As a CrossFit enthusiast, you KNOW that protein is an essential part of your diet. It is critical to build and repair muscle. It supports overall health. And you already know it fuels your workouts. But not all proteins are created equal.
Let’s examine protein quality and why it matters for CrossFitters like you.
When it comes to protein quality, the main thing to consider is the amino acid profile. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and they play a critical role in the function and structure of your body. There are twenty different amino acids, and nine are “essential” because your body can’t make them. You have to get these essential amino acids (EAA) from the food you eat.
Protein sources that contain all nine EAA in the right proportions are considered high-quality proteins. Some examples of high-quality proteins include eggs, fish, poultry, and dairy products. Plant-based proteins, on the other hand, are often considered lower quality because they tend to be missing one or more of the EAA. However, this doesn’t mean that plant-based proteins are inherently not as good for you. If the protein is insufficient in one or more of the EAA, you can combine other plant-based proteins to create a complete amino acid profile, such as by pairing rice and beans.
So back to the original question, why does protein quality matter for CrossFitters? When doing high-intensity workouts, your body is broken down to support muscle growth and repair. As a result, you need excess amounts of the EAA mentioned before. If you are not getting enough high-quality protein in your diet, you may not be able to make the most of your workouts. You may also be at risk of losing muscle mass, which can impact your performance and overall health.
To get enough high-quality protein it’s important to include a mix of protein sources in your diet. This means choosing a variety of animal-based and plant-based proteins and combining them in a way that provides all nine essential amino acids.
In addition to the amino acid profile, it’s also important to consider other factors when choosing protein sources. These include the amount of saturated fat, and any additives or preservatives included. For example, processed meats like bacon and sausage may be high in protein, but they also tend to be higher in saturated fat and other unhealthy ingredients. On the other hand, lean meats like chicken and turkey, as well as plant-based proteins like beans and lentils, are healthier options. As the adage goes, the fewer legs an animal has, the leaner its protein will be.
To summarize, protein quality matters for CrossFitters. By choosing a variety of high-quality protein sources and combining them in optimal ways, you can ensure that you are getting the EAAs your body needs to support muscle growth and repair. Doing this can help you make the most of your workouts and reach your fitness goals.
Still, feel overwhelmed or have more questions? Our Nutrition Team at CrossFit Fringe is always here to help. Email us at [email protected] or schedule an Intro with us today!