Masters Athletes & Macro Calculations

Great podcasts with Kyle Pfaffenbach.
I finally realized there are minimums that MUST be consumed.
I wrote down the g/kg ratios for protein, fat & carbs just fine.
However, do numbers change for a 55 year old athlete?

I don’t have a source, but what I recall is protein goes up quite a bit.

@webdev511 I bumped up my in & out order from a single patty to a double-double. Does that count? :sweat_smile:


Hey @garymodine!

I’ll find out for you and let ya know :slight_smile:

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Higher protein intake is generally recommended when you age. I started experimenting with protein levels in my early to mid fifties. FWIW something around 1.7 to 2g per kg (lean mass) works best for myself.

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Hey! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the podcast! :raised_hands:

This is a really interesting point of discussion…and as is often the case, there is no definitive answer :upside_down_face:.

Up until recently, it was thought that Master’s athletes needed to consume more protein to elicit the same muscle protein synthetic response. This was based on mechanistic data mostly conducted on untrained individuals.

In a 2021 narrative review, Moore and colleagues challenged this notion and put forth the argument that masters athletes “have similar muscle characteristics, physiological responses to exercise, and protein metabolism as young athletes and, therefore, are unlikely to have protein requirements that are different from their young contemporaries”.

In the review below, they discuss the evidence.
Protein Requirements for Master Athletes: Just Older Versions of Their Younger Selves. Moore. (2021).

Moore discusses the multiple factors contributing to anabolic resistance in older people and how endurance and resistance training attenuate their effects. These factors include inflammation, reduced capillary and vasodilatory capacity and thus amino acid delivery, attenuated amino acid uptake and reduced ability to activate the mTOR signalling pathway.

Instead, Moore counter the popular narrative by suggesting that age-related anabolic resistance is underpinned or, at least, exacerbated by physical inactivity.

So what does this mean for you as a 55 year old athletes?

Good news!!! Training is the fountain of youth :raised_hands: :baby :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes::.

Dr Kyle Pfaffenbach’s recommendations likely apply to you. But if you wish to hear his unique perspective on the matter, you can submit your question for an upcoming podcast here.

Ageing will have ultimately impact cycling performance at some point. But training will likely preserve your muscle’s sensitivity to protein for longer than you might have previously thought! :muscle: :biking_man: :zap:

Some additional considerations:

  • If you are following a plant-based diet, aim for a slightly higher protein intake to account for the generally lower quality of plant-based protein. This will help minimise amino acid deficiencies.
  • The lower the protein quality, the more overall protein you should consume.
  • If you feel like your ability to recover is worsening, you may consider gradually increasing your protein intake while monitoring how you feel.
  • Just be aware that protein has a satiating effect, so be sure that you’re not eating it at the expense of reaching your carbohydrates and fat targets, which are crucial for supporting optimal performance and health.

I hope this helps. Or at the very least, you find it as interesting as I do! :nerd_face::books: Let me know if you have any other questions and I will do my best to answer (or find an answer :wink: ).


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starting to read the review, and this is just an assertion. Almost stopped reading. However started skipping around and I found the recommendations

1.8 g/kg/day

which brings me back to exactly where I’ve been :+1:

Another paper:

From the pic you can see if you’ve put on excess weight, the recommendation decreases (because its based on lean body mass).

Which can be accomplished like this:

and daily carb intake

and goes even higher… I vaguely recall 8-12g/kg/day for endurance athletes putting in a lot of hours / volume.

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