Sitting on your couch as you turn on the television to watch your favourite football match or maybe a game of tennis, isn't that one perfect way to spend the day? But have you ever wondered or taken interest into knowing how much energy your star requires to spend those 2-3 hours on field? Endurance athletes require fighting tooth and nail to reach the last shot and give justice to their years of hard work. Unlike strength athletes who also require immense energy but for lesser duration, the former players continue for longer periods, hence getting more prone to the wear and tear of muscles.
Running, swimming or cycling, the expansion of an endurance athlete’s energy is more than any average person. They require additional nutrients to build strength and recover muscles after intense physical activities. Protein is the building block of muscles and protein for athletes is essential for quick recovery after intense training and workout. Everyone knows for a fact that there are 9 amino acids among 20 that are essential and needs to be ingested through diet. Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine are the significant “EAAs” and fall under the BCAA category - Branched Chain Amino Acids.
A total of 1.2 g to 1.7 g protein per kg body weight is recommended for endurance athletes and this can be gained easily by combining nutritional foods rich in this macronutrient such as:
- Eggs: Eggs have been a controversial food since ages because of their high cholesterol content. However, eggs do not increase cholesterol levels unless taken as per one’s daily diet and nutrition requirement. In fact, the food is the perfect protein source carrying a complete 1.0 PDCAAS (Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score) value and 6-7 grams protein per egg
- Milk: Another perfect protein source for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians, milk can be consumed in many forms. While many prefer adding it as a breakfast option complementing other foods, one can also blend it in smoothies, shakes and many more
- Soy: Considered the best plant source of protein, soy can be added by a vegan too. Salads, burgers, curry, tacos and soups are some delicious ways to get the best of soy protein. Alternatively, athletes looking for quick protein after competition can go for soy milk, which is available in an exceptional range of yum flavours!
- Salmon: Salmons not only add enough protein to diet, but is also known as the king of omega-3 fatty acids necessary for a healthy heart, brain and immunity. It also works as an anti-inflammatory for the body and is recommended to be added at least twice a week
- Chicken Breast: Probably one of the favourite foods of an Indian non-vegetarian diet, chicken has several nutritional benefits with the highest one being protein rich. Those looking forward to tasty protein after workout must know that a single piece weighs 28 grams of the macronutrient and what's the best part? It can be prepared in dozens of ways! Grilled, boiled, roast or a spicy curry, you can always enjoy your meal of chicken
While this is a list of just a few foods, there are many others such as almonds, tuna, beans and turkey that can be added based on an athlete’s diet requirement and interest. Also, ensure that other nutrients are added in proportionate amounts to every plate of protein rich foods and gain maximum results before, during and after competition.