Protein Requirements For Runners, Cyclists, & Other Endurance Athletes

EndurElite Chief Endurance Officer Matt Mosman discusses how much protein endurance athletes should be eating daily to promote optimal muscle repair and recovery.

Video Transcription:

Behold, the protein tower of power. We have cheese. We have fish. We have eggs. We have turkey? Gross. We have beef. And we have protein powder. Protein, protein, protein, aaaah.

Good morning Endurance friends. Matt Mosman, Chief Endurance Officer over at EndurElite, the maker of premium supplements for endurance athletes and endurance training and supplement expert. So you can probably tell by the intro to this video, we're gonna be talking about protein today and more specifically, protein and the endurance athlete. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna tell you how much protein you should be eating on a daily basis and kind of how you should space that total amount out through the day.

How Much Protein Do Endurance Athletes Need?

Now right off the bat, you're gonna not need as much protein on a daily basis as the gym bros who are trying to put on muscle mass. You're gonna need slightly less than that and for different reasons. So, let's just jump right into this and get you all the good info on your protein requirements and why you should be eating this much.

So as an endurance athlete, you should be eating 0.45 to 0.72 grams of protein per pound body weight daily. Now like I said, as an endurance athlete, you're not looking on to put on more muscle mass in most circumstances. There are situations where you might want to do that but for you, that amount of protein is gonna be required to promote optimal muscle repair and recovery. Also, the BCAAs from protein consumption can also provide energy during endurance exercise and can also help blunt fatigue.

You May Need More Protein If You Are A Vegetarian

So, 0.45 to 0.72 grams per pound body weight. I will throw one caveat in here. If you are a vegetarian, you may want to up that protein amount to 1 gram per pound of body weight. And why this is, is usually plant-based proteins have a poorer amino acid profile than a diet that includes meats and things like that. So in order to get the right amount of amino acids, especially BCAAs, you may need to up your protein requirement there.

What Are The Best Sources Of Protein For Athletes?

So how do you get this amount of protein? How should you spread it out through the day? So obviously like the foods I mentioned in the beginning, your lean meats, your cheeses, your eggs, are all good sources of protein. So say for a guy like me who's 160 pounds, my protein requirements would be anywhere from 72 grams of protein per day up to 115 grams of protein per day. Now kind of in that range, where you're gonna fall really depends on how long and how intense you're training on a weekly basis. Obviously, if you're like in a base training phase where the mileage is low and the intensity is low, you might be towards the end of that range, more towards like the 0.5 grams per pound of body weight. Where if you're, you know, ultra-elite and training really hard, you're gonna be up at that upper end of the 0.72 grams per pound body weight.

How Often Should Athletes Eat Protein?

Now, how you want to space this throughout the day is basically you want to try to consume protein every three to four hours if you can to optimally promote muscle protein synthesis and that's just basically a big fancy physiological process that describes the process that helps muscles repair and recover. So breakfast should include about 20 to 25 grams of protein. Maybe after that, have a snack three, four hours later with 15 to 20 grams of protein. Lunch, include another 25 grams of protein and then just kind of cycle through for your next snack, dinnertime and before bed. So with each meal or snack, you want to be getting anywhere from about 20 to 25 grams of protein or a little less, again depending on your protein requirements to optimally promote muscle protein synthesis.

What About The Different Protein Powders And Are They Good For Athletes?

Now what if it's really hard for you to meet your protein requirements through a whole food diet? It's really hard for me, especially up at the upper end of protein requirements. I just can't eat enough like lean meats or eggs or cheese to get up to that. So if you find yourself in that boat, here's what I want you to do. I want you to grab your significant other, I want you to grab your best friend, and I want you to go have a 3Whey, a 3Whey shake that is.

So as EndurElite doesn't sell a protein now, I get a lot of questions on what protein powder I recommend, and this would be probably one of my favorites. This is a 3Whey, a very clever play on words, by Kodiak Sports Nutrition. Now why I like this protein is basically for three reasons. One, it has 26 grams of protein per serving from three different whey sources, whey isolate, whey concentrate, and whey hydrolysate. So very fast absorbing proteins to really promote muscle protein synthesis or muscle repair and recovery throughout the day or after a hard workout or whatnot. Two, it tastes absolutely phenomenal. It's like eating a dessert. And the third reason, if you're in a crunch and you don't have weights, you can actually use this to do curls with and get huge biceps and whatnot. So one of my top recommendations, definitely check them out. Again, it's called 3Whey by Kodiak Sports Nutrition, highly recommended.

So that is about it on protein for today. If you like this video, please share with your friends. If you want more content like this, go to where we have a plethora of endurance information from training, to nutrition, to supplementation, to gear reviews, and everything else in between.

So until next time, stay fueled, stay focused, stay fast, and eat your protein.