BY STEVE BORN
Many endurance athletes tend to focus on carbohydrate intake and pay little, if any, attention to protein. Part of the reason may be due to the many different types of protein available. It can get confusing! Additionally, very few endurance athletes know how much protein to consume on a daily basis. I’m going to help! Here are my answers to your questions about the type and amount of protein to consume.
Question: What protein should I be consuming?
Answer: With allowances given for dietary preferences and restrictions, I recommend a variety of healthy protein powders. Each supplies its own benefits, thus providing the most comprehensive support for an endurance athlete's diet.
Here are my choices:
Steve’s #1 Pick – Hammer Whey Protein
Unless you are allergic to dairy (not intolerant, allergic) or adhere to a vegetarian/vegan diet, you won’t find a better protein source for recovery and many aspects of overall health. Here are just a couple of reasons why:
- Superiority in protein measurement standards. No matter what measurement of protein quality is used—Biological Value (BV), Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER), Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS), or Net Protein Utilization (NPU)—whey protein comes out on top, with whey protein isolate being the preferred form of whey protein. Hammer Whey Protein is 100% whey protein isolate.
- Richest source of all nine essential amino acids. Histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine are designated as “essential” amino acids because they cannot be made by the body and must be obtained from outside sources. Whey protein isolate has the highest volume of all nine essential amino acids, including the all-important branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).
- Extraordinary immune-system boosting properties. Whey protein contains excellent levels of glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine—the three amino acids required for glutathione production. Glutathione is considered by many experts to be the number one antioxidant of all. Additionally, whey contains special proteins called immunoglobulins that stimulate immune function.
For more, see Hammer Whey Protein.
Steve’s #2 Pick – Organic Vegan Protein
For people who cannot tolerate dairy- or soy-based proteins and/or whose dietary preferences require the consumption of alternate protein sources, Hammer Nutrition’s Vegan Protein is the perfect solution! It contains the following five outstanding 100% organic, plant-based proteins:
- Organic Pea Protein: An easily digested protein with an excellent amino acid profile, containing leucine, isoleucine, valine (the three branched-chain amino acids), lysine, arginine, and glutamine.
- Organic Pumpkin Protein: Derived from the nutrient-rich seeds, pumpkin protein is a complete protein source abundant in antioxidants. It is also plentiful in vitamin K and the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and more.
- Organic Sacha Inchi: Derived from the seeds of the South American Plukenetia volubilis plant, sacha inchi is considered a complete protein source because it contains all nine essential amino acids. It is also an effective source of the essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
- Organic Spirulina: A microscopic single-celled alga, spirulina is a complete protein source. It has the highest concentration of protein by weight of any food. Spirulina is vitamin- and mineral-dense, rich in enzymes and antioxidants such as superoxide dismutase, and a powerful source of chlorophyll (second only to chlorella) and essential fatty acids. Spirulina is considered a blood-building nutrient, primarily due to its polypeptide content (called phycocyanin), and it is believed to help maintain digestive system health by serving as a food/fuel source for beneficial intestinal flora.
- Organic Chlorella: Another single-celled alga and complete protein, loaded with chlorophyll and essential fatty acids. Chlorella is perhaps the most vitamin- and mineral-dense "green food" available, and it contains a complete B vitamin profile. (Chlorella has more vitamin B12 by weight than liver!) Chlorella also contains naturally occurring RNA and DNA for assisting in cellular growth and repair.
Steve’s #3 Pick – Hammer Soy Protein
Though often (and incorrectly) maligned, soy is an exceptional protein for numerous general health benefits for both men and women. Soy protein contains multitudes of health-enhancing phytochemicals, which are believed to be beneficial for cardiovascular health, prostate health, optimizing cholesterol levels, helping protect against osteoporosis, and much more. (See Is Soy Protein Bad for Your Health?)
Question: How much protein do I need to consume on a daily basis?
Answer: Use the handy chart below to determine your daily protein needs! Augment the protein you consume in your diet with one or more of Hammer Nutrition’s protein powders to ensure you’re obtaining enough. Remember, no matter which Hammer Nutrition protein powders you choose, we guarantee they are ALL of the highest quality possible!