We all know that getting enough protein in the diet is important for recovery following a hard training session, BUT, are you getting enough and do you know where to get it? Meeting your protein requirements is absolutely necessary for growth and repair of all body tissues. Inadequate intake delays recovery from exercise, interferes with muscles growth and maintenance, reduces energy levels, inhibits training and sport performance and increases the risk of injury from over training. Find out how much protein you need & what foods have it...
How much protein do I need?
Daily protein requirements for healthy adults varies depending on the type, amount and intensity of exercise:
- 1g per kg of body weight per day for regular exercise defined as 1-3 days per week of light to moderate exercise
- 1.2-1.6g per kg of body weight per day for endurance and strength training defined as 3-5 days per week of moderate to hard exercise
- 1.6-2.0g per kg of body weight per day for heavy endurance & strength training defined as 5-7 days per week of moderate to hard exercise.
What foods contain protein?
Protein is found in a variety of different foods. The following foods are considered high protein sources.
- Dairy foods contain approximately 10g of protein per serve (250ml milk, 200g yogurt, 40g cheese):
- Meat, fish & poultry contain approximately 10g of protein per serve (40g)
- Eggs contain approximately 6 g of protein per serve (1 egg)
- Beans & legumes contain approximately 6-10g of protein per serve (1/2 cup)
- Nuts contain approximately 4-6g of protein per serve (30g)
Don't rely on a single food group for all your protein requirements. Consuming a variety of high protein foods provides your body with different types of protein and helps meet requirements of other vitamins and minerals.
How often should I eat protein?
Consuming regular meals containing protein spread as evenly as possible throughout the day (3 meals and 2-3 snacks every 2-3 hours) is the best way to meet your protein requirements.
What about protein supplements?
If you're at risk of not meeting your protein requirements a supplement may be required. The typical protein shake or bar provides between 20-30g of protein per serve - this is an easy (not always tasty) way to effectively boost daily protein intake. You should always aim to get as much of your protein from 'whole foods' as possible and only rely on supplements if you can't get enough of the real stuff in.