How Much Protein Should An Athlete Eat

How Much Protein Should Your Athlete Be Eating Per Day

Protein Recommendations for Athletes. How much Protein should you consume?

Weve found that aiming to consume around 1g of protein per pound of lean body mass per day seems to be one of the most commonly accepted practices for athletes that want to achieve that lean, athletic physique. And, to be honest with you, most people arent really taking that LBM stipulation to account at all.

In other words, in most cases its going to be a decent idea to simply use their bodyweight instead of that LBM figure for the sake of keeping things as simple as possible.

Its also worth nothing that while some experts recommend a bit more protein per day and other researchers and gurus allow for a bit less , this 1g per Pound Rule still seems to be the most popular pick.

But, why?

I think its because that 1:1 ratio of grams of protein to bodyweight is just a really easy way to calculate your daily protein intake. And, lets be honest: Easy works really well for most people because easy is usually adherence-friendly and sustainable long-term.

Think about it this way. People like basic math, and basic math is easy.

If your athlete weighs 125 pounds, theyd eat around 125g of protein per day.If your athlete weighs 150 pounds, theyd eat around 150g of protein per day. If your athlete weighs 175 pounds, theyd eat around 175g of protein per day. Simple, right?

I think you get the point.

No One Right Way To Eat

A new and flashy diet may seem enticing, but over all, nutrition is individualized and there is no one right way to eat for everyone. Always take into account your personal food preferences, health needs, activity level, cooking skills, schedule, and allow the experience of eating to be enjoyable as well.

If you have been considering eating a plant-based diet, just as your physical training needs a plan to best meet your goals, so does your eating plan. Meal planning can be a challenging task because eating is an ongoing and constant need. We cannot just go to the grocery store once, cook one meal, and eat one time.

Whether omnivore, carnivore, or herbivore, nutrition is about meeting your individual needs. Planning is required for any individuals dietary intake and going the vegan or vegetarian route does require some extra consideration for meeting protein needs.

Level #: Crossfit Supplements

Supplements are the smallest part of the puzzle, but they can be useful. They can be divided into health and performance supplements, heres the short list that will be applicable to nearly everyone.

Note that Im not listing protein powder here as I consider it to be a powdered food, not a supplement.

Health & Nutritional Supplements

  • Multivitamin A good insurance policy against deficiencies. 1/day when cutting, not normally needed when bulking.
  • Essential Fatty Acids Usually consumed in the form of fish oils, when appropriately dosed, EFAs help with leptin signaling in the brain, reducing in inflammation, enhancing mood, and reducing disease factor risk. They can also aid in joint recovery and have shown potential for some metabolic benefits as well. 2-3g/day, EPA and DHA combined.
  • Vitamin D3 Having insufficient levels of vitamin D in the body can compromise the immune system, which can be a disaster for someone who is training hard, dieting, or attempting to perform any type of activity at a high level. 9-36 IU/lb/day based on sun exposure.

Performance Supplements

The rest you dont need to bother with. Trendy right now are exogenous ketones and HMB, but there appear to have fraudulent study data as the only real thing going for them. BCAAs wont do shit for you outside the context of fasted training, if your protein intake is sufficient for the day.

Moral of the Story:

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Caloric Requirements For Athletes

An athletes caloric requirements, and their macronutrient split, will depend on what competition theyre preparing for. A CrossFitter, for example, will need a lot more fuel in the tank than, say, a Classic Physique bodybuilder preparing to step on stage during show day.

We recommend working alongside a nutritionist and personal trainer to determine your overall caloric needs for training and competitions. If youre looking for a starting point, heres a macronutrient calculator to help you determine how much you should roughly eat.

Tailoring Nutrition For Sport Type

Scientists challenge recommendation that men with more ...

Athletes have different nutritional requirements depending on which sport they do.

People who are training or racing at peak levels may find it challenging to consume enough food for their energy requirements without causing gastrointestinal discomfort, especially immediately before an important workout or race.

For example, the ISSA highlights the importance of hydration and carbohydrate loading for competitive swimmers.

At the same time, it emphasizes consuming easily digestible carbohydrates, such as bananas and pasta, prior to events to avoid GI discomfort.

Athletes may need to work with a sports nutritionist, preferably a registered dietitian, to ensure they consume enough calories and nutrients to maintain their body weight, optimize performance and recovery, and plan a timing strategy that suits their body, sport, and schedule.

Athletes need to eat a healthy and varied diet that meets their nutrient requirements.

To enhance nutritional quality, it is preferable to eat whole foods rather than processed foods.

Choosing whole grains and other fiber-rich carbohydrates as part of a daily diet generally promotes health.

However, immediately prior to and during intense trainings and races, some athletes may prefer simpler, lower fiber carbohydrates to provide necessary fuel while minimizing GI distress.

