What happens when you consume more protein than you need?

What happens when you eat more protein than you need?

Your body can’t store extra protein in the same way it can store extra carbohydrate (glycogen in muscle and liver) and fat (in fat cells).
The fact we cannot store protein for later use is one of the reasons why we recommend including protein in every meal.

So what happens to this extra protein?

Once your protein needs are met any extra protein consumed is either used as energy or stored as fat.

This requires amino acids (broken down protein) to either be converted into molecules which can be used as energy or into to fatty acids to be stored.

The fate of this extra protein (used for energy or stored as fat) depends on energy balance. For example, if you are in an energy deficit extra protein will be used for energy. If you are in positive energy balance i.e. an energy surplus protein will be stored as fat.

Building muscle and being a woman

How fast do women build muscle?

– Muscle is hard to build for anyone. This is especially true for women

The prime reason for this is that women have a lower level of testosterone which is male sex hormone which drives increases in muscle mass via increased growth hormone and muscle protein synthesis. 

The reason I mention it is a male sex hormone is that you may notice that women who have higher levels of testosterone also exhibit other *traditionally* (who is to say having a beard is a male characteristic these days.. beards don’t have a gender 🙄🙄) male characteristics.. including a deeper voice, a more prominent jaw line and facial fair.

Women who do have a large amount of muscle mass may be artificially manipulating their hormone levels (yes, I mean steroids).

Muscle mass takes years to build naturally and the more you train, the harder subsequent increases in muscle mass are

Ask any natural female who has tried to build muscle mass and they will tell you a) it’s not easy and b) it certainly NEVER happens by accident

The table which I adapted from Lyle Macdonalds research serves to highlight just how slow the process of female muscle growth is.
Note that this is based on general trends and some women will build muscle faster or slower than this.

Take homes:

– lifting weights won’t make you bulky or put on unwanted muscle mass
– You wont put on muscle accidentally ( I wish!)
– If you’re not losing weight on your fat loss diet over time then unfortunately it is probably not because you are losing fat and building muscle simultaneously and thus masking weight loss. This would be VERY slow fat loss.
– The more experienced you are , the harder it is to gain more muscle
– Lifting weights will give you that desired ‘toned’ look and avoid the dreaded ‘skinny fat’ look which often occurs when people diet and don’t exercise.

The menopause and exercise

The menopause and exercise

This is something that either has, is, or is going to happen to all of us (except Jonathon). It is a time when exercise is even more important for various reasons which will become clear.

During the menopause (which is when women stop menstruating and tends to happen at around 50 years old) the female sex hormones estorgen and progesterone fluctuate. These hormonal fluctuations can cause some side effects such as hot flushes.

When a woman has not had her period for 12 months she is deemed to be post menopausal. This means she will have significantly less estrogen which is linked to both weight gain and reduced bone mineral density.

Studies show that mice which have lower estrogen levels habitually move less and eat more resulting in weight gain. Post menopausal fat gain tends to be preferentially stored around the stomach. Central fat storage is a strong risk factor for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes making avoiding post menopausal weight gain even more important.

Estrogen is also important in the formation of new bone resulting in increased risk of osteoporosis in post menopausal women.

Fortunately exercise can help attenuate these effects.

The benefits of exercise in relation to menopause include:

– Improved metabolic health
– Increased muscle mass and strength
– Increased bone mineral density
– Improved mood
– Reduced back pain
– Aids fat loss
– May reduce hot flushes

Exercise offers huge health benefits to everyone. These benefits are even more prominent post menopause.

PS look how ecstatic this woman is – that could be you!

Menstrual cycle, diet and training

Menstrual cycle- should you make changes to diet and training?

Does it significantly affect your mood, energy levels or cause you pain?

if so, you may want to consider making adaptations to your diet and/or training.


First and foremost go with how you feel!

If strength training reduce weight and increase reps.

This way you can keep total volume high while reduce performance pressure. By this I mean if you know what you usually squat for 5 reps but you’re feeling fatigued and weak failing at your usual weight will leave you feeling frustrated. Accepting you aren’t at your best and you are going to lift a lighter weight takes this pressure away.

Relax diet and add in some comforts (you make up for the extra calories over the rest of the month).

If you’re craving some chocolate or a home cooked meal then allow yourself some extra calories. Don’t go crazy but be kind to yourself

Treat yourself – spend time with people you love (unless you’re going to bite their heads off then maybe spend some time alone so that you don’t lose friends and family), have a relaxing bath, spoon a hot water bottle..
What I am getting at here is it is good to take the pressure off yourself if you’re feeling a little below average.

Being a woman is hard. Having the lining of your uterus ripped out every month isn’t fun.. cut yourself some slack.