Do Exercisers Need Extra Protein in Their Diet?
I visited the local health food store to buy some groceries and happened to notice an entire wall full of high-protein powders, drinks, tablets, capsules and bars.
It’s a booming business but not one I’m involved in. You might think that as an experienced personal trainer I would have recommended clients add extra protein to their diet. But I didn’t.
The clients I worked with were average, regular people who were interested in improving health and maybe even losing a few pounds along the way. These people generally got enough protein in their diet. Feeding them more protein than they needed wouldn’t help.
As a matter of fact excess protein is converted to energy and then it’s either burned up or stored as fat.
A research study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association determined that the optimal intake of protein for those 18 years of age and older was 0.8 g of protein per kilogram body weight per day. In plain English, this means .36 grams per pound of body weight or for a 140-pound woman that’s about 50 grams. You can easily get this amount in your daily diet from Greek yogurt, eggs, chicken, tuna, and mixed nuts.
Now if you’re an elite athlete or strength-trainer you will need more protein due to the simple fact their bodies are being “abused.” The amount of protein for athletes should be at least .55 grams per pound per day. Depending upon your sport or training regimen, the daily requirement can even go as high as 1 gram/pound.
But unless you’re training for a marathon or entering a body building contest you most likely don’t need to add a lot of high-protein, high cost, powdered drinks or bars to your diet.