Protein comes from most products that are in the meat group. It comes from fish, beef, poultry, pork, lamb, eggs, nuts and dairy products as well.
The amount of protein you eat will vary but it should be consumed at about 15 percent of the total amount of calories that you take in, still a significant amount and right behind that of carbohydrates.'
While carbohydrates will be used to provide your body with the energy it needs to go from one place to the next, protein is essential for building the body up so that it has the physical capabilities for that to happen.
Proteins are what give your body the necessary abilities to build new tissue in your body, to repair damaged tissues in your body and to maintain fluids throughout your body.
They do other things as well, but for the athlete, this is the most essential aspect to know.
What is important to note about protein is the body’s inability to store excess amounts of protein. Unlike that of the carbohydrate, it can not store it up to use when needed.
The body will use protein for its needs and then it will burn it for energy. If it does not need to use it for this matter, then it will convert the protein into fat and pack it onto your thighs, and everywhere else for that matter.
Therefore, balancing the right amount of protein in your diet is essential to the athlete competing to win.
What & How Much Do I Need?
When it comes to protein, there are several things that you need to carefully consider. How much you need is varied depending on these characteristics:
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- What type of exercising are you doing?
- What level of exercise are you doing in terms of intensity?
- How long will you be performing these exercises for?
- The total calories you are consuming also plays a role in how much you should intake.
- And, this also is dependant on the amount of carbohydrates that you are consuming.
Your level of fitness plays a role in the amount of protein your body needs.
If you are physically active, as most athletes are, your body will need more protein than if you were not active or were minimally so.
When you first begin your exercise program, you will need to increase the amount of protein calories you are taking in as well.
That is, you should increase them because your body will be building muscles faster and toning them faster at this time.
Your body will need additional protein calories then, but this will soon taper off when there is less muscle and tissue building taking place.
In your exercise type, your level of protein is very important. This is determined by how intense the exercise you are doing will be as well as the duration of the exercise as well.
Those that need endurance for a longer period of time will in fact need more protein so that it can be used to burn as fuel when you do run out of carbohydrates.
Those that are endurance runners, for example, need to have more protein in their diets than those that are short duration athletes.
If you are a body builder or you will be doing strength building exercises in general, you need to increase the intake of protein that you have as well.
Calorie intake also makes a difference.
If you eat the wrong amount of food, generally speaking, your body will resort to burning protein as fuel.
If you do not eat enough calories in your diet, your body has to go to the protein to burn for energy. It burns more protein then so you will need to increase the protein you eat.
Carbohydrates that you take in also play a role in the amount of protein that you need. If you do not eat enough carbohydrates, your body has to use protein to burn for energy.
If you start a race with lower levels of glycogen, you will end up burning more protein than you would otherwise. In fact, you can burn up to 10 percent more this way.
Of course, we said that you want your body to burn carbohydrates as opposed to burning proteins!
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