Breakfast: eggs either boiled, scrambled, or poached with salmon, fresh spinach, and whole grain toast or bagel

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Level #: Crossfit Micronutrient Considerations & Water

If you think of your macronutrition as the fuel you put in your car, think of micronutrition as the oils that lubricate it. A diet with micronutrient deficiencies wont be immediately detrimental, but in the long term it will impact your CrossFit® nutrition and torpedo your training efforts.

Fortunately, this doesnt have to be complicated. By observing a few simple rules of thumb regarding your daily fruit and vegetable intake you can safeguard against deficiencies.

Here are some key points:

  • Aim to eat a fist of vegetables with every meal.
  • Aim to eat 2-3 fists of fruits each day
  • A multivitamin isnt a substitute for a poor diet, but it is additional insurance if youre adhering to solid CrossFit® nutrition.
  • If you have issues with energy, feel hungry, wonder why your skin is pale, or have messed up sleep patterns, it could be that youre short of a few vitamins or minerals.
  • Water is important for fat loss and performance. Aim for 5 clear urinations a day and to be peeing clear by noon.

Lastly, remember, once you have the micronutrients that your body needs, you dont get extra points for eating more of them. More isnt better when you are eating enough. So dont be sucked into the superfood hype.

High Protein Diets For Athletes

In recent years, particularly after the low carb diet wave settled down, the popularity of high protein diets has waned in part due to increased health risks associated with excess intake of protein and saturated fats and insufficient carbohydrate intake. So if a high protein diet is not recommended for the general population because of health concerns, why is it recommended for athletes?

The answer: Protein needs for an athlete are greater than for the average sedentary individual. This is a result of the effects of exercise on metabolism. Endurance athletes metabolize protein differently during long-lasting activity. For strength-training athletes, muscles tear during a workout and protein is required to repair and rebuild these muscles.

How high is high?

The average person requires 0.8g of protein/kg body weight per day. Protein recommendations for endurance athletes are slightly higher at 1.2-1.4g/kg body weight2, and recommendations for strength athletes have a higher upper limit at 1.2-1.7g/kg body weight2.

For example:


What does this mean?

While athletes do need more protein, most people already consume more protein than is required. This means that athletes dont necessarily need to drastically increase protein consumption in order to meet recommendations. In addition, there are many foods that contain protein that are often not be thought of as a source of protein. The table below identifies common and less known sources of protein.

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Hydration And Electrolytes For Athletes

Needless to say, athletes will need more water and electrolytes than the average person to ensure theyre hydrated during workouts and games.

The dangers of dehydration are well known but warrant repetition. Athletes who become dehydrated can experience increased heart rates and body temperatures, which can lead to decreased performance and may cause severe damage to your body.

Similarly, you dont want to become overhydrated, as that can lead to conditions like nausea, headaches, and confusion. These symptoms are caused by water-electrolyte imbalances or when theres too much water in your system and not enough electrolytes.

Theres a good trick to find out how much water youll need to consume: weigh yourself before and after a training session and subtract those two numbers. Then add how much fluid you consumed during your training session, and you get your sweat-loss volume.

So if the 90kg athlete weighs 89kgs after a training session or competition and drinks half a liter of water, their sweat-loss volume is 1.5 kilograms. This number is less than two percent of their body mass, which is the mark you should keep your sweat-loss volume at.

While this is a good strategy for most athletes, there are many cases where calculating your sweat-loss volume may be impossible such as team sports, running, and biking. And most of the time, these athletes underestimate their sweat-loss volume, which leads to them under-hydrating.

The Case For Simple Carbs

How much protein do Athletes need?

When planning a bulking diet for the very first time, a lot of guys try to get all of their carbs from healthy sources, such as veggies, whole grains, legumes, and oats. Dont get me wrong, those are all fantastic foods. But when eaten in large quantities, they can be somewhat difficult to digest, often causing stomach pain, bloating, and bulking miasmas.

Theres a reason that bodybuilders are famous for eating large servings of white rice: its easier to digest! Plus, theres no real downside. Simple starches are perfectly good for building muscle quickly and leanly. The trick is to add that white rice into a diet that includes other sources of fibre, vitamins, and minerals.

Thats why the classic bodybuilder meal is chicken, broccoli, and rice. The chicken and broccoli are rich in protein, micronutrients, and fibre . And then the rice adds in a ton of easily digested carbs.

So what you want is balance. Include whole grains, legumes, fruits, and veggies in your diet, but when youre struggling to add more carbs, consider adding simple carbs: rice, bananas, bread, fruit juicethat kind of thing. This is especially important if youre eating carbs before heading to the gym. Youll want to eat something easier to digest so your stomach doesnt bother you while working out.

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Q What Things Should A Basketball Player Never Eat

Basketball players who compete at any level should limit the amount of junk food they eat.

Things such as sugary treats and trans-fat laden biscuits and ice-cream should be avoided as much as possible.

When it comes time to eat you should attempt to choose whole foods that contain many micronutrients.

Think of food as fuel.

Dont put food up on a pedestal.

Acknowledge your ancestry and eat whole foods and quality meats.

