Rider Nutrition: Not Enough Protein?
Your muscles are one of your most significant assets when you ride. Without them, you can’t do anything productive on your bike – like steer, balance yourself, grip the bike, and so on. This is all put at risk if there’s not enough protein in your diet.
It’s also safe to say that building stronger muscles is critical to be a better rider, whether for competition or hobby.
I’m sure you understand that you need to work out and train to build and strengthen your muscles. But you might be shooting yourself in the foot by not following the second part of building stronger muscles…
…Getting enough protein.
Protein is the most important nutrient for muscle growth, but it’s also the most difficult to consume enough of. In this article, I’m going to talk about the dangers of not eating enough protein daily, and how you can help make sure you’re getting your daily dose of muscle food?
What Is Protein?
Protein is not only essential to building muscle. It’s also essential to your overall health.
Protein is THE building block of amino acid.
It’s involved in nearly every process inside of your body and is essential to maintaining your body’s proper functionality – from making up immune molecules and hormones to synthesizing additional proteins.
For riders, protein is the nutrient that not only builds stronger muscles, but also supplies energy, repairs cell damage, and speeds recovery after the inevitable crash.
Effects Of Not Enough Protein In Your Diet
If you feed a dog his normal meal but accidentally leave the dog food bag open, what is he most likely going to do once he’s eaten the food in the bowl?
He’s going to get into the dog food bag and start eating out of it, as much as he possibly can.
That’s basically what your body will do to your muscles if you don’t feed it enough protein (amino acids) from the foods you eat every day. It will start making amino acids by breaking down your muscles.
That loss of muscle mass is usually your first sign that your body is deprived of the proper amount of protein. But it’s not the only sign.
Your body will also not be able to effectively fight off immune-related diseases because your immune system can’t produce enough antibodies.
That makes you more susceptible to infections, disease, and general sickness. As a result, this increased risk of illness naturally hinders your ability to ride and practice as you should. Not to mention, it’s also detrimental to your overall health.
Some other negative side effects of getting not enough protein can include:
- Increased irritability
- Skin conditions
- Loss of hair and changes to hair texture.
- In extreme cases, shock or death
How to Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Protein
Now that we’ve established why protein is so important, we’ll now go over a few tips and tricks to help make sure you’re getting enough of it daily:
Know how much protein you need daily. The typical active person should strive to consumer .30g of protein per pound of body weight. However, athletes should try to consume around 1g of protein per pound of body weight. If you don’t know where you stand between average and athlete, always lean toward more protein, but be careful, too much protein can be just as bad!
Swap out your snacks. Most people tend to consume more simple carb-heavy foods for snacks (chips, crackers, cookies, etc.). Instead, substitute those foods for healthier and higher protein alternatives, like jerky, nuts, seeds, or protein powders.
Have a lean protein with EVERY meal. Don’t ever eat a meal without a solid source of lean protein (chicken breast, lean red meat, etc.). Additionally, try to include a good source of plant-based protein (beans, whole grains, etc.).
Use powders. There’s no easier way to make sure you’re getting enough protein than to use protein powders. They’re quick and easy to prepare and pack a lot of protein in a small serving size.
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