Let’s talk about protein and why this is an essential element in everyone’s diet, particularly dancers and athletes. Protein is a vital component of every cell in the body. The building and repairing of tissue is done with protein, as is the making of hormones and enzymes. It is an essential element for the building and maintenance of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. Therefore, insufficient protein intake results in “loss of muscle, strength and skill” (Mastin, 2009, p.26).
“Protein is a macronutrient and is composed of amino acids, some essential (cannot be made in the human body) and other non-essential (can be made in the body)” (Iadms.org, 2017). As a macronutrient protein differs from fat and carbohydrates, because the body cannot store it, therefore the body needs to be constantly replenished.
How Much Protein
So how much does the body actually need? Less than one would think. The key lies not in the quantity, but rather the quality, so we must eat good sources of protein.
According to Zerlin Mastin (Mastin, 2009) protein:
Plays a vital role in achieving balance, poise, core strength and grace by maintaining and building muscle attached to the bone (skeletal muscle)
prevents water retention
prevents injury caused by lack of supporting muscle
encourages healthy hair and skin
Two more important facts, protein consumption is not be based upon calorie requirements for activity, but rather on body weight. Proteins are best for our body when eaten in combination with carbohydrates 2 – 4 hours after training has finished.
Below is a link to the list of proteins and daily requirements provided by (Iadms.org, 2017)
(please refer to p. 17)
I have also added a high protein recipe for you to try courtesy of the spruce.
Iadms.org. (2017). Resource Paper: Nutrition (2016) – International Association for Dance Medicine & Science. [online] Available at: https://www.iadms.org/page/RPnutrition [Accessed 02.01.2018]
Mastin, Z. (2009). Nutrition for the dancer. Alton, Hampshire [England]: Dance Books
Hackett, J. (2017) www.thespruce.com [Accessed 02.01.2018]