Here’s Why Sufficient Protein is So Important as an Athlete

Protein comes from the Greek word proteios, meaning primary or first place.1 

That’s an appropriate origin: Unlike carbohydrates or fat, your body can’t store protein.2 Continually replenish levels throughout the day becomes crucial to support all the roles protein plays in your body.

“Protein provides the building blocks for hormones and neurotransmitters and antibodies, not to mention being necessary for strong muscles and bones. It is essential for metabolism. Without protein, you would die,” says Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., in The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth.

Sometimes, getting enough protein from food can be a challenge. You’re traveling, say, or you’re not hungry around your workouts. 

That’s where our MaxLiving Grass-Fed Whey Protein can help: You take the guesswork out of how much protein you’re getting. With a quality protein powder, you get the highest-quality protein even when healthy foods aren’t available.

Your body breaks down the protein you get from food or supplements into 20 amino acids. They form the building blocks for antibodies that fight bacteria and other harmful invaders, enzymes, hormones, and more.3 

Of those 20 amino acids, your body can make 12 of them. That makes them non-essential. Your body can’t make the remaining eight, deeming them essential because you need to get them from food or supplements.4

With the popularity of high-fat ketogenic diets, protein sometimes takes a back burner. Healthy fat is important, but so is protein. Getting enough protein can impact weight loss, athletic performance, tissue repair, and much more.

Are You Eating Enough Protein?

To maintain glowing skin, a healthy immune system, abundant energy, and so much more, you need the right amount of protein every day.5 

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend at least 10 percent of your daily calories from protein. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein isn’t much: For a 50-year-old woman who weighs 140 pounds, about 53 grams a day.6 That’s only about an eight-ounce chicken breast.7

Even with these estimates, experts debate exactly how much protein you actually need. The RDA is your basic protein requirement, or the bare minimum you need to keep from getting sick.8 

Research shows that higher-protein diets can help you maintain a healthy weight or preserve muscle with age.9 To thrive — to feel good, be lean and healthy, and get all the benefits that protein provides — you’ll want to get optimal protein.

You needn’t count or become obsessive about these amounts. Choose a variety of protein-rich foods. Smart choices include:

  • Grass-fed beef
  • Wild-caught, cold-water fish
  • Organic eggs from pasture-raised chickens
  • Free-range organic poultry
  • Full-fat, organic dairy (unless you’re dairy sensitive)

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and other animal foods are complete sources of protein, meaning they contain all the essential amino acids. Many plant-based foods, on the other hand, lack one or more essential amino acids.10 While you should eat both, focusing on animal foods becomes more efficient to meet your protein intake.

MaxLiving’s Core Plan incorporates sufficient amounts of protein from quality sources along with healthy fats and the right carbohydrates. Focus on the right amounts of these foods and you wont’ need to count or measure your protein intake.

Athletes and Protein Intake

As an athlete, you need to be more mindful about protein intake. 

Getting enough protein supports muscle growth, repair, and much more for peak athletic performance. Whether you’re a strength or endurance athlete, you’ll need more protein daily compared with the requirements of non-athletes.11 

Exact estimates vary.  One study found that to increase muscle mass, track and field athletes should get between 1.6 and 2.4 grams per kilogram of body mass daily.12 That’s up to three times the amount of protein that sedentary people need.

As a general rule:

  • If you’re a runner or regularly do endurance exercise, you’ll need about twice the amount of protein compared with sedentary people.
  • If you want to build muscle, you’ll want to increase that intake even more.13

You’ll also need more protein during:

  • Higher-training frequency 
  • Greater-intensity periods
  • When you’re restricting calories to maintain muscle mass14

Don’t let those guidelines confuse you. Let’s say you’re a 175-pound guy who wants to build muscle. To do that, you need around 125 grams of protein daily.15 Even with higher amounts, you can meet your protein quota with MaxLiving’s Core Plan along with a protein powder.

Protein Powder to Meet Your Performance Needs

You know how problems like soreness can slow down performance. A protein powder can help aid in repair, recovery, muscle growth, weight management, and so much more.16

Consider intense resistance exercise, which can increase muscle soreness and hinder how your muscles function. Using a protein powder can reduce those problems and help you perform better during future workouts.17

Unfortunately, finding the right protein powder can be a challenge. Visit any health food store and you’ll find a wide array of powders. 

For athletic performance, one stands out: Whey protein. 

