In the coming weeks, you're going to hear an awful lot about nutrition. We'll talk all about proteins, fats, carbohydrates (carbs), minerals, and vitamins. My goal is to help make sure you know exactly what you need and why you need it – regardless of your current knowledge on the subject. This post will be our first step on that road.
When thinking about the body and its needs, it helps to compare it to something we're all familiar with: a car. A typical car body, for example, is made from specific materials, such as steel, that give it shape and strength. If we were to compare this to your body’s materials, we'd be talking about protein. Muscles, hair, nails, and even your antibodies (which help protect you from sickness) are examples of body parts made from protein.
Now, you've got an idea of what protein is; you know that you need it, but where do you find it? Fortunately, there are great forms of protein available to everyone, including vegans and vegetarians. Protein can be found in abundance in foods ranging from chicken to milk, from beef to nuts and seeds, from pork to fish, beans, and legumes – and is even found in some fruits. The key is that you get enough protein. For an athlete, daily protein needs can range between 1.4-1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight. As a simple rule, I tend to recommend approximately 100 grams for a 150-pound athlete. Just remember: variety is the spice of life. Each protein source will have different nutrients within it, so get your protein from a range of the sources mentioned above.
I hope that you've now got a good understanding of what exactly protein is and how it affects you. Stay tuned next week when I'll talk carbs: the body’s fuel of choice.