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Runners, Check Your Protein Sources


Are You Eating The Best Proteins?

It’s not rocket science to know that runners need more protein in their diet than non-athletes since they’re constantly building muscle and burning fuel during every training workout and beyond.

How Much Protein To Eat And When

A recent Runner’s World article discussed baseline protein intake for runners.  If you run for about an hour most days, you probably need around .6 grams of protein per pound of body weight (adjust upward if you run more.) So a 130 pound runner would need 78 grams of protein (130 x .6=78)

Be sure to spread out your protein intake over three or more meals, don’t just eat it once or twice a day. Ideally, your body may do best if you can get some protein and fat every time you eat carbs. (Keeps blood sugars and hormones more stable.)

Dropping A Few LBs

If you have an additional goal of losing weight, you may want to try upping your protein, especially at breakfast.

In a study by the U.S. Army, dieters who ate twice the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein while cutting calories lost more fat and kept more lean muscle than those who stuck with the RDA. Another study from the University of Missouri found that eating a high-protein breakfast (with 35 grams of protein), as opposed to one low in protein (with 13 grams), curbed participants’ appetites later in the day and reduced cravings for high-fat, high-sugar snacks in the evening.

Best Proteins For Runners

Runners need to select quality protein that contains branched-chain amino acids (BCAA’s). These acids are key in supporting muscle recovery. Leucine, in particular, helps stimulate protein building after exercise. Eggs, chicken, pork, and lean beef are some of the richest sources of leucine. You can also get it from fish, soy, [stick with natural soy like tempeh, miso and natto] and whey, a type of protein found in dairy that the body can quickly digest and use to rebuild muscle postworkout. Legumes, nuts, and whole grains also supply protein in smaller amounts. Eating a variety of these foods will provide a balance of amino acids.

These studies are confirmation that runners need to give themselves license to eat plenty of normal, whole foods, including good fats such as olive oil, coconut oil and butter (yes, natural butter is good for most of us).

Check out the infograph below for more protein ideas.

You might try something simple and easy to make such as this Yum-alicious Asian Chicken and Vegetables.

Many thanks to Runner’s World for the original article quoted above.


Infograph courtesy of Vinchay Fit.