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Protein for the Young Athlete

Welcome to the THE ATHLETES UNLEASHED blog, is this article we are going to talk about the importance of protein for our youth athlete's workout regimen and diet.

I have been asked this question a lot in the last few weeks. How much protein is good for me. Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps to BUILD, MAINTAIN, and REPAIR body tissues, as well as aid in anabolic processes. It’s important for youth athletes to consume enough protein to aid in muscle growth and development, allow for proper energy production, and support immune system function.

Young athletes require more protein than the average person, but not as much as is commonly thought. The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) 0.36 grams per pound of bodyweight for the average person (not with a intense workout regimen). However, for athletes you should consume 1-1.2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight if you are looking to build muscle. For example, an athlete weighing 120 lbs should consume 120 – 144 grams of protein per day. This also plays true with adults that are on a workout regimen.

When choosing protein sources, it is best to focus on lean proteins such as fish, chicken, and lean beef, as these are all low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Dairy, eggs, and nuts (if not allergic) are also good protein sources for young athletes, as well as supplements like whey protein. As a young athlete I always lean towards getting all of your protein for foods. Whey proteins and other supplements should be used sparingly or as an aid if having trouble getting the total amount.

Finally, it’s important to remember that the timing of protein consumption is crucial. Eating protein throughout the day is important in order to provide the body with a steady supply of amino acids which is the building blocks of muscle (tune in on amino acids next week). Consuming protein after a workout is especially beneficial in aiding protein synthesis and recovery.

We hope this blog gave you some insight on the importance of protein for your young athlete’s health and fitness. Thanks for tuning in!


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