Proteins received their name from the Greek and mean "to take first place." As nutrients, they actively build living nitrogenous tissue, they are the building blocks for all human tissue; if you do not eat them, you do not recover and rebuild after tough workouts. Plain and simple. However this does not mean the more you eat the more you rebuild/grow. Balance is the key to proper sports nutrition. Your body can only assimilate and absorb between 30-40 grams of quality protein per meal. If you consume more protein, or any macronutrient, than your body can use, it will place unnecessary strain on your digestive system as well as end up being stored as excess energy/fat. For protein to work properly it must be complete, all the essential amino acids must be present.
The most complete sources of protein are whey protein isolate and concentrate, egg whites, soy protein isolate, lean meats and fat-free dairy products (see protein sources below). The minimum daily amount of protein for an athlete who follows a strength-training program is 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body weight (total body weight minus body fat). As an athlete your body demands more protein than the average non-athlete does. But quantity is only part of the equation; so is quality. Made from milk curd – a by-product of cheese making – whey protein is the Rolls Royce of proteins. It has a superior amino-acid composition (including higher levels of leucine, arguably the most important branched-chain amino acid), superior biologic value (meaning that more of what you eat gets digested and into your system), is very low in lactose (a milk sugar that most adults have difficulty digesting). Whey protein can also promote efficient immune responses and increase tissue levels of glutathione (an important antioxidant). Another quality protein you should make a point to include in your diet is egg whites. Egg protein is the standard by which all other proteins are measured because of its very high ratio of indispensable amino acids (also called essential amino acids because they must be supplied to the body from food or supplements) to dispensable amino acids.
Consuming more protein than your body can utilize can result in an increase in fat storage. Your liver virtually converts the excess protein into fat. Over-consumption of protein for a prolonged period of time can also increase the formation of a highly toxic ammonia called urea. Since the urea in your body must be excreted, an overabundance of urea places a strain on your liver and kidneys and is oftentimes responsible for a form of arthritis known as gout.
Chicken breast, turkey breast, extra-lean beef, water packed tuna, salmon, halibut, cod, egg whites, tofu, low fat or no-fat cottage cheese, protein powders (whey, soy, milk and egg).
The worst (high fat)
Bacon, most beef, pepperoni, sausages, salami, hot dogs, bologna, processed meats, hard cheeses
Fats should make up a very small percentage of your whole diet, 15 percent or less. But nevertheless fats are needed, and you should not eat a fat-free diet, rather eat a low fat diet. Avoid saturated fats like they were cancer (because these are the fats that are attributed to causing cancer and cardiovascular disease). The best fats are plant based uncooked oils (olive, canola, safflower and flaxseed).
POST WORKOUT RECOVERY MEAL
Recent studies indicate that a properly designed post exercise meal may mitigate the catabolic effects of high intensity training while speeding recovery times. Researchers recommend that you eat a quickly assimilated, high-protein, high-carb meal within forty five minutes after (when the muscles are especially receptive to nutrients and the blood flow to the exercised muscle(s) remains high) and again two hours after training. Consume 25-35 grams of high quality protein along with 70-80 grams of complex carbohydrates and 20-30 grams of simple carbohydrates. This post-workout meal helps to begin the anabolic recovery and repair process of broken down muscle tissue.