Proper nutrition is essential to help not only athletes recover from competitions, but also you after your workout. It is widely accepted that carbohydrates are a critical fuel source during exercise and also play a major role in promoting recovery after exercise (ideally consumed within 30 minutes upon completion of workout). However, the importance of protein is less understood (ideally consumed within an hour upon completion of workout).
There is no doubt that protein ingestion helps recovery from exercise, but questions remain regarding the optimal amount and type of protein needed in order to optimize recovery in skeletal muscle.
How much protein do you need?
The current dietary reference intake (DRI) for protein for persons over 18 years of age, irrespective of physical activity status, is 0.8 g per kilogram of body weight per day (i.e. 80 g of protein for a 220-pound person).
However, many sports nutrition experts have concluded that protein requirements are higher for athletes. The additional protein may be needed in order to promote muscle adaptation during recovery from exercise in several ways.
Protein recommendations for endurance athletes are 1.2 to 1.4 g per kilogram of body weight per day, whereas those for resistance and strength-trained athletes may be as high as 1.6 to 1.7 g per kilogram of body weight per day.
These recommended protein intakes can generally be met through diet alone, without the use of protein or amino acid supplements.