Fuel Your Performance With Protein

proteinFuel Your Performance With Protein

Regardless of the sport, athletes need more calories to fuel their bodies due to higher activity levels. That’s why a healthy amount of protein is necessary. This nutrient helps repair and strengthen muscle tissue.

However, this is a case when more isn’t necessarily better. While protein is critical in building muscle mass, eating large amounts of lean protein will not equate with a toned body.

So how much is just right? Start by looking at your overall diet and activity levels. According to eatright.org, “During periods of both rest and activity, protein contributes about 10 percent of the total fuel an athlete’s body uses. The remaining fuel used is made up of carbohydrates and fat. Athletes who consume diets adequate in both these nutrients end up using less protein for energy than those who consume a higher protein diet. This means that protein can go toward preserving lean body mass (i.e. that lean physique). So in order to retain muscle, athletes need to ensure they are also meeting needs for carbs and fat, not just protein.”

The nature of the activity is a determining factor as well. Endurance athletes, such as runners, bikers and swimmers, tend to process more protein for fuel, while power — or strength — athletes, such as sprinters, weightlifters and CrossFitters, retain protein for muscle development. That means power athletes require a higher level of protein consumption than endurance athletes. In other words, as any athlete trains more, the body becomes more efficient and will require less protein.

While whole foods are optimal for protein consumption, supplements are great for busy athletes on the go. Check out my Products Tab for USANA’s line of diet and energy products. These nutritionally dense products are great to help you refuel after a workout.

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