Protein is a highly marketed nutrient with a bombardment of nutritional information available for athletes today. After all, it is the building block for making your body stronger and healthier. Protein repairs and grows muscle tissue after participating in any type of training activity that breaks down muscle tissue. When you are training hard toward your goals, you must pay special attention to protein for recovery. I'm often asked, "what kind of protein do I eat and how much?" If you read online, you will likely get ten different opinions from ten different articles. From my experience, here are a couple tips to keep your recovery quick, efficient, and complete.
- I recommend eating protein from a variety of sources. Protein comes from many different sources with varying health benefits and absorption rates. Protein variety is always best! Lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds are some of my favorites. If you are choosing a protein powder, simply choose a product that contains the fewest "extra" ingredients. Less is more in protein powders. My favorite protein source is the egg. The protein from egg whites have a medium digestion rate and provide essential amino acids that your body cannot produce.
- The amount of protein needed by an individual is debatable. In my opinion the range of 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight is ideal. I do emphasize to try and avoid dipping below the 1 gram/lb of body weight. Typically, I see athletes' diets lacking an average of 50-75 grams of protein per day. The most common mistake is they are substituting 50-75 extra grams of carbohydrates to compensate for the calorie deficit. Simply make a conscious effort to replace 200-300 calories of your daily carbohydrates with 200-300 calories of protein. You will notice a difference immediately with recovery and lean muscle gains. It's a great way to trim excess body fat and compete stronger and faster! Spread your protein intake evenly throughout the day for best results because your body can absorb and utilize protein in smaller increments more efficiently. Take in 20-30 grams every few hours for optimal effectiveness!