Protein is truly awesome; it forms the foundation of strong muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments, can turbo charge our immune system, and accelerates recovery from hard training sessions. Protein is found in meat, dairy products, eggs, and many nuts and seeds. Just like sleep, nutrition is a huge part of the equation when it comes to improving performance.
A questions I get ask numerous times in the gym or at schools from all athletes and parents, is “Do I need to be buying protein?”
Like nearly all health and fitness questions; it depends!
Protein that you buy from the supermarket or from a health store is called a supplement, and that’s exactly what they are, they should be a supplemental part of a healthy diet. If you can’t get enough protein in your diet then a shake may be a great way to get what is needed and at time can be nutritious (additives needed: fruit). For young athletes I don’t advise buying a protein isolate as this can be too much for a young athlete and a waste of money.
There is an endless amount of information out there and a lot of it can become very confusing or contradicting. It is very reassuring that athletes and parents are looking to improving their nutrition but can be a difficult task, especially when some teenagers think that a can of coke and a meat pie is a good lunch which is usually what’s on the menu in the school canteen. If your child or yourself is a vegan or vegetarian your sources items rich in protein are even more limited. You need to be careful with the protein that you are consuming as well. As I mentioned before about a meat pie, there is protein found in it but it is all the additives we don’t want such as the sodium overload as an athlete. What I usually recommend is Sustagen Sport, it has protein plus extra carbs to help refuel the body but has added benefits of extra vitamins and minerals that aren’t found in protein.
How much protein should I be consuming?
We should be looking at 0.8 to 1.2grams of protein to kilo of body mass. A quick way to do this is turn your bodyweight into grams and that’s the amount of protein you should be consuming daily. The best protein comes from whole products, straight from the animal or plant as these sources offer more bang for your buck.