Sufficient protein consumption is important for athletes. The body requires protein to maintain muscle mass. Protein is also required for muscle strength and the synthesis of tendons, ligaments and bones. Plus, protein is essential for optimum regeneration after exercise.
Protein requirements for recreational sport
Protein requirements for recreational sport are often overestimated. If you do not exercise for more than five hours a week, the protein recommendation for healthy adults is perfectly sufficient. This amounts to 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Important to know: high protein intake without intensive training does not automatically lead to more muscle. Excess protein is stored as fat.
Protein requirements for aspiring athletes in popular and elite sport
If you do more than 5 hours of sport a week, you have an increased protein requirement. Aspiring athletes require between 1.2 and 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. The requirement depends on the type of sport, the training level and training goal.
It is recommended to cover the increased protein requirement with a combination of animal-derived and plant-based sources of protein. The latter include soya products such as tofu and other pulses such as lentils and chickpeas. High-protein products can help to meet the protein requirements.
Studies have shown that the timing of protein intake may also be relevant. A positive effect was observed when the proteins were consumed in a time period of up to a maximum of two hours after exercise.
Why not take a look at our guides? You will find more interesting articles on high-protein foods there.
Source: König et al.: Protein in sports nutrition. Position of the working group sports nutrition of the German Nutrition Society (DGE). Ernährungs Umschau 2020; 67(7): 132–9.