Protein Needs and Summer Grilling

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Grilling out during the summer is a sure-fire way to satisfy your protein needs, along with your appetite. However, endurance and strength athletes require different amounts of protein. Here's how to determine your needs and some lean sources to satisfy them.

How much protein do you really need? Essentially, it comes down to the amount in a piece of chicken, a few cups of milk or another high quality source. It doesn't mean living off protein will have added benefits. However, protein does provide additional calories, which are needed as you engage in a rigorous training schedule. Of course, if extra calories are needed, they should also come from whole grain, high-fiber foods. 

Endurance athletes It's typically recommended that endurance athletes increase their intake of protein from 1.2 to 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight [.6 to 0.7g/lb./body weight]. The truth is, as you use more energy to fuel your training, you must increase your daily caloric intake to maintain a normal body weight. The increase in calories should be complemented with additional protein as well.

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Grilling out during the summer is a sure-fire way to satisfy your protein needs, along with your appetite. However, endurance and strength athletes require different amounts of protein. Here's how to determine your needs and some lean sources to satisfy them.

How much protein do you really need? Essentially, it comes down to the amount in a piece of chicken, a few cups of milk or another high quality source. It doesn't mean living off protein will have added benefits. However, protein does provide additional calories, which are needed as you engage in a rigorous training schedule. Of course, if extra calories are needed, they should also come from whole grain, high-fiber foods. 

Endurance athletes
It's typically recommended that endurance athletes increase their intake of protein from 1.2 to 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight [.6 to 0.7g/lb./body weight]. The truth is, as you use more energy to fuel your training, you must increase your daily caloric intake to maintain a normal body weight. The increase in calories should be complemented with additional protein as well.

Strength athletes
Beginning strength training athletes have the highest protein needs as their bodies acclimate to the new stressor. This increase seems to subside a bit as individuals become more seasoned in the weight room. To allow for optimal recovery and continued hypertrophy, protein needs must increase. Research suggests that strength athletes need approximately 1.5 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight [0.7 to 0.8 g/lb./body weight].

The key is to focus on a variety of protein sources. Top lean options for the grill include*:

•    Bison [145 calories // 24g protein // 5g fat]
•    Pork tenderloin [122 calories // 22g protein // 3g fat]
•    Boneless, skinless chicken breast [95 calories // 20g protein // 1g fat]
•    Yellowfin tuna [92 calories // 20g protein // 0.8g fat]
•    Salmon [156 calories // 17g protein // 9g fat]
•    Shrimp [90 calories // 17g protein // 1.5g fat]

*Nutrition information for a three-ounce serving

For more information about making smart food decisions for optimal performance, check out www.FuelLikeAChampion.com


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock