Protein for Athletes
Protein is one of the three major components of food, the macronutrients (the others are fats and carbohydrates). Not only is protein used in building muscle, it can also provide fuel for exercising athletes.
Protein for Muscle Building
Ingested protein is broken down into amino acids, the building blocks of muscle tissue. Resistance training provides the stimulus for building muscle, the protein just provides the resources.
As an Energy Source
Protein provides energy for the body, but not as much as carbohydrates and fats. The need for protein may increase in athletes, depending on the type and frequency of exercise. Unlike fat and carbohydrates, there is no place in the body to store protein. Any excess protein is either eliminated from the body or is stored as fat.
Protein in the Diet
A well balanced diet of adequate proportions should be able to provide the protein needs of any athletes. In fact, excess protein can deprive the athlete of the more efficient fuels carbohydrates and fats.
A protein intake of 10 to 12 percent of total calories is sufficient. Most authorities recommend that endurance athletes eat between 1.2-1.4 grams protein per kg of body weight per day; resistance and strength-trained athletes may need as much as 1.6-1.7 grams protein per kg of body weight.
A well balanced diet of adequate proportions should be able to provide the protein needs of any athlete. In most cases protein supplements are unnecessary. If you do need to increase the protein in your diet, it is not necessary to fork out exorbitant amount for commercial supplements which are often not much more than milk and egg powder. As an alternative, we have a list of some protein shakes that you can make at home.
- Are Amino Acid Supplements Necessary?
- Protein Milk Shakes — easy to make protein shake recipes can be used to increase your dietary protein
- Protein for Runners — Should we be taking protein supplements while running?
- Do You Eat Too Much Protein? — high intensity strength training will increase muscular bodyweight without the need to ingest large quantities of protein.
- Protein Powders and Supplements — what is a food and what is a supplement?
- Taste is Everything When Choosing a Protein Bar
- What are Amino Acids?
- More about Supplements
- Nutritional Supplements and Weight Gain
- Go Shopping in the Supplement Store