Proteins are one of the most important structural components of all tissues, including muscles, where they also play an important role in energy storage.
In contrast to other energy sources such as lipids and carbohydrates, proteins have no storage in our body. Because of this, they need to be consumed balanced every day to ingest the daily requirements, especially, for people with an exercise routine.
A diet rich in proteins is essential for a healthy life, particularly for athletes. Despite the current daily dietary reference intake (DRI) is of 0.8 g per kilogram of body weight, organizations such as the American Dietetic Association and the American College of Sports Medicine suggest that it should be higher for athletes (1.2 to 1.7g per kilogram). The last is very important because proteins play an important role in both, recovery phase and new muscle building.
During exercise, the muscle fibres may be damaged and, to restore normal function, they must be repaired. To achieve this, cell membranes are renewed and new proteins are synthesized, especially creatine. External sources of proteins provide the elementary units, called amino acids, that are essential for the synthesis of endogenous proteins. The lack of them,delays the restoration of muscle functions and compromises the performance of the athlete.
In addition, during the recovery phase, the energy deposits that are depleted during exercise are replenished. It is particularly improved by combining proteins with some carbohydrates.Therefore, the protein intake after exercise directly promotes the structural and energetic restoration of the muscles.
Protein intake before and after exercise promotes muscle growth. This is achieved through the generation of new fibres and the synthesis and deposition of high amounts of endogenous proteins. In addition, it promotes the adaptation of muscle fibre, increases its strength and favors the deposit of energy units.
Nature provides a variety of protein sources, from which animal sources offer most of the essential amino acids required. Chicken, eggs, nuts, milk and its derivatives are the sources used more often. Some athletes prefer to obtain proteins and amino acids from supplements, which include: bars, shakes and capsules.
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