What do you think is the relationship between sports practice and protein? There are a ton of myths and lies around the subject that’ll probably make you misuse them, or not take full advantage of all their qualities.
The aim of this article is to address the relationship between protein and sport.
Definition of Protein
Do you know what the so-called protein concept is? We could synthesise it by explaining that they are biological macromolecules that are formed through 20 types of amino acids. But how are they formed? Through binding by polypeptide bonds.
It all starts when we take them through food: the stomach and intestines break the bonds so that your body can assimilate the amino acids. What are they going to be used for? They’re used to create new structures in the ribosome of the cells. What’s one of the myths related to this fact? That just by taking them your muscle mass will grow automatically. That’s not true.
Protein is an essential component of nutrition along with essential fatty acids. Carbohydrates, because of their energetic role, are interesting for the athletes. Protein consumption can range around 30% of your total daily diet. Specifically, if you practice sport regularly, you may need up to 1.8 to 2.5 grams of protein for every kilogram of lean weight (eliminating the amount of fat) that you possess.
How proteins influence physical performance
Your goal is to gain muscle mass? The relationship between protein and sport means that you have to be very careful to consume it properly.
What do you need? Your goal will only be achieved through exercise because of the stimulus. In addition, the wear and tear on your muscles and tissues from training and physical work will make regeneration necessary. What can proteins give you in this respect? An earlier recovery, creating new fibres that, with time, will make them grow.
Another incorrect viewpoint is to think that the more protein you consume, the more your muscles will grow. Your body needs a certain amount, and if you exceed it it will have to expel it in some way.
Recommended amount of protein according to your physical activity
Your physical activity will determine how much protein you should consume on a daily basis. One reference: the World Health Organization estimates that at least 0.8 grams of protein is needed for every kilogram of lean weight a person has. However, this figure, in the case of athletes, is really low.
Recommended amount of protein for anaerobic exercise
In a high-intensity sport, during which metabolism is carried out only in the muscles’ energy reserves, without making use of the oxygen coming from breathing. What are the most characteristic anaerobic sports? Weight lifting focused on muscular hypertrophy or sprinting.
What’s the objective of this type of exercise? To gain muscle mass through activities based on strength and power. The intake of protein has to look for the regeneration of tissues, having as a means a high intake of proteins. According to various studies, in the case of bodybuilders and athletes of, for example, the 100-meter sprint, they need to ingest between 1.8 and 2.5 grams of protein for every kilogram of lean weight they possess.
With regard to the type of protein needed by these types of athletes, it must be said that those with rapid absorption are ideal. So, those extracted from whey, preferably isolated, are the most recommended. However, this issue is quite relative and complex.
In fact, for those who train intensively to increase the volume of their muscles, it’s recommended that they should take medium absorption (egg) proteins on getting up, as well as quick release (whey) before training and ultra-fast (hydrolysed) just after. Finally, before going to sleep, slow absorption ones are recommended (casein).
Recommended amount of protein for aerobic or endurance exercise
This is the one that requires you to inhale and exhale oxygen through breathing. What sports are grouped into aerobics or endurance sports? Walking, cycling, skiing and running. In addition, at appropriate intensities, they are ideal for weight loss and fat burning.
You’ll need good reserves of carbohydrates and fat. But you should also bear in mind that proteins, although to a lesser extent than in the case of anaerobics, are also necessary. Think, in this respect, that the muscles suffer a great deal of wear and tear when, for example, you subject them to an hour-long session of running or spinning.
How much should you take if you practice this type of sport? Approximately 1.3 to 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of lean weight. Write down which type of proteins can bring you the most benefits: those with slow absorption or gradual release, such as casein and those extracted from soya. In any case, if you want to know more about it, take a look at our article on protein for runners.
It’s clear that the relationship is important and close, but you must pay attention to the type of sport you play to know how much you should take, and even which type will be most beneficial for you.
What’s clear is that, with it being complicated to obtain the requirements naturally, the optimal thing to do is to take protein supplements. This is even more important for those following a vegan diet.