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Protein, the forgotten macronutrient in endurance athletes
May 1, 2021
Mitch

Carbs are very important for endurance athletes, but what about protein´s role? 🤔

⚠️Endurance athletes need more than just carbs; adequate protein intake and timing of intake are crucial to any athlete, whether endurance or resistance trained.
Insufficient protein intake leads to a decrease in muscle mass, which can impact performance.
Athletes should pay more attention to protein requirements, which is higher than the recommended daily intake for sedentary peers.
It´s recommended to consume 1.2–2.0 g/kg/day and 20-40 grams after exercise - with an emphasis on leucine content - and at regular intervals every 2-3h.

It is well known that prolonged endurance training sessions lead to fatigue and muscle damage and this is where nutrition strategy comes in.
Consuming protein after exercise would support the process of glycogen re-synthesis ⛽️ and facilitate repair of skeletal muscle 💪 . It might also mitigate the rise in plasma proteins associated to myofibrillar damage and decrease muscle soreness.

Depending on the intensity, duration and the availability of other energy sources, protein can also provide fuel for exercise. This is more likely to happen if muscle glycogen storage is low.

A well planned nutritional strategy ✍🏽 should be designed to improve performance, reduce fatigue and speed up recovery

References: Vitalke K, 2019; Burke LM, 2019 and Ravindra PV, 2020.