on Friday, April 29, 2011

Growing up as a vegetarian the one thing I was constantly asked was how I got my protein, which as a now meat eater I'm not quite sure how I did. Of all the varying nutrition information I've heard, protein seems to have always been the one good thing to make sure you got enough of.

Proteins are macronutrients that are made up of amino acids and play an important role in the creation of new muscles as well and in production of hormones an enzymes. The amino acids link together in order to form varying shapes and sizes of proteins. Proteins have a unique chemical structure from the other macronutrients (they contain nitrogen) which allows them to perform their specific function for the body. Along with aiding the creation of new muscle they are important in maintenance and healing existing tissues. Again, as with previous nutrients gymnasts which have a propper diet filled with protein-rich foods will get more than enough to meet their bodies needs without taking any supplements.

What was really interesting that I had not previously heard was that excessive protein intake isn't helpful in training or performance and can actually be harmful to people who have a decreased kidney function. That seems to be the key though to everything nutrition, too much of any one thing is never a good thing.

Protein is very important for the growth and maintenance of the body's core structure, the muscle and bones and helps regulate body processes. Combining protein with carbs for a post-workout meal will be the most useful in aiding the body with muscle recovery which is critical for athletes, particularly gymnasts who tear down a lot of muscle during training.