In order to keep up with the demand of the body on amino acids it is recommended that endurance athletes, due to their long bouts of exercise, consume 1.2-1.4 grams of protein per kilogram body weight per day (g/kg/d). For example, a 180 pound (lb.) person weighs about 82 kg (1 kg = 2.2 lbs.).
This means a 180 lb. person would need from 98-114 g. of protein per day to keep up with protein synthesis, energy demands, and other physiologic stresses. Of course, these recommendations and others to follow are contingent on the intake of adequate calories and portions of carbohydrate and fat in the diet to provide for your body’s primary energy needs.
The needs of strength athletes are slightly different from their endurance counterparts. The demands of strength training do not typically involve amino acid oxidation from the skeletal muscle, rather it is the trauma placed upon the myofibrils of the skeletal muscle which are the cause of increased protein needs. During strength training, if the intensity level is high enough, micro-tears will occur in the actin-myosin filaments, which are the basic unit of muscle contraction. These tears are also responsible for a phenomenon known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), which is the pain we feel a day or two after a hard training session.
In order for our body to synthesize proteins to repair the damaged tissue from an intense workout it is suggested that you consume from a range of 1.4-2.Og/kg/day of protein. So using the example of the 180 lb. person, about 115-164 g protein per day should be consumed by this particular strength athlete.
One ounce of lean meat, fish, or two egg whites contains 7 grams of complete protein (all essential amino acids available in necessary proportions for growth) . One cup (8 ounces) of milk contains 8 grams of complete protein. Vegetables in general contain 2 grams of incomplete protein. Breads, grains, and cereals provide 3 grams incomplete protein per serving. And as you may have guessed complete protein sources are better protein choices to support tissue-building and repair.
If you’re a vegetarian the variety of protein sources available to you can be just as beneficial as those available to non- vegetarians depending on the strictness of your vegetarian diet. Lacto-ovo- and fish-eating vegetarians have more options of foods that are already complete proteins in milk products, fish, and the most efficient of all proteins, eggs and egg whites, all of which can be wonderful post-work out foods. Vegans can get adequate protein from consuming beans, soy milk, whole grains and vegetables. Of course, post-work out you will want to consume the majority of your carbs prior to eating any fibrous vegetables due to their ability to slow down glucose entry into the bloodstream.