Why do athletes who practice strength disciplines need proteins?
Strength discipline includes track and field events: throwing, jumping, running, as well as weightlifting and bodybuilding. The effects on proteins last longer after exertion than with endurance sports: 4–48 hours. The more the athletes train, the quicker proteins return to normal. Beginners can be affected for days!
This is not very surprising when you consider that strength discipline require an increase in muscle mass, for which a high level of availability of amino acids is needed, and therefore logically a higher protein intake.
In addition, strength training often requires eccentric muscle contractions or specific muscle mass development, which may cause lesions. It is proteins that create the muscle fibers necessary to repair these lesions.
Generally speaking, experienced athletes need 1.3-1.5g/kg/day. Athletes who want to increase their muscle mass need more protein (2-2.5g/kg/day).
The significant protein consumption required to develop muscle mass is often temporary; up to 6 months per year is recommended. What is interesting is that up to a third of this protein can come from nutritional supplements for athletes. This means that developing protein-enriched products for athletes is a smart decision.
Which proteins are the best choice for athletes?
Which proteins are the best for bodybuilding, strength and endurance disciplines mainly depends on their digestibility. Here, we must discuss postprandial bioavailability, which means the availability of food after eating and after digestion.
Animal proteins are easier to digest for the human body than plant-based proteins. They also have all the amino acids that the human body needs. Therefore milk proteins are such a good option. Cow’s milk and its derivatives are an excellent source of protein for athletes: 30g/l. They seem to be more efficient than soy proteins in the recovery phase after exertion in strength disciplines.
Sports nutrition products enriched with milk proteins are therefore particularly well-suited for a healthy diet for athletes who do not want to eat meat.