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PROTEIN AND THE ATHLETE

 

 

Whether running, hiking, riding, swimming, lifting weights etc., all athletes expend more energy than the average person.  Our bodies need additional nutrients to recover from intense physical activity such as a “Ride and Tie” event.  Protein plays an essential role in repairing and strengthening muscles.  Currently the American College of Sports Medicine, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Dietitians of

Canada all recommend 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram body weight per day for athletes, depending on training regimens and competition.  In general, the protein content of a typical “healthy diet” ranges between 15-25%.  Although muscle protein synthesis (MPS) occurs with as little as 5 grams of protein, it appears that consumption of 20 -40 grams of protein with breakfast/lunch/ and dinner will give a near maximum increase in MPS.  Additional protein can be consumed as a snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon.  Some of my favorite, high quality protein sources include Wild Alaskan salmon, Albacore tuna, whey protein, non-fat organic yogurt, turkey/chicken breast, egg whites, soy, low-fat or non-fat organic milk, whey protein, legumes, quinoa, and nuts and seeds.  Three to four ounces of free-range, lean beef 2-3 times/ week is also “on my list”.  Bison (American buffalo) is a great choice in this category.