What is the role of protein for exercise?

Protein is responsible for rebuilding your muscle tissues after exercise and also plays a minor role in producing energy under more extreme training conditions. The complete proteins we consume (e.g. meats, fish, dairy, eggs, etc.) are made up of the same amino acids that make up our muscles. After we consume the protein, our body breaks it down to amino acids and incorporates them into our tissues as needed. Exercise causes muscles to demand more protein than under sedentary conditions because exercise, and especially unaccustomed exercise, does structural damage to the tissues. The structural damage gives to body a reason to rebuild the tissues stronger and/or bigger so that they can handle the continuing challenges. Without protein, the body cannot perform this function and therefore you must supply it through the diet if you want to recover and build properly. Exercisers and athletes generally have a higher protein requirement than their sedentary counterparts. Additionally, proper timing of protein ingestion around the workout (30 minutes before and immediately after) and spread evenly throughout the day can dramatically enhance exercise-induced results. The dotFIT program has the ideal athletic menus individualized for each person including proper protein requirements, meal timing and complete food plans. Simply fill in your personal statistics and create your program. As a simple “rule of thumb,” if you consume 1gm of protein per pound of body weight, you will cover all your protein needs and more will not add more muscles. Below are the protein recommendations for exercisers and athletes:

Table 13—Protein Dosage Recommendations for Athletes

 Strength Athletes/Off-Season Bodybuilders Active Recreational Athletes Endurance Athletes

Minimum acceptable intake  1 g/kg/d 1 g/kg/d 1.4 g/kg/d

Adaptation period 1.6 to 2 g/kg/d 1.2 to1.8 g/kg/d 1.6 to 2 g/kg/d

The active recreational athletes' category also includes other competitive athletes not attempting body composition changes. The adaptation period is defined as significant physiological changes occurring due to participation in a new regime, progressive intensity, or high-intensity training. The adaptation period presumes that factors affecting protein requirements may be additive. Athletes participating in aerobic and anaerobic (mainly strength training) activities may need intakes at the upper end of the ranges.

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