The optimal amount of protein for athletes and exercisers has been debated ad nauseam, as have other issues related to protein. Finally, last year, the International Society of Sports Nutrition took a positive research based position on protein, saying, really, what we have believed in at Parrillo Performance for decades. Let me give you a run down of what this information tells us – and my take on it as it relates to your nutrition and training.
The Society has put together seven points related to the intake of protein for healthy, exercising individuals:1) Vast research supports the contention that individuals engaged in regular exercise training require more dietary protein than sedentary individuals. Absolutely! What stirred the debate early on was that the National Research Council put the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein intake at 0.8 grams protein per kg body weight per day (g/kg/day). This works out to be 0.36 grams per pound body weight each day (g/pound/day), which is 56 grams per day for a typical male and about 72 grams per day for a 200 pound bodybuilder. This value was determined to be the amount required by most of the average population – not for athletes or other very active people. The RDA protein recommendation may be enough for sedentary people but endurance athletes and very muscular athletes need more.2) Protein intakes of 1.4 – 2.0 g/kg/ day for physically active individuals is not only safe, but may improve the training adaptations to exercise training. On The Parrillo Performance Nutrition Program, we recommend that bodybuilders consume 1.5 grams or more of protein a day per pound of body weight. At least one gram per pound of body weight should come from lean proteins, with the remaining .
5 gram per pound of body weight coming from starchy and fibrous carbs. We’ve seen bodybuilders greatly improve their physiques by following these guidelines.3) When part of a balanced, nutrient dense diet, protein intakes at this level are not detrimental to kidney function or bone metabolism in healthy, active persons. True, there is no evidence suggesting that strength athletes consuming a high protein diet have an increased incidence of kidney disease. The data suggesting that a high protein diet contributes to the progressive nature of kidney disease come from people with pre existing kidney problems.4) While it is possible for physically active individuals to obtain their daily protein requirements through a varied, regular diet, supplemental protein in various forms are a practical way of ensuring adequate and quality protein intake for athletes. Amen – which is why Parrillo Performance has a full range of protein supplements available to you.
To help you meet your protein needs, for example, we have developed Hi-Protein Powder™. Each serving provides 31 grams of ultra quality protein. Other highvprotein supplements include our Protein Bars™, 50/50 Plus™ powders, Optimized Whey Protein™ supplements, and All-Protein™.5) Different types and quality of protein can affect amino acid bio-availability following protein supplementation. The superiority of one protein type over another in terms of optimizing recovery and/ or training adaptations remains to be convincingly demonstrated. Our protein supplements give you a variety of protein types, from whey to casein, and all have benefits. For example, research shows that whey protein diets increase the amount of glutathione in body tissues. Glutathione is a peptide (an amino acid derivative) that is involved in strengthening immunity. The elevation of glutathione has been shown to inhibit the development of several types of tumors, according to numerous studies. Whey protein is found in the following products: Optimized Whey Protein™, Hi-Protein Powder™, 50/50 Plus Powder™, Parrillo Sports Nutrition Bars™, Parrillo Protein Bars™, Parrillo Energy Bars™, Protein Chew Bars™, Pancake & Muffin Mix™ and Cake & Cupcake Mix™. We also offer our All-Protein Pow-der™, which covers just about every protein base there is.
Plus it’s fortified with amino acids: glycine, l-glutamine, l-leucine, l-isoleucine, and l-valine. Our suggested usage is one or more serv-ings (2 scoops mixed with 8 ounces or ¼ liter of water or beverage) taken as needed with or between meals, and taken before, during, and after workouts. All-Protein Powder™ can also be mixed with food as needed.6) Appropriately timed protein intake is an important component of an over-all exercise training program, essential for proper recovery, immune function, and the growth and maintenance of lean body mass. Used to be that carbs took precedence over any other nutrient as a post-workout recovery agent. Not any more. Protein is equally as im-portant and pairs up with carbohydrate as a double punch for muscle building. Various research studies have proved that a carbohydrate/protein supplement triggers the greatest elevations in insulin and growth hormone levels in exercising study subjects. Clearly, protein works hand in hand with post-exercise carbs to create a hormonal environment that promotes the greatest increase in muscle growth.
This nutrient combination also jump-starts your body’s glycogen-making process — faster than if you just consumed carbs. Research has found that a balanced amino mixture (0.15 gm per kg of body weight) taken immediately after resistance exercise will produce a better anabolic effect than when the same mixture was taken later. We think one of the best times to take our 50/50 Plus™ or protein supplements is right after you train, based on this cutting edge research. If you want to take your recovery efforts up one more notch, consider supplementation with 50/50 Plus™, Hi-Protein™, Opti-mized Whey Protein™ and All-Protein™.7) Under certain circumstances, specific amino acid supplements, such as branched-chain amino acids (BCAA’s), may improve exercise performance and recovery from exercise. Parrillo Performance sup-plies BCAAS in its Muscle Amino Formula™. A good time to use this product is immediately before and after training, as well as with meals. Hard dieting is a great time to supplement with branch-chain amino acids. During times of energy insufficiency (dieting), your body will actually break down its own muscle to use as fuel if no other is available. Catabolism is a dreadful metabolic state that occurs when glycogen stores have been depleted and fat oxidation has maximized. Metabolically, your body requires a certain level of glucose (blood sugar) to be maintained in order for the brain to function. While body fat provides a long-lasting energy supply, fat cannot be converted into carbohydrate by the human body. But protein (amino acids) can.
Under adverse conditions, carbohydrates are exhausted and your body breaks down protein stores (muscle tissue) to convert into carbohydrate to supply energy. Branched-Chain Amino Acids are effective because they form a substrate for growth and are metabolized as fuel directly within muscle cells. A handful of Muscle Amino Formula™ capsules will help prevent the onset of catabolism and has both anabolic and anti-catabolic properties. Hi-Protein™ and Optimized Whey™ are fortified with extra BCAAs for just this reason. We suggest two or more with every meal. Remember that BCAAs require insulin for ab-sorption into muscle cells so take them with food (carbs) rather than on an empty stomach!For more information on protein and athletes, read the “International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise,” published in the September 2007 issue of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.