In Sports Nutrition Protein is a Plus
for Women Everyday

In sports nutrition protein is a popular topic. Protein is substance in food that is needed to build and repair your body, but only a small amount is used for muscular work. Protein can be used as a primary source of fuel in an emergency, but then the building and repairing is compromised. A poor balance of protein can impact your sports performance.

  • Am I eating foods that contain protein?

  • The higher protein foods are meats (poultry, fish, beef, pork), meat substitutes (eggs, beans, nuts and seeds), and milk/soy. Vegetables contain a smaller amount of protein. Fruits, sugars and oils contain low to no protein. Some nutrition bars are protein-rich, but make sure they are still within your calorie goals.

  • Can a high protein diet impact my sports performance?

  • A high protein diet could lessen your energy levels if the proteins are taking the place of enough carbs. Also, protein over and above your needs may put you at a calorie overload, leading to weight gain. Too few proteins could limit recovery of muscle tissue and reduce your body’s overall immunity. A balance of protein is your best bet. The whole foods section of this site can provide you a general idea of food choices that provide basic levels of protein. Also remember that maintaining muscle mass goes beyond sports nutrition protein…you need to work the muscles, too! Don’t forget to strength train!

  • I’m a vegetarian. Can I get enough protein in my diet?

  • Absolutely, and you get the benefit of great carbs and healthy fats, too! Beans, nuts, nut butter, soy and seeds provide protein, but remember their fiber content may require you to eat these foods after training. Go by your own tolerance. Lacto-ovo vegetarians can use eggs and milk products for protein, too. As a vegetarian make sure you are getting enough calories so that you don't burn your protein calories for energy. Also, you may need to eat more plant proteins and a good variety of plant proteins to assure you are getting enough amino acids and due to absorption issues with plant proteins.

  • I want to eat the proteins that enhance my sports performance. Which ones should I choose?

  • There is no magic protein choice. Trial and error during training will help you determine which ones you tolerate better (not gassy or an over-full feeling) and which ones just make you feel better. Eating protein during an extended event may help you sustain your overall energy level and eating protein after an event will help with muscle recovery.

  • Do I need the sports nutrition protein supplements I’ve been using?

  • It depends on your sports performance goals and current diet. Most active women get plenty of protein in their diet. Make sure you’re getting enough carbs and check your calories before you go crazy with a protein supplement. If carbs and calories are in check, then a protein supplement may fit in. For some women, a soy or whey-based protein drink may be a convenient way to get nutrition.

    Learn more about sports nutrition protein supplements.

    Email me with your protein questions!