For athletes, including both endurance and power athletes, the need for protein is greater than it is for non-athletes. As a general rule, about 10 to 15 percent of an athlete's total calories should be from protein.
Why Does Your Body Need Protein?
Your body breaks down the protein you consume into amino acids, which are used for several purposes, including as an energy source. It's also an important component in every cell in the body as your body uses it to make hormones, enzymes and other body chemicals. It's an important building block of bones, muscle, cartilage, skin and blood.
Why Is Protein Important?
For Immune Function
Proteins are essential to immune function. Antibodies are actually proteins that your body sends out when it is exposed to potentially harmful substances such as bacteria and viruses. In turn, the antibodies seek out and attack the virus or bacteria.
As previously mentioned, proteins are found in every cell in your body, and as such they are considered structural proteins. In other words, they provide the structure for your body — including muscles, bones and other body parts. Without them, you would not be able to walk, run or stand.
Proteins carry sodium and potassium into cells (and out of them) to maintain the proper electrolyte balance. They also carry vitamins from your organs to your cells, while the protein hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen from your lungs to you cells.
Proteins are also vital in maintaining the pH balance of your body fluids, such as blood and saliva. Drastic changes in pH can lead to serious health issues.
For Losing Weight
When you digest proteins, your body burns more calories than it does when digesting fats or carbohydrates. Plus, a meal rich in protein will make you feel full for a longer period.
Sources Of Protein
Proteins found in these foods are excellent for building muscle:
- Red meat (pork, beef, venison, bison, etc.)
- Fish (salmon, tuna, bass, mackerel, etc.)
- Poultry breast (turkey, chicken, duck, etc.)
- Dairy (milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese, etc.)
If you're looking to get fit and build muscle, protein is a must. Let personal trainer Ralph Roberts help you navigate nutritional choices and exercises for these purposes.