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Hit All the Marks With Optimal Macros: How Much Protein Do Athletes Need?

The question of how much protein do athletes need is a pivotal one, with profound implications for their overall performance. Protein stands as a cornerstone for athletes, facilitating not only muscle repair and growth but also bolstering endurance and strength. Athletes must recognize that the right protein intake, tailored to their specific needs, is instrumental in reaching their full potential. Striking the perfect balance can mean the difference between a good performance and a podium-worthy one, making protein an indispensable ally for every athlete striving for excellence.

There is no denying the importance of adequate protein intake to optimize athletic performance. From fueling muscle growth and assisting in training recovery to improving endurance, protein is crucial to athletic performance. There are a number of variables influencing athletes’ protein needs, making the question of how much protein do athletes need complicated to answer.  While there are differences in each athlete’s protein needs, most will agree that it is challenging to meet protein needs through diet alone. It is time to stop guessing and use science-based evidence to determine your specific number and ways to meet these needs so you can focus on what matters most: training.

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Hit All the Marks With Optimal Macros: How Much Protein Do Athletes Need? is an original (AthleticInsightNews) article.

Enhancing athletic greatness with protein

In athletics today, the gap between great performance and elite performance is minuscule. Certainly, training and genetics are a factor, but the biggest variable is the macronutrient, protein. Protein is imperative for athletic performance. It:

  • Improves muscle strength
  • Enhances muscle growth
  • Improves physical performance
  • Boosts aerobic capacity
  • Accelerates recovery from training

Factors influencing individual protein needs

The answer to the question of how much protein do athletes need depends on many individual factors. General recommendations can be easily found, but these recommendations often do not account for the type of athlete or the athlete’s age, sex, and training intensity.

How much protein do athletes need:

Type of athlete

Each sport has different demands on the body and therefore requires a unique skillset to excel. Strength athletes require muscles to be powerful, whereas endurance athletes need lean muscle mass that is capable of prolonged exertions. To meet these individual needs, strength athletes must consume 1.6-2.0 g/kg of body weight daily. In contrast, endurance athletes should aim for 1.0-1.6g/kg of body weight according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Man is doing exercise.

How much protein do athletes need:


Many things in life get better with age. However, skeletal muscles are not one of them. Skeletal muscles begin to degrade somewhere in the 3rd decade of life. As early as this sounds, muscle loss can be slowed and even prevented with the right training and proper amount of high-quality protein. For this reason, based on sports nutrition research, older athletes need extra protein to accommodate and should aim for 0.4 g / kg of body weight with a daily target of protein per meal or 1.5 g- 1.6 g/ kg of body weight daily.

How much protein do athletes need:


Men and women are different in so many ways. This is also true in regard to male and female protein needs. Sports nutrition research has highlighted the importance of sex-specific nutritional strategies to meet the needs of athletes. The primary reason for sex-specific nutritional recommendations is due to hormonal differences between males and females. Current research indicates the baseline protein level for males should be at 1.2 g.kg of body weight, while females should aim for 1.41 – 1.71 g/kg of body weight. However, female athletes may need to adjust this number when training and competing during menstruation.

How much protein do athletes need:

Training intensity

Training is tough on the body. The body requires a significant amount of energy to be able to endure the rigors of any training session, but intense training sessions can completely deplete the body’s energy levels. To recover properly and adapt, increasing protein intake is imperative. For these reasons, adjusting protein intake to a higher level is recommended during periods of intense training to make up for the energy deficit. However, this may be more appropriate for amateur athletes who require more protein compared to highly trained athletes.

young muscular woman doing squats at gym

How much protein do athletes need:

Diet deficiencies

After answering the question of how much protein do athletes need, the next step is planning out meals to meet these needs. Remember that research shows the body can only digest and use for muscle-building a maximum of 40 grams of high-quality protein in one sitting.

When factoring in training schedules, sleep, and other daily activities, there is limited time left to meal prep and cook. Certainly, it is possible to obtain all of the protein from diet alone, but protein supplementation provides athletes with a convenient alternative.

How much protein do athletes need:

Protein supplements

To overcome the challenges of meeting protein needs with diet alone, protein supplementation is strongly recommended. Protein supplementation makes it easy for athletes to take advantage of peri-nutrition science findings to time protein intake for optimal muscle protein synthesis.

Meeting the need with a fast and convenient protein supplement

Frog Fuel should be at the top of any athlete’s list when it comes to protein supplementation. Frog Fuel has made one of the only complete collagen proteins to help athletes strengthen, repair, and recover. Frog Fuel offers two products, both made from ProT Gold’s award-winning formula, giving athletes the ability to benefit from a pre-and post-workout protein supplement.

First, it comes in a convenient 1-ounce pouch that can fit anywhere, making it easy to take on the go. Second, the nano-hydrolyzed protein ensures complete digestion in less than 15 minutes, which optimizes muscle building and reduces some of the gastrointestinal side effects common with whey protein.

Finally, collagen is known to support connective tissue and maintain joint health to keep athletes in the game. While collagen protein may not typically be as popular among athletes as other types of protein, it has distinct advantages. This is why Frog Fuel is trusted by elite athletes. Here’s what one athlete had to say: “I can’t say enough good things about Frog Fuel. I am a triathlete and use Frog Fuel products for different stages of my training.”

frog fuel power protein

How much protein do athletes need:

Combining diet and protein supplements

Protein may be important for muscle synthesis, but not all protein sources are created equal. Athletes should search for whole food sources that contain all the essential amino acids. These proteins are called complete proteins and include the following:

  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Tofu
  • Beef and pork

Combining the complete dietary proteins with a Frog Fuel protein supplement is the best way to reach your individualized protein intake goal to fuel muscle growth, strength, and performance without sacrificing body composition.

Stay up to date with sports nutrition trends

Sports science research continues to evolve and, as it does, consumer trends change. One of these trends is the widespread use of energy drinks and pre-workout supplements. Caffeine helps the body train harder, but many products are high in sugar and unhealthy substances that hinder performance.

Another important trend is the search for products that are clean and not banned by sports governing agencies. Since protein supplements are loosely regulated, some banned substances may be present without athletes’ knowledge. For this reason, being an informed consumer is important.

How much protein do athletes need:

Final thoughts

Protein is all-important to athletes. From increasing strength to enhancing endurance, this macronutrient imparts many benefits. There is no shortage of options to help athletes meet individual protein needs, but not all sources are created equal. Look out for unhealthy additives in protein supplements that can impede performance. It is best to make informed decisions when searching for high-quality protein sources, just like research training methods to optimize performance.

Protein sources.

To enhance subject knowledge:

National Institute of Health: International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stance: protein and exercise.

NASM: The Power of Protein.

Human Kinetics: Nutrition for Special Populations: Young, Female, and Master Athletes.

Important Note: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease or health condition. Before embarking on any diet, fitness regimen, or program of nutritional supplementation, it is advisable to consult your healthcare professional in order to determine its safety and probable efficacy in terms of your individual state of health.

Regarding Nutritional Supplements Or Other Non-Prescription Health Products: If any nutritional supplements or other non-prescription health products are mentioned in the foregoing article, any claims or statements made about them have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and such nutritional supplements or other health products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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