Athlete Nutrition Guidelines

Protein is essential to the athlete, but it is often misunderstood. These athlete nutrition guidelines will show when and how to use protein.

Many people think protein is only for building muscle. In endurance sports it is used to preserve and repair muscle.

It is needed during long training and races, so your body does not burn its muscle for fuel. Endurance athletes typically focus on carbohydrates. Serious endurance athletes need protein, far above the normal population. Maintenance, repair, and growth of lean muscle mass all depend on it.

If you are not getting enough you will heal more slowly, and suppress the immune system. Some of the symptoms of low intake are fatigue, lethargy, and anemia.

I struggle with getting enough protein in my diet. I try to do a protein drink to meet the requirements. I am not a huge meat eater, but have found that combining beans and rice or mushrooms are great protein sources. Though you need to watch the calories some nutritious sports bars have a substantial amount.

The latest protein I have discovered is Greek Yogurt. There are 20 grams of protein in 1 cup. I mix it with a little honey, strawberries and nuts and have a great snack full of protein.

Athlete Nutrition Guidelines

Endurance athletes need protein to repair muscle tissue that is breaking down through long distance training.

It will not make you put on more muscle. You must train for muscle (weight lifting heavy weights). Many, including myself, didn’t think we needed much, because carbs are the best fuel.

It is true carbohydrates are the bodies preferred choice of fuel. Protein is needed though, in events over 2 hours, for energy as well.

After 90 minutes of exercise, muscle glycogen (the fuel stored in our muscles) is depleted. The body looks for other fuel. If it doesn't have the correct fuel it will start burning muscle tissue. It is called gluconeogenesis.

If you are very sore this may be the result of how much of your muscle was cannibalized. This is why protein must be added to the fuel mix.

I tried Cliff Bar's Recovery Drink during Primal Quest. I thought I could use the recovery drink for racing.

I knew that protein was the key to fuel over 2 hours, but I used the wrong kind. I was actually creating ammonia, which was just making me tired. I was using whey during exercise, which is the wrong choice.

I use Hammer Nutrition now. Following their athlete nutrition guidelines has moved me up to a new level of performance. I will not race without their products. They have researched this topic thoroughly and have solid scientific evidence behind their products. Sustained Energy and Perpeteum is now my fuel of choice. I also use their sports bars when I am doing less strenuous exercise.

Hammer Nutrition has a great resource section with free information.

Athlete Nutrition Guidelines

It is important to use protein for endurance sports over 2 hours. This keeps your body from eating itself for fuel!

The longer the event, the more muscle you will damage without it. This burning of muscle creates ammonia, which is fatigue causing.

By using Perpetuem and Sustained Energy in your training you can easily meet your requirements needed during extreme training. You also do not have to carry a lot of food in your pack!

Most scientists used to say you should eat 1/2 gram per pound of body weight. Now research is showing that 2/3 to 3/4 gram per pound of body weight is needed. Dr. Marshall, of Premier Research Labs, recommends 1 gram per kilogram of body weight.

To find out how much you would need by this standard, multiply your weight in kilograms by 1.4 to 1.7. If you are working very hard use the higher number.

This number is the number in grams you should consume daily. A 165-pound athlete in high training mode should consume about 128 grams daily.

We get protein in all kinds of foods, but not in huge quantities. When you do add your consumption for the day remember to include your intake from your fuel choice during exercise. My extra comes from Sustained Energy, Perpetuem, and Recovorite.

If you still come up short on your consumption, consider a supplement such as Hammer Whey, Lean Body Whey (my personal choice) and/or Hammer Soy.

Athlete Nutrition Guidelines

Protein is the building block of our tissue and cells. It is made up of substances called amino acids. There are 28 of these. Eight are essential which means we need to get them in food. Our body cannot make them.

Though this is debated, I believe soy is the best during exercise. I know the jury is still out on soy, but I use it during exercise only.

It has substantial amounts of branched chain amino acids, which your body quickly converts to energy. Soy has levels of phenylalanine, that may help keep you alert during extreme sports races.

The number one reason soy is best during exercise however, is it does not produce ammonia like whey does. This is critical to performance.

Whey is a better source after exercise. It enhances the immune system, and is easy on the kidneys.

Some other types are...


Legumes (beans, peas or peanuts) combined with grains nuts or seeds

Rice combined with nuts, beans, cheese, seeds or wheat

Cornmeal combined with eggs, lima beans, milk, potatoes, soy or yeast

Vegetables combined with dairy, grain, seeds or nuts

Red Meat

Lamb is a good choice

Beans combined with cheese, corn, nuts, rice, seeds or wheat


Much of the whey is highly heated junk food and damages the kidneys. There are good whey proteins that are cold pressed. This makes a light load for the kidney. Lean Body Whey and Hammer Nutrition's whey are two good products. With their products comes an athlete nutrition guidelines book which is excellent.

Athlete Nutrition Guidelines

Some athletes go overboard, though not normally endurance athletes.

Too much can cause stiffness and inflammation. This can be the excess by products damaging the kidneys. Too much builds up nitrogen, which must be eliminated in the urine.

If high amounts have been a problem for you, when you reduce the amount, you are going to see you need less sleep, are not as stiff and have a greater fluidity. (Dr. Bob Marshall, Premier Research Labs on Athlete Nutrition Guidelines)

It also devastates the PH. In turn the bones must give up their minerals to buffer the blood. You are more susceptible to injury when this happens.

When you drop the amount of protein, you need fewer minerals. This puts a much lighter burden on the kidney. Chinese medicine says the kidney is the "power of a man or woman."

While getting too much, is not a problem for me it can be for some. Dr. Marshall says, to get explosive power, reduce the burden on the kidneys, by having the correct amount of protein.

I just returned from a mountain bike race and saw many people struggling at the end. Though my legs were toast, from going anaerobic for too long, my fuel supply was good. I used Perpeteum and Hammer Gel today and it worked great! I also like using some raw foods recipes to get my protein in at the end of the day. The above athlete nutrition guidelines regarding protein, can really help you excel if you follow them closely.

Athlete Nutrition Guidelines

Dr. Bob Marshall, CNN, Founds Premier Research Labs

Dr. Bill Misner, PhD, CNN, researcher and product developer for Hammer Nutrition.

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