It’s no secret that optimal diet improves athletic performance and recovery after exercise. Simply put, a good exercise program requires a good diet. One of the essential elements of good nutrition for someone in training is protein, which is used to repair muscles so you can come back stronger. The big question you might have is how much protein is enough?
It's important to figure out how much is optimal for you. The two main factors to consider are your activity level and your weight. In addition, if you want to put on muscle you may want to consider increasing your protein intake more than the average athlete.
Most people recognize that the standard RDA dose of protein is too low. The RDA recommends consuming .8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight. While this is enough to get by we do not believe that this is an optimal dose of protein.
How Much for Anaerobic/Resistance Training?
The experts have weighed in on that subject and they have some reassuring advice. A paper by the Dietitians of Canada recommends that resistance training athletes eat 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day. Dr. Susan Kleiner, author of Power Eating, recommends going as high as 2.2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight.
The real is to experiment with different amounts until you find what your body needs.
How About Aerobic Training?
If you are doing aerobic training you will need slightly less. The experts recommend 1.2 to 1.4 grams per kilogram. Whatever your exercising routine, remember that in order to get the most out of the protein you consume, you will have to include it in a diet that provides enough energy (healthy fats and carbohydrates) to maintain your weight.
How Do You Get Enough?
There are many foods that are high in protein. Fish, chicken, turkey, and lean beef all cram 20+ grams of protein into a 3 ounce serving. For vegetarians and vegans, legumes and grains are a wonderful source. However, in today’s busy world, it’s not always easy to get enough high quality protein in your diet.
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