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3.5 Off The Bike: Proteins




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This article is from the Misc Bicycles FAQs, by various authors.

3.5 Off The Bike: Proteins

Many endurance athletes opt for a full-time high carbohydrate
diet. While such a diet might be beneficial before a competition, it
is not a good idea to let daily protein intake fall below 14% of total
calories. Not only is the amino acid pool tapped for fuel during
endurance exercise, amino acids also play an important role in muscle
metabolism (primarily in acid buffering and the glucose-alanine
cycle).

Among the many disadvantages of a negative nitrogen balance
(protein deficit) are reduced healing and recovery abilities, immune
suppression system and muscle atrophy. Have you noticed how thin
cyclists can get after a few months (or days, in some cases) of putting
in serious miles? Not just low body fat but honest, muscle and bone
skinny. That kind of weight loss is undesirable even if it helps you
climb better. this sort of weight loss is due to muscle tissue being
converted into fuel (gluconeogenesis) when other sources of energy
begin to run low. This muscle is not regenerated if the amino acid
pool is tapped for energy and your diet is low in protein (measured as
percent of total calories NOT grams per day). You can lose weight but
still not become a fitter, better rider.

On the contrary, protein malnutrition will depress your immune
system, retard your recovery from hard workouts, slow healing and
impede many other processes, both physical and mental, necessary for
athletic success.

 

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