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Protein for Swimmers

Supplementation can help

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Are you a swimmer—be it sprinter or long distance—who believes that protein supplementation is strictly for weight lifters and bodybuilders? If so, it's vitally important to understand that hard-training swimmers also need a substantial amount of protein in their daily diets. Athletes, such as swimmers, who are outside the realm of weight lifting and bodybuilding athletes (the “mainly strength, with minimal endurance involved” athletes), oftentimes tend to focus on carbohydrate intake and pay little, if any, attention to protein.

As a result, protein deficiency appears, with its inevitable negative effects on performance and health. Swimmers, especially those doing longer-duration events and/or multiple events during a meet, need considerable amounts of protein, far above the normal adult RDA. Maintenance, repair, and growth of lean muscle mass, as well as optimum immune system function, depend on adequate amounts of dietary protein.

The problems associated with insufficient protein intake

Low dietary protein lengthens recovery time, causes muscle weakness, and suppresses the immune system. Chronic protein deficiency will cancel the beneficial effects of your workouts; instead, you will become susceptible to fatigue, lethargy, anemia, and possibly even more severe disorders. Athletes with over training syndrome usually have protein deficiency. Don’t be one of them; make sure your daily protein intake is sufficient.

How much do you need?

How much protein do swimmers need to consume? Numerous studies have demonstrated that athletes in heavy training need more protein than recreational athletes do. Once it was believed that 1/2 gram of protein per pound (about .5 kilogram) of body weight—75 grams for a 150–lb (68 kg) person—per day was sufficient. Today’s standards, however, would increase that figure to about 100–112 grams (2/3 to 3/4 grams of protein per pound of body weight).

To find out how much you require, here’s what to do:

  • Multiply your weight in kilograms by 1.4 to 1.7, depending on your exercise volume and intensity. This gives you the amount of protein (in grams) that you should consume on a daily basis. (To convert from pounds to kilograms, divide by 2.2).
  • Use the lower figure during off-to-low duration/intensity workout days, and use the higher figure during peak training and racing periods. Thus, a 165–pound (75 kg) athlete in high training mode should consume about 128 grams of protein daily.

Use both food + protein powders to help you obtain your optimum

In real-life amounts, to obtain 128 grams of protein you would need to consume a quart of skim milk (32 grams), 3 oz. of tuna (15 grams), 7 oz. of lean chicken breast (62 grams), 4 slices of whole wheat bread (16 grams), and a few bananas (one gram each).

Of course, we get protein in some amounts from a variety of foods. But how many of us down the equivalent of a quart of milk, a half–can of tuna, two chicken breasts, and four slices of whole wheat bread every day? Track and record your diet and do some calculating. It takes quite a bit of effort to ensure adequate protein intake, especially for vegetarians and those who avoid dairy products. Remember to include protein intake from post-workout consumption Recoverite in your calculations. If you still come up short, consider additional applications of Hammer Whey and/or Hammer Soy.

Summary

Although it’s not given the same kind of “status” as carbohydrates, there can be no doubt that obtaining adequate amounts of protein in the diet is crucial for swimmers. If you're serious about your performance and also your health, then respect the importance of providing adequate protein in your diet. Use the information in this article to help you determine how much protein you need daily, and start reaping the athletic performance and overall health benefits.

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