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25 August 2011

Beef up

Protein is needed for strength, to build and maintain muscle, to aid recovery and in the case of a younger rugby player, protein is also essential for growth and development.

Protein is needed for strength, to build and maintain muscle, to aid recovery and in the case of a younger rugby player, protein is also essential for growth and development.

Supplements may contain banned substances that will cause you to fail a drug test or may cause you to gain too much weight which will reduce your speed and increase your risk of injury (see Supplements).

Supplements are therefore only recommended in special situations once both diet and training have been optimised. Only then should supplements be prescribed by a sports dietician or sports physician.

  • Choose a variety of protein-rich foods.
     
  • Protein should also be distributed throughout the day. Do not let protein dominate all meals and leave enough space on your plate for all the carbohydrate needed.
     
  • Always choose lean meats and low fat dairy products as many of these protein-rich foods contain hidden sources of fat.
     
  • If you are a vegetarian you need to make a special effort to ensure that your diet provides enough good quality protein. By mixing different vegetable proteins such as baked beans on toast, lentils and rice, or a peanut butter sandwich you will achieve good protein combinations.
     
  • Many proteins are expensive so it is important to explore ways of extending or stretching the protein without reducing the nutritional value. Dried beans and lentils can be added to stews and soups. Other good economical sources of protein include pilchards, sardines, eggs and skim milk powder (which can be added to many drinks, cereals and soups). Liquid meal replacements (e.g. Nestle Buildup, Ensure, Complan) that provide both carbohydrate and protein can also be used.
     
  • To increase your muscle mass you need to follow your eating plan and training programme. If you only concentrate on a high protein intake without enough carbohydrate, then the protein will be used for energy instead of being used to build muscle! Moreover, too little carbohydrate will lead to low energy levels which will make it very difficult for you to train and perform at your best.

 
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