scientific studies have suggested is the thing to do to help your muscles recover and repair themselves, may not be as effective for women as it is for men. In fact, it seems as though exercise science studies are heavily skewed towards the menfolk and scientists are just now realizing that maybe they should figure out if men’s bodies and women’s bodies actually respond the same way to exercise, protein, carbs, and everything else.
According to this small cycling study, it looks as though loading up on protein doesn’t necessarily help women’s muscles recover like it does men’s. Women are subject to more muscle soreness during later workouts than men are. What this tells us, apparently, is not that women shouldn’t eat protein after an intense workout — they still need more than the recommended daily allowance for non-“athletes” — but that exercise scientists need to recognize the differences between men and women when they do their studies. Most studies focus on men, and if women follow the recommendations that come out of these studies, they may not be doing the best thing for their bodies. It likely won’t be the worst thing, either, but it probably won’t be the best.
Here’s hoping that more exercise scientists decide to study the ladyfolk. I know I would be interested in finding out what I can do to help my muscles recover after an intense workout. It’s no fun to have to do the mom thing with sore legs and sore arms and sore everything. If it were just me, I could take it. But the menchildren need my body, too, and that makes it hard to be sore for very long.