6 Signs Your Protein Intake Is Too Low
Feel like you’re losing strength? It could be that you’re low on this critical macronutrient. Protein keeps your energy up, builds muscle, and keeps you satiated, but it can be a nutrient many climbers lack in their diet.
In general, female athletes are more likely to miss the mark on proteins than male counterparts, says Yasi Ansari, national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, registered dietitian, nutritionist, and Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. That is especially true for athletes who restrict their food intake, putting themselves at risk for low protein intake.
“In the work that I do, it’s really important to encourage my athletes to be eating enough to ensure they are meeting their nutrition needs from all their macronutrients,” she says. Eating the right amount of protein plays a significant role in a climber’s diet. It helps repair muscles after a rigorous workout.
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It also builds and maintains muscle mass, which boosts performance. And it helps to support the immune system. “Proteins play many other roles as well,” says Ansari. It aids in cell turnover, for example, “the structural component of the body and makes up enzymes and some hormones while playing a role in a variety of physiological functions.”
Eating the right amount of protein
“Hemoglobin is also a protein that carries oxygen,” she adds. “Without enough proteins we are also at risk of fatigue which can lead to poor performance and low energy during training.”
Of course protein intake varies depending on the intensity of your run workouts. Many female athletes are able to consume the recommended protein requirements from their daily diet as long protein intake is 10 to 15 percent of their nutrition plan, according to the Journal of Sport and Exercise.
If you’re unsure on whether you’re getting enough protein, there are signs that you can pay attention to.
Signs You’re Not Eating Enough Proteins
There are six warning signs that it might be time to up your protein intake:
- Restless sleep
- Lack of clear cognitive thought process
- Loss of muscle tissue or changes in body composition
- Brittle nails and hair
- Feeling lazy, sluggish, or generally fatigued
- Low libido