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Q&A: Should I Eat Extra Protein if I’m Training for an Ironman?


Q: Should I eat extra protein if I'm training for an ironman?

A: Not just protein, but calories, carbs, and other nutrients—it’s all important. If you skimp on food during intense training, your body will tap into your lean muscle mass for energy. As you increase the intensity of your workouts, your protein intake should increase from about 0.6 to 0.9 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day to support your training.

An easy way to eat more protein is to include protein in every meal or snack you eat. One of the most important meals of the day is your post-workout snack. Aim for a combination of roughly 40-60 grams of carbohydrates and 20 grams of protein immediately following your workout to help your body recover from your training and boost performance.

When shopping for protein sources, choose lean and low-fat products. Here are a few great options:

  • 6 oz tuna packed in water (~40g protein)
  • 6 oz cod or salmon (~40g protein)
  • 6 oz low-fat tofu (~30g protein)
  • 1 cup 2% cottage cheese (~28g protein)
  • 3 oz lean pork (~25g protein)
  • 3 oz lean red meat (~25g protein)
  • 1 scoop whey protein (~20g protein)
  • 1 cup black/pinto beans (~16g protein)
  • 1 cup low-fat yogurt (~10g protein)
  • 1 cup low-fat milk (~8g protein)
  • 1 egg (~6g protein)
  • 1 egg white (~3g protein)

About The Author

Amanda Carlson-Phillips – Amanda Carlson-Phillips is the vice president of nutrition and research at EXOS. As a registered dietitian, she has provided educational seminars and individual counseling to a variety of professional and elite sports organizations.

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Tags: Calories, Q&A, Race, Triathlon, Protein, Carbohydrate, Outdoor Recreation, Nutrients, Energy, Build Muscle