How much protein do endurance athletes need?

I’m sure I’ve heard the Podcast guys talk about this before multiple times, but a quick search on the forum didn’t help me find the link… what are the guidelines for the optimal amount of protein for endurance athletes? I keep hearing that endurance athletes are renowned for not consuming enough protein (most recently articulated by Scotty Tindal on the Purple Patch Podcast here and here) so I’m very keen to check I’m getting it right. Pretty sure I’m not!

Thanks in advance - and links/references would be much appreciated.

For endurance athletes:- 1.2–1.4 g protein /kg/d [1]; these recommendations are 50–75% greater than the current RDA of 0.8 g/kg/d

see

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4913918/#:~:text=According%20to%20sports%20nutrition%20consensus,0.8%20g%2Fkg%2Fd.

Although at the top end it could be more like 1.6g/kg/d

see

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Thanks this is exactly what I was after. How have you found that this impacts your training personally? Keen to hear anyone else’s experience too.

It seems to me that WildWill nailed this. Increasing protein to something like 1.6-1.7 grams per kilogram body weight results in increased Vo2 max and reduced levels of body fat in endurance athletes.

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and up to 2g/kg per day if you are over 50 and also doing resistance training.

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I’m about to turn 40… not quite at that dreaded 5-0 decade yet! That said I’ve started resistance training in the last 6-9 months for the first time.

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For anyone interested I’ve just done the maths for myself and compared it to my usual dietary habits. Turns out I’m currently bang on, but only because I take collagen before my workouts.

1.2-1.4g/kg/d

65kg = 78-91g protein per day

Current protein intake per day

Collagen pre-workout - 24g

brekky - 3x eggs (6g protein each) = 18g
Beans n veg = projected 5g

lunch - tuna tin = 16g
veg/nut butter = projected 5g

dinner - who the hell knows - but maybe 20-25g depending on chicken/salmon/beef

Total = 88-93

…actually going okay! 3x eggs is a good idea. Collagen is the thing that bumps me over. Potentially no need to add a protein supplement at thus stage.

No need but it would probably be beneficial. I’m about your size and I believe that my protein intake is probably quite low right now. Since I’ve recently started strength training again I think I should try to get to around 90-100 grams to get more gains out of my cycling and lifting. I’m not a big eater so some protein powder will probably be necessary.

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Yep. There are times when 2g would be the target.
But on the course I did, they stated that was starting to move more towards a body builders requirement.
I am in my 50s and train for long course tri and do 2 resistance sessions per week (but not heavy) and I probably aim for 1.4 - 1.5

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Collagen powder is not a great source of general protein (lacking in essential amino acids) and I wouldn’t count it towards my goal. Good call on timing it before the workout, though.

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It may be purely my perception, but getting my diet closr to good and I seem to recover better
I am in my 50s and currently training 12-15 hours per week. (9-10) on Recovery week
Although I do not obsess over my diet. I normally monitor it for a week or 2 every now and then
I did a diploma in sports nutrition when I looked at dropping quit a bit weight

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Dan Moore answers your question (and probably all of your follow up questions) in agonizing detail on the SOUP:

I aim to get 1,5-2g/kg per day. I have heard that vegans should aim little higher.

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I’m 58 and have a physically demanding job (loading my van and delivering crates of groceries to online shoppers - lots of heavy lifting and carrying often working to tight deadlines). I really don’t need or have the time and energy to undertake strength training in addition to my workouts on the bike. Due to time restrictions, my age and the demands of my job I can only do the low volume plans. I’ve found through trial and error that on workdays around 2g per kg of body weight is required (I’m 5’ 9" and my weight hovers between 61 and 62kg). Any less than 2g/kg and my legs really feel it. I eat plenty of carbs, protein, healthy fats, whole foods, fruit and veg. Every day is a workout. I aim to have one day a week (one of my days off) as a recovery day when I do absolutely nothing.

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Almost everyone who sees me eat a meal usually says, ‘Woah… is that just for you?’ I’m a pretty big eater. But it’s mostly vegetables! Plus protein and a as much fat as needed to make it tasty and well cooked.

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I did wonder about that. I know there are huge benefits to taking collagen for joints etc, but I remember seeing somewhere that it’s not the greatest source of protein for muscle growth/repair. Interesting.

I feel a bit weird about taking collagen before a workout and then protein powder after a workout. Especially when 99% of the time I eat a meal with a good serve of protein straight after the workout. Maybe I just need to try having a protein shake in the afternoon or something, when I’m not usually taking in ANY source of protein.

This looks great - thanks!

Trial and error here puts it at 1.5 to 2g/kg lean body mass. Same age, about 4" taller and heavier. Healthy plant + lean meat diet. I sit in front of a computer all day. For cycling I’d have to say its the carbs that matter.

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Another thing to remember with collagen (apart from the timing, which is spot on) is that taking vitamin C together with the collagen will increase the natural collagen synthesis from your body.
This was highlighted on the (long) session done on the podcast on collagen.
A double-whammy of sort.

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I’d agree with you on that. However, in addition to my riding and workouts, I also have to take into account the very physical demands of my job.

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