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The Importance of Protein In a Young Athlete's Diet

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The Importance of Protein In a Young Athlete's Diet

Without enough protein each day you are going to find it harder to recover properly from all the sport and gym training and games each week. Protein is a major part of the recovery process, and if forgotten about can mean you're leaving valuable gains in the gym.

Protein is in every cell in your body. It is responsible for the repair of existing cells and the creation of new ones. It also plays a crucial role on the growth and development of children and young adolescents just for normal daily function. If you are adding the extra strain that comes with strength training and training for your sport, then the demand for increased protein intake is only more important.

Carbohydrates and fats are used as energy sources for the body as well as helping to regulate normal hormone levels. These figures can be manipulated to help facilitate a different goal eg: carb loading before higher intensity games or races, or eating a higher fat diet if you're an endurance athlete.

The amount of protein you eat however does not change despite the changes to the other macronutrients, and a higher protein diet has been shown to help put on muscle mass even when losing weight in a deficit.

Making the suitable changes to your nutrition and protein intake is one of the most important changes you can do to ensure you're seeing progress. You're only training for a few hours a week and spend hundreds of hours away from your coaches each week, getting into a routine is the best way to stay on track!

It is recommended that you are eating 1.5-2 times your body weight of protein (grams) each day to facilitate the recovery from all your training. By implementing the tips from last week's blog and start using a nutrition tracker, all this work is done for you. All you need to do is scan the barcode of the food you are eating, and it will tell you all the data you need to know. Additionally, if you are eating similar things each school day, you don't need to track it every day as you'll know a good ballpark figure of the amount of protein you are getting each day already.

If you are choosing to eat a couple pieces of toast and coffee or just a banana in the morning, you are going to find yourself craving food again a lot sooner than if you add some protein to the meal. Protein will help you feel a lot more satisfied, pushing back those hunger cravings to later in the day. Especially for kids still in school, if they are experiencing hunger cravings in class, their focus and attention is going to be affected as they try to hang on until recess and lunch. Some quick changes you can make now is to add some eggs to the pieces of toast, or some high protein yoghurt/milk to your fruit and cereal in the morning.

There are many factors which affect your sports performance and that's why at Inner Athlete we provide a holistic approach to youth athlete development. For more information, contact us today.

Matt Hucul
Junior Strength Coach
Inner Athlete (AUS)

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