Whey digests quickly, provides a rich source of muscle-building branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), and contains a stellar overall nutrient profile to be at the top of your game.18

5 Unique Benefits of Whey for Athletes

If you’re an athlete who aims for peak performance, you want to consume whey protein around your workout. Here are five reasons why whey proves so popular for athletic performance. 

  1. High in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). Whey is especially high in a branched-chain amino acid called leucine, the most growth-promoting of amino acids.19 Bodybuilders prize leucine because this amino acid alone can promote muscle protein synthesis.20
  2. Helps build antioxidants. As an athlete, you’re more prone to exercise-related damage called oxidative stress. This metabolic stress overpowers your antioxidant defense and slows down performance. That’s where glutathione can help: This powerful antioxidant helps detoxify your body and reduce workout-related problems including muscle fatigue.21 Whey protein is an excellent source of cysteine, an amino acid that helps build glutathione.22
  3. Supports your immune system. Athletes are more susceptible to common illnesses.23 Whey can help support your immune system so you stay in peak form, even during cold and flu season. “Whey protein contains a number of other proteins that positively affect immune function,” says Bowden. “It contains protein fractions such as beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, and immunoglobulins, all of which have important disease-fighting effects.”
  4. Curbs your appetite. Being lean and fit can help you play better. Whey can help. Having whey protein after resistance exercise can help you eat less during a subsequent meal.24
  5. Lowers inflammation. A little soreness is normal after an intense workout, but chronic inflammation — the kind that lingers when your body no longer benefits — is an athlete’s worst nightmare. Besides soreness and other problems that can hinder performance, chronic inflammation contributes to nearly every disease.25 Whey protein can help lower inflammation,26 so you stay healthy and perform better.

Whey can benefit all athletes, especially around resistance training. The essential amino acids in whey can enhance muscle protein synthesis and improve recovery of muscle function.27 

You get those and other results fast. Compared with other proteins, whey absorbs quickly so it gets to your muscles quickly.28

One study looked at 12 healthy young men who did resistance training two to four times every week for at least six months. 

Researchers found that 25 grams of whey protein after resistance exercise in the evening replenished protein losses and helped them recover. Those who got 25 grams of whey protein in the morning after exercise benefited even more.29

Not All Whey Protein Powders are Equal

Unfortunately, many commercial whey powders don’t make the grade. They contain added sugar, artificial sweeteners, corn derivatives, dyes, and artificial flavors. High-heat processing can also damage the fragile amino acids in whey. 

That’s why we created Grass-Fed Whey Protein, a superior form of whey made from the highest-quality ingredients. Our whey doesn’t have the problematic ingredients you find in many commercial whey powders.

We start with the best whey, which comes from grass-fed cows. Grass, not grains, is the natural diet for cows. Cows fed their natural diet yield superior products compared with grain-fed cows, including higher amounts of antioxidants like vitamin E and a better fatty acid profile.30 

Every serving of Grass-Fed Whey Protein provides an impressive 20 grams of protein. Other benefits unique to our whey include:

  • We use undenatured whey, which is delicately processed to ensure that vital enzymes, vitamins, minerals and other immune factors remain intact.
  • Our whey comes from milk that comes from cows that graze on pesticide-free pastures.
  • Our whey has no hormones or antibiotics. 
  • We use whey concentrate, which is less processed than whey isolate and contains more biologically active components.31
  • Our whey tastes delicious because we naturally flavor our powder with organic cocoa or vanilla flavor.
  • Our whey is free from ingredients that might be a problem for some people. They include GMOs, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, gluten, soy, preservatives, titanium dioxide, artificial colors and flavors.
  • We use healthy organic stevia as our sweetener.

A Delicious Way to Meet Your Protein Requirements

Many of our smoothie recipes incorporate Grass-Fed Whey Protein. They make a quick, easy, yummy way to get sufficient amounts of protein. 

Our Very Berry Smoothie comes packed with antioxidants and other nutrients to help you perform better. If you’re craving something sweeter, our Chocolate Smoothie combines chocolate whey protein with cocoa powder and almond butter. You’ll find plenty more delicious recipes here.

Don’t waste your money or compromise your health with inferior whey protein powders. Our Grass-Fed Whey Protein makes an easy, inexpensive, and delicious way to meet your protein needs. 

Rest assured that you and your family are getting the highest-quality whey available to supply the ideal amounts of protein your body needs to run at peak performance.