A regular conversation I have with clients is when is the right time to add protein shakes? Firstly, lets talk about the average daily protein need. For a healthy, sedentary adult their daily protein requirement is 0.8g per kilogram of body weight per day; this is approximately 10-15% of total calories consumed per day. There are a few training cases when protein requirements may change and possibly require supplements. However in many cases, additional protein can be sought through a balanced diet.
- ENDURANCE TRAINING – Long distance, endurance athletes running 60 minutes or more of moderately hard training may require additional protein to compensate the breakdown of muscle tissue due to depleted glycogen stores, a process known as gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis is the body’s way of maintaining blood glucose levels when muscle and liver glycogen have become depleted during exercise or at times when there is a low energy intake. Another reason for an increase in protein is to help repair and recovery of the muscles. After a long run I always have a pint of skimmed milk as its a fast and effective way of getting adequate protein into my body quickly. Daily protein requirements 1.2-1.4g per kg of body weight.
- STRENGTH TRAINING – When strength training you are creating micro tears in the muscle which requires increased amounts of protein to help repair and enhance recovery. Strength training requires more protein than endurance training due to the higher rate of muscle synthesis and increased demands placed on the muscles. In order to achieve effective muscle hypertrophy (muscle bulk) an increase in protein must be met with an appropriate workload. Some of the highest protein foods are chicken 39g/130g, salmon 30g/150g and beef 28g/100g. Daily protein requirements are 1.4-1.8g per kg of body weight
- FAT LOSS PROGRAMME – Clients of mine on a weight loss or weight management programme benefit from a slightly higher daily protein allowance of up to 20% of their total daily calorie intake. Proteins such as poultry, meat, meat produce, dairy products and nuts, seeds and pulses are high in protein which keeps you fuller for longer. When increasing protein in your diet it is important to accompany it with exercise to maximise the benefits. Some low fat examples are low fat yogurt, salmon, chicken, eggs and skimmed milk.
- VEGETARIAN ATHLETES – Many vegetarian clients of mine through a balanced diet will achieve 10-15% of their total calories through low fat dairy product and meat and fish alternatives such as tofu, nuts and seeds. Plant sources are generally lower in protein so it is essential to eat the right combination of plant-based proteins. It maybe relevant for a vegetarian to supplement their diet particularly when training for a marathon or strength training. Some good examples are quinoa, quorn, tofu, soya milk, eggs, kidney beans, chick peas and baked beans.
Many protein-based meal replacements are designed to have a wide range of nutritional combinations than a protein only supplement so it is important to understand why you are taking it and for what purpose. It is important to know the side effects of too much protein in the diet such as excess protein intake can be stored as fat, some animal products are high in saturated fat and therefor can increase cholesterol and increase the risk of Chronic Heart Disease and can be dangerous to individuals with kidney or liver disease.
If you have any questions related to protein intake why not get in touch!