Why is protein important?
As OCR athletes, we likely know the important role nutrition and proper fuel plays during training. More specifically, optimal protein sources and intake play a critical role in workout recovery. Whether your OCR routine is focused on endurance training or functional/obstacle movements, your body needs protein in order to build and repair muscles.
How much protein do I need?
For the reasons already discussed, your high energy lifestyle and commitment to OCR require that your protein intake be higher than someone who doesn’t regularly exercise. But how do you know just exactly how much protein you need?
Since everyone’s physical makeup is different, you’ll want to determine your specific “protein number” — the amount of protein needed for your body type and lifestyle. If you haven’t already done this as part of your nutrition planning, here’s a simple formula:
- Start by converting your weight in pounds to kilograms (weight in pounds/2.2 = weight in kilograms).
- Based on your activity level, choose a number between 0.8 and 1.8. (It’s recommended that endurance athletes use a number around 1.2 to 1.4, while those who strength train go with the higher 1.6 to 1.8.)
- Multiply this number by your weight in kilograms.
The resulting number tells you how many grams of protein you should be consuming on a daily basis. So, if you are a 140-pound woman who weight trains on a regular basis, you should be eating around 102 grams of protein each day (140/2.2×1.6 = 101.8).
How and when should I get my protein?
You should be consuming protein throughout the day as part of balanced, healthy meals. This will ensure that your body stays satiated and energized. However, as an OCR athlete, there are a few key times you want to focus on providing quality sources of protein to your muscles.
When you exercise, you’re tearing your muscles. As they repair and rebuild, they get stronger and turn into the endurance and functional machines you need to maximize your OCR. Consuming protein directly before your workout can aid in this process by supplying your muscles with a ready-to-use source of energy.
However, it is equally important to also follow up your workout with quality protein. Experts recommend that you eat within 30 minutes of completing your workout. Consuming post-workout protein in liquid form makes this easy to do and, because liquids digest more quickly, it gets critical nutrients to your muscles even faster.
What does all this mean?
The main takeaway is that it’s important to pay attention to your protein intake, especially if you’re active. Determining your protein needs is a first good step in creating a solid nutritional plan.
Next, you’ll want to figure out how much protein is in your current diet and come up with an action plan that will help you close the gap between your current and target intake. Keep in mind that four ounces of chicken has around 35 grams of protein, while an egg contains about six.
Upping your protein intake doesn’t have to mean eating huge servings of meat or large plates of eggs. With some of the awesome brands like Ascent Protein or Progenex, you can get delicious, complete protein to supplement your diet, prepare your body for your workout, and help you maximize your OCR workouts and performance.