Protein supplementation for athletes helps preserve or build muscle tissue. We all know that proteins make a major portion of muscle tissue which represents a big portion of overall body weight. For women it is usually 36-40% of their body weight and for men it is around 40-45% of body weight.
It is a common disbelief that eating proteins build muscle, but it is actually stimulus of resistance training that ultimately builds muscles. Dietary proteins are important for building or rebuilding during recovery process.
There are a lot of different opinions about how much protein is enough. In general, what all theories agree is that athletes and highly active individuals do need greater quantities of protein consumed through their diet, in order to support protein synthesis and bigger energy needs.
Recommendations for protein intake range from 1.2 – 1.7 per kg of body weight and it is different for various activities:
- 2 – 1.4/kg of body weight for endurance training
- 4 – 1.7/kg of body weight for strength training
Excess protein intake has been associated with some health concerns within the liver and kidneys, overall dehydration and potential calcium losses from bones.
Men can absorb more protein than women during one meal due to larger gastrointestinal tract.
Different factors influence digestion and absorption rates in individuals:
- Protein digestibility efficiency of foods
- Body size and genetics
- Meal size and composition
- Protein sources
Whey is absorbed more rapidly than casein as it is soluble in water. An egg has 6-7 g of protein and our bodies absorb 3 g of cooked egg each hour.
Timing the protein intake is critical for enhancing muscle recovery and growth. Pre and post exercise protein intake increases rates of muscle growth and strength, reduces muscle soreness and injury while speeding up the process of building and recovery.
According to the studies, combination of carbohydrates with essential amino acids to enhance muscle building is more efficient than when protein is consumed alone, so include some fruit in your protein shakes or add a salad to an egg meal.