Jul 02

Protein and the High-Performance Athlete

As an endurance athlete, you know that you expend more energy than the average person and need to make up for it through your diet. With all of that intense physical activity, your body requires extra nutrients to fuel and repair itself, and a lot of runners and triathletes focus more on carbs than other nutrients. However, while you do benefit the most from carbohydrates, protein also plays an important role in your training and recovery.

The Endurance Athlete’s Protein Needs

While your protein needs as an endurance athlete may be higher than those of a sedentary person, they’re not as high as you might think. Your body burns carbohydrates and fats before turning to protein as fuel. This allows most of the protein you consume to work toward preserving your lean muscle mass. The American Dietetic Association holds that a protein intake of 10 to 12 percent of your total calories is sufficient for most athletes. Research shows that consuming more protein than this may be beneficial to bodybuilders who are trying to add muscle mass, but for other types of athletes who just want to maintain lean muscle, the 10 to 12 percent rule is a good guideline. Additionally, consuming too much protein can affect your hydration levels and electrolyte balance, which can have devastating effects on your athletic performance.

Timing Is Everything

The timing of protein consumption is a critical factor in properly supporting your body’s tissues. Eating a snack or meal containing protein (either by itself or combined with a carb) immediately after your workout provides the necessary amino acids you need to build and repair muscle tissue. Good sources of protein include eggs, milk, yogurt, fish, and lean meats. While whole foods are always best, athletes can also obtain this vital nutrient from whey or soy protein shakes when convenience is a factor.

To learn more about your individual nutrition needs, consult with your physician or a registered dietitian. In addition to adhering to a diet tailored to your training regimen, proper biomechanics play a key role in maximizing your athletic performance. For more information on how RPM2 products can help you achieve bilateral equivalence to meet or even exceed your training goals, explore our website today.

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