Protein is essential for muscle recovery after training and to support sports performance.
Athletes, including runners, should consume adequate amounts of protein, 1.2 to 2.3 g/kg body weight.
Protein sources include meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, cereals, nuts, and commercial protein products.
We have often told you that protein is essential, particularly for those who practice sports. In fact, athletic exertion tests the muscles, which, after more or less intense workouts, become fatigued and micro-injured. Therefore, to accelerate their rebuilding for the next training or competition, it is necessary to get protein.
Yet this topic is much more sensitive to those who practice crossfit or work out at the gym: understandably so, since the goal in these cases is to build as much muscle mass as possible.
Can runners then disregard it or take in random amounts? Of course not, they’d better be aware of both the function that protein has and the amounts that should never be lacking in their diets.
How much protein should you get in per day if you run?
An adult who is not particularly active or sedentary should take 0.9 g/kg, or 0.9 grams per kg of body weight. In other words, if you weigh 75 kg, you should take in 67.5 grams of protein per day. However, this amount is insufficient if you practice sports, such as running. In this case, it is a good dietary habit to get at least 1.2 to 1.5 g/kg. If you lift weights and need to increase muscle mass, the recommended doses go up to 1.8-2.3 g/kg.
However, things are not so simple: those who do a lot of workouts and accumulate high mileage-according to dietitian Ashley Ludlow-should take in as much as those who lift weights or close to it.
To summarize: depending on the route you take or the intensity of your workouts, it may be that your athlete profile, at least from the point of view of protein intake, lies in a spectrum between 1.2 and 2.3 g/kg, where the lower values fit those who train 2 to 3 times a week and the higher values fit those who have very intense programs, up to ultra or ultratrail runners.
The need for protein intake can also be seen from another perspective: in fact, protein serves both to rebuild muscle tissue after training and to ensure that you have enough and strong protein during. In other words, a correct and sufficient intake first ensures that your body does not have to “break” your muscles to fuel itself.
Where do you get all this protein?
Turning to the practical side: what are what’s for dinner? Or more generally: how can you make sure you are eating enough protein? The easiest way is to eat foods that are rich in it, which does not mean you have to eat a steak a day, partly because you would unbalance your diet and expose yourself to other dietary deficiencies.
Protein is present in so many foods that you have plenty of choice whether you are omnivorous or vegetarian or even vegan.
Where can you find it? Not only in meat but also in eggs (by far the food with the most protein, i.e., 100 percent), fish, cheese, yogurt, milk, soy, rice, beans, lentils, quinoa, wheat, nuts, and potatoes.
The market has also made high-protein energy bars available, and it is now common to find baked goods or cookies with particularly high protein content.
If, however, you want to have a “carnivore” reference, an 8-ounce steak contributes about 62 grams of protein, while a little more than an 8-ounce serving of fish contributes about 22 grams to your body.
However, if you are still unclear, Maghetta has some advice for you with a series of recipes. Here they are!