You may have a heard a coach say it to your before: you need to eat more protein! And while you may have been told it helps build lean mass, there’s a lot more to protein than you may think. Protein is essential for us in so many ways – it supports muscle growth, promotes healthy brain function, and is vital for our immune function, metabolism, satiety, and performance. What does this mean for you? An improved mood, better recovery, weight management… just to name a few benefits!
When you engage in high intensity exercise the need for protein increases. Here’s why:
Protein doesn’t get stored in the body the same way fats and carbohydrates do. Maintaining our amino acid pool is like keeping a sink full without a drain plug – you have to keep the water running or the sink will become empty. What happens when this amino acid pool in our body runs dry? The body looks to our muscle fibers to support our energy needs. That’s right, all that muscle you’ve been trying to build can be ‘eaten’ by our body just to keep us functioning properly. Pretty counterproductive! Therefore, you need to maintain an adequate intake of protein every day.
Without adequate protein you may see:
* Trouble losing weight
* Low energy levels and fatigue
* Poor concentration
* Mood swings
* Muscle, bone and joint pain
* Low immunity
* Frequent injuries
Protein can also help to ensure a quick recovery from injuries as our body requires more protein (again, consistently) to repair itself.
The fact is, with regular endurance training you will be unable to support your muscle mass without sufficient protein. So make it your goal to increase your protein (about 1g per lb of of bodyweight is recommended) and start reaping the benefits!
Written by Chloe Powell