For endurance athletes, what you should know about protein. Get reading, it is all in there for you, not too much into details, I have tried to keep it simple and easy to read.
First of all, and before going any further into how protein is supporting the athletic performance, protein in your diet should come from a balanced diet first and from supplements second. What I mean by that, is that protein shakes, bars, etc. should not be taken as a substitute for balanced nutrition from whole foods but as a complement.
As a guideline, the amount of protein for the average adult is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For the athlete, it goes up to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight. Once you have worked out how much protein you should be having on a daily basis, you need to start looking at the food labels. Sorry if I make it sound dumb, but it is important to realize that 100g of mince does not equal 100g of protein! Look for the fats and all the additives to it, you’d be surprised! So anyway, most importantly when it comes to meat, the leaner, the better.
Now what about protein powders and supplements?
I am going to give you my honest opinion about this, I think they are great and here is why:
1- You can now choose to eat protein that tastes of strawberry cheesecake, chocolate caramel brownie, vanilla, etc.
2- A lot of research has been going into them and they are made of high quality protein, amino-acids and nutrients, and can be consumed and digested quickly by the athlete.
3- Protein along with carbohydrates has also been proven to maintain energy levels for longer and reduce fatigue, which all in all means improving the performance potential.
4- They are packed with all the essential amino-acids that your body needs and does not produce for its optimum functioning.
5- They help recovery and rebuild muscle fiber after the effort and therefore speed up the recovery process. Protein should be consumed within 30 minutes of finishing your workout as your muscles need it straight away.