What should I know about protein?
The current dietary reference intake (DRI) of protein for persons 18 and older, irrespective of physical activity status, is 0.5g per pound of body weight per day (i.e., 110g of protein for a 220-pound person). For athletes, many sports nutrition experts conclude that protein requirements are higher.* Protein recommendations for endurance athletes are 0.6 to 0.7 g per pound of body weight per day, whereas those for resistance and strength-trained athletes may be as high as 0.8 to 0.85g per pound of body weight per day.
Protein promotes muscle adaptation during recovery from exercise in several ways including:
- Aiding in the repair of exercise-induced damage to muscle fibers
- Promoting training-induced adaptations in muscle fibers (e.g., synthesis of new proteins that are
involved in energy production and/or force generation)
- Facilitating the replenishment of depleted energy stores
What should I know about protein and recovery?
Exercises with high intensity, heavy lifting or resistance increase the rates of both protein synthesis and protein breakdown in muscle for at least 24 hours after a workout. Unless protein is consumed during recovery, the breakdown will exceed synthesis, resulting in the loss of muscle mass. Furthermore, protein consumed after exercise assists in the repair and synthesis of muscle proteins, making it vital to the recovery process.
Essential amino acids are superior to non-essential amino acids for stimulating muscle growth. Adding carbohydrates to a protein mixture does not markedly affect the muscle anabolic response, but it does confer other benefits, including the re-synthesis of muscle glycogen. Muscle glycogen is the predominant fuel for energy during exercise, and the ability to rapidly replenish glycogen stores during recovery is important for athletes.