Whether it comes to swimming long distances, running sprints or lifting weights, athletes mostly spend more energy than average people. Therefore, the bodies of the professional athletes need more nutrients to recover from all types of intense physical activities. In this case, protein plays a vital role in the diet of every athlete as it helps to strengthen and repair the muscle tissues. Therefore, high protein diet is really popular among the athletes, especially among those, who are in search of more defined and leaner physique. Often a number of athletes neglect the importance of protein diets. What they don’t understand is that protein works as the building block for the muscles. So, not having enough protein in the diet doesn’t only hinder one’s performance, but this can actually lengthen the recovery time.
Recommended intake of protein on a daily basis:
- Adults in average needs 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram (2.2lbs) of body weight on a daily basis
- Endurance athletes need around 1.2 to 1.4 grams protein per kilogram (2.2lbs) of body weight on an average per day
- Strength training athletes need almost 1.4 to 1.8 grams protein per kilogram (2.2lbs) of their body weight per day on an average
Why is protein so important?
Protein is really important to maintain an active body. In fact, protein is a must in our daily diet. In fact, what one’s body does with protein is where the benefits for the athletes actually show up. Besides, the combination of protein feeding and lifting heavy weights is beneficial in building new protein and this thing helps to get the muscles bigger. The main reason behind it is that protein offers the necessary amino acids that help to rebuild the muscles continually. Without this fuel to rebuild, the training of the athletes will go to the wrong direction and this will also risk an injury to the muscles of the athletes.
Our muscles actually contain a number of proteins, which perform numerous types of functions that are necessary to one’s daily life as well as the performance of exercise. For instance, there are contractile proteins that are responsible for helping the muscles to produce force; then there are the enzymatic proteins that help to offer action molecules, which are capable of breaking down fat and carbohydrate to produce energy and structural proteins, which offer structure to the muscles. Therefore the energy is used by the structural proteins for producing movements.
Common sources of protein include fish, meat, vegetables, and grains. But the personal preference of the athletes plays an important role in choosing the right one. Consuming lean proteins like lean cuts of beef, chicken, and fish at the meal time can ensure that the diet includes enough amount of protein. Besides, a number of beans and legumes also include a great source of protein. In this case, consulting with a sports nutritionist can be helpful with the meal plans or suggestions to help the athletes to reach their goals.
Besides, there are actually a number of brands to select from and various types starting from the vegan/veggie proteins like soy, pea, rice and hemp to the whey protein dairy based. Each of these types is beneficial and therefore is capable of offering around 20-40gm of protein in the single serving with the minimal calories.
When to consume protein?
Like other important things in life, there is also a place and time for protein. Consuming protein just after an exercise training session or after a competition works as an effective method to offer the body the necessary amino acids, which is important to help the muscles to rebuild and recover themselves. The majority of the athletes must consume protein shakes or bars within 15 minutes of competition or exercise. In fact, it is necessary to consume protein within the period of an hour of the competition or performance.
When not to consume protein?
Although consuming protein during the period of workout will give the athletes a complete boost in the gym, at the same time this can actually give them a jump start on the method of building amino acids. What the athletes actually need during a game or workout are electrolytes, water, and carbohydrate energy. These are the main fueling sources meant for proper physical activity. Protein is not the preferred source of fuel during exercise. Rather, the athletes should consume some sports drinks while exercising as these drinks can replenish lost electrolytes, hydrate the bodies and offer necessary carb for energy.