The Supposed Magic Of Muscle Chili

I built most of my muscle out of habanero chili. Every Sunday Id cook up a giant pot, put a few servings in the fridge, and put a few more servings in the freezer. Whenever I wanted a convenient bulking meal, all I had to do was reheat it in the microwave and toss a bit of pre-ground cheese or cilantro on top. I am a lazy efficient person, and so this often meant I was eating chili at least twice per day.

Around that time, one of my good friends, Payam, asked me for help losing weight. Chili is high in protein and convenient to make, so I suggested he give it a try, just using smaller portions than I was eating. He lost 20 pounds in a single month. Seeing his success, another of my close friends, Willem, tried my chili diet. He got similar results.

This was also the diet Jared used to gain over 27 pounds during a 4-month bulk. We were roommates at the time, I relied heavily on chili, and so we would cook it together on Sundays and then eat it together during the week while watching half-episodes of The Shield.

Whatever is available where you live, whatever you can afford, whatever you likethats what you should build your bulking diet out of. Here are some examples:

  • Chili
  • Chicken, rice, and broccoli
  • Vegan lentil stew

So what Id encourage you to do is think about meals made out of mostly whole foods, that you love, that you can passionately bulk up with. Bulking means eating a lot of food. Better if you love that food.

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What Is Protein And Why Is It So Important

Protein is one of the most abundant substances in our cells after water, and has almost endless functions in the body. They account for the tough fibrous nature of hair, nails, and ligaments, and for the structure of our muscles . Protein functions to build and maintain body tissues and structures and is involved in the synthesis of enzymes and hormones.

The greatest amounts of protein are needed when the body is building new tissue and when loss of protein occurs from injuries, infections or other causes. In addition, proteins are needed for forming antibodies that will protect the body from harmful infections.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. The body uses 20 amino acids to build the proteins it needs. There are 9 essential amino acids and 11 nonessential .

The endless combinations of amino acids make up thousands of different proteins in the cells of our body.

How Much Protein Do Strength Athletes Need

How Much Protein Should An Athlete Eat For Breakfast

The optimal protein intake for strength athletes has been hotly debated for decades. Hereâs what the prevailing science says about the protein needs of weightlifters, powerlifters, and bodybuilders.

The protein “myth” has been floating around for generations. Historically, it can be traced to Milo of Crotona in the sixth century B.C. He was a famous Greek athlete who was considered to be one of the strongest men in ancient Greece. He had won wrestling victories in 5 Olympic games as well as in other sacred festivals.

Legend has it that Milo applied progressive resistance in the form of lifting a growing calf daily. By the time the calf was 4-years-old Milo carried it the length of the Olympian stadium, and then proceeded to kill, roast and consume it. Milos’ daily consumption of meat was recorded at approximately 20 pounds a day.

When we fast-forward to the era of the sixties and seventies we find there was a renewed hype about protein being some sort of miracle food. This was due, largely, to the muscle magazines of the era which pushed protein and claimed it could make you grow as big as a god!

As a result, many bodybuilders and strength trainers started to consume large quantities of whole milk, meat and eggs.

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Skipping Meals Will Stunt Your Growth And Game

Skipping meals like breakfast will hurt your growth and your game. Missing out on protein and general nutrition during adolescence will lead to significant declines in energy, weight, muscle growth, and strength, while increasing the likelihood of fatigue. Does this mean your adolescent athlete should slam protein shakes? Of course not, but they should consistently consume whole foods at regular mealtimes.

While were on the subject, I often have conversations with young athletes who replace meals with a protein shake. This increases their risk of missing out on key nutrients for both health and athletic performance.

Consuming good old-fashioned chocolate milk on-the-go can be a great way to increase calories while meeting additional protein intake demands. Chocolate milk is highly underrated among parents, coaches, and health practitioners who are concerned about too much sugar. However, chocolate milk offers electrolytes and 8 grams of high-quality protein per cup, and it replenishes glycogen stores and rehydrates just as well as Gatorade but with a better nutrient profile.

Many athletes are exhausted and often have a decreased appetite from tough training. Chocolate milk is tasty, convenient, and well-tolerated, and it makes for a great alternative recovery beverage. There are also high-protein chocolate milk beverages from companies like Fairlife, TruMoo, and more.

How Many Grams Of Protein Per Day Do You Need

In general, active people and athletes have the highest requirements. Endurance and strength training athletes, for example, need 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Your perfect protein number also depends on your body size as well as the type and length of your workouts. So, if you weigh 140 pounds and lift weights a few times a week, you would multiply 140 by 0.5 grams for a total of 70 grams of protein per day.

For my main meals I try to get at least 20-40 grams and then another 10-15 grams in each of my snacks, said Spartan Elite Racer Rose Wetzel. For breakfast its usually oatmeal with flax and chia seeds, almond milk, and a simple protein shake. I love leftovers for lunch and then one of my go-to dinners is a baked herbed chicken with roasted potatoes.

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