I am a numbers girl. I like them. ask my mom. I used to figure out my GPA in high school before every major test to see what I could get as a grade and how my GPA would be affected. so I would know if I stopped studying and got a really bad grade on the exam, how my overall GPA would look. major dork alert. I know. I was studious. I started off studying accounting in college until I decided I didn’t want to sit behind a desk. I like numbers to line up, add up and make sense.
Naturally, I would find a way to geek out about numbers with running. I like my miles to be nice and even. rounded off at least to the half mile. I won’t stop a run that ends with .1, .3. or God forbid .7 – just take it to the next whole mile. Ever since I started seriously running and training for races, I pay more attention to what I eat. I actually only really pay attention to the protein. for some reason, I always want to make sure I’m getting enough protein. and I have no basis for obsessing about my protein intake. don’t know where it came from. I don’t really worry about fat or carbs because I run. I burn them. but the protein kind of intrigues me. why do I care? so, I looked up some articles, and this is what I found.
A normal, active person should get about .8g of protein per kg of body weight. on the high end. athletes however should get between 1-1.6g per kg of body weight. that’s a lot of protein.
This is what a Runner’s World article has to say – read the whole article HERE.
“With every footstrike, a runner carries two to seven times his or her body weight,” says Douglas Kalman, Ph.D., R.D., who has done extensive research on the effects of protein in athletes. “Protein is what keeps your body healthy under all that strain.” Adequate protein intake accelerates muscle growth and speeds recovery by helping rebuild muscle fibers stressed during a run. Since protein helps muscles heal faster, runners who consume the right amount are less likely to get injured. The reverse is also true, according to the authors of the ISSN paper: Athletes who get insufficient amounts of protein are at a higher risk of injury.
I found this next article, from Competitor.com, interesting as well. Read the whole article HERE. here is a little excerpt that I liked.
According to the World Health Organization, humans need to get only 10 percent of their daily calories from protein to maintain health. There is reason to believe that runners may need more, however, because running breaks down muscle proteins and damages muscle fibers, and protein is needed for the muscles to recover from the daily onslaught of training. But a study of the diet of elite Kenyan runners found that they got only 10 percent of their daily calories from protein. Given their running performance, it would be difficult to argue that this wasn’t enough.
Such numbers are deceptive, though. It is more helpful to think of protein needs in terms of amounts of protein relative to body weight instead of protein as a percentage of daily calories. That’s because running increases total energy—carbohydrate, fat, and protein—needs. So you may get 10 percent of your daily calories as a non-runner and then continue to get 10 percent of your daily calories as a runner, but you’re eating more protein as a runner, because you’re eating more total calories.
Timing of protein consumption is important, as well. From the same article as above:
More important than the amount of protein consumed is the timing of protein intake. Numerous studies have demonstrated that exercise-induced muscle damage is reduced when protein is consumed immediately before and during workouts and that muscle repair proceeds most rapidly when protein is consumed immediately after workouts. You still don’t need a lot of protein, though. About 15 grams of protein per hour during exercise will suffice, while a total of 20 grams of protein in the first hour after exercise is as much as the body can use for immediate recovery.
The best ratio for recovery nutrition after a good run is 4:1, carb to protein ratio. I love finding foods that have this ratio.
So, I guess it is important to get the right amount of protein. Sometimes even up to and more than 80 grams a day. I have been finding this hard to acheive lately because I don’t eat meat. That is a huge source of protein, and makes it fairly convenient to get the right amount. just throw down a nice chunk of chicken and you’re all set.
I have been relying on a protein powder to get a good serving of protein for the day. I have been using whey protein, but am on the hunt for a more natural, plant based protein. I can’t do soy products because I have hashimoto’s thyroid – which is fancy for an autoimmune hypothyroid disorder. My thyroid doesn’t like to work the way it should. a sure fire way for me to put on 10 lbs in 2 weeks is by consuming soy on a daily basis. I’ll pass. I just ordered this protein. I have not tried it yet. fingers crossed.
This is made from plant based sources. I have tried some other brown rice proteins…..pretty gross. hopeful for this one. I can only eat so many beans, quinoa, and eggs. I don’t eat dairy regularly, which is another good source of protein. especially greek yogurt.
AND, let me introduce you to my favorite little pal. my favorite little app for my phone. myfitnesspal. love it. I’ve been using it for over a year. being the anal person that I am, I like to keep track of how much protein and those other nutrients I get during the day. I also like to make sure I’m getting enough calories. I don’t like to count calories. but this tracks everything. with ease. I like the iPhone app much better than the website, but either are great and so easy to use. the app was free when I got it. I had been using the daily plate app – this is much better. in my opinion. and that one wasn’t free.
There is also a scanner option – you can scan the barcode of any food you have and the info automatically goes in. pretty sweet. You can view it in a pie chart as well. pie. I like pie.
and this is what it looks like when you input your meals.
I don’t get crazy about it. I don’t usually put dinner in because it’s homemade and I’m usually not going to take the time to calculate all of the nutrition for what I’m making and put it in there. but, you can certainly do that. You can make your own food and save it. I’ve done it before for certain bars and things that I’ve made.
You also input your exercise and it recalculates your calorie needs for the day. check it out peeps. cool beans.
I’m anxiously awaiting my long run today. It’s 10am and it hasn’t happened yet. I start to get anxious when it doesn’t happen first thing in the morning, because then I am just anticipating it until it happens. and I just want to get it over with. I’ll go make some pumpkin bread with the kiddos to pass the time.
I’m going to go check my little pal now and make sure I’ve had enough protein so far today. hehe.
Is anyone doing a long run today? or a long anything else you want to share? nap? shopping trip? these are all good, long things to do.
Have you used MyFitnessPal? Do you like to track your nutrition?
How do you get your protein?