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We ARE all an Athlete!

As we move to function in our daily life, we perform to the best of our abilities. Hence, everyone is really an athlete because we push our movement boundaries.

Women needs 5 ounces of protein daily, men, 6 ounces and children 2 to 5 ounces (depending on their age). A 3-ounce serving of fish is about the size of a regular checkbook.

Athletes require more energy and their protein needs are also high not only due to the needs for muscle repair and renewal, it is also important for hormonal, circulatory, immune functions etc.

For athletic performance, a healthy protein status is needed. Protein aids in several ways:

1. Protein enhances the repair and renew actions necessary in muscles following exercise, and is a vital part of recovery.

What to eat? Beef, nuts, seeds, healthy dairy, fish and beans have higher amounts of leucine, an important amino acid biomarkers for muscles.

With regards to fish, oh yes! I love my Norwegian Salmon because it provides me with complete and high quality protein (it contains all the essential amino acids needed for growth, development and repair of cells and tissues in the body) - I eat it 3 to 5 times per week. The general guideline is 2 to 3 times per week. But for me,  because I teach exercise alot, 3 to 5 times works for me for protein intake. It also tops up my omega 3 fatty acids. Consuming 8 ounces of my Norwegian Salmon per week helps me in terms of heart health,  the American Heart Association has reported that it lowers our risk of heart disease. We need good heart health for our fitness.

Why I love my Norwegian salmon? For its good sources of calcium for strong bones (yes, we need strong bones for strength in health-related fitness) and pottasium (it alleviates cramps during and post exercise).

Salmon is a low calories high protein food supplying less than 200 calories per 3 ounce serving. So it is great for weight management in fitness.

2. Protein can help prevent muscle injury, but of course, you must make sure that  you are not  stressing your muscles to excessive volumes and/or intensity of exercise.

3. Balancing protein intake with healthy fats and unprocessed carbohydrate foods can help improve muscle function and reduce excess body fat.  Drink a chocolate milk or soya ben milk after training.

Optimal protein intake:
- Consume 20-40 grams of protein in each meal or  snack.

- For strength, build more muscle, or maintain current body condition,  1.4-2.0 grams protein/kg body weight/day.

- For regular strength-training sports, 2.3-3.1 grams/kg/day, or more, may be necessary.

Examples of daily protein needs from protein rich foods:

For daily protein intake of 128 grams.
Breakfast: 3 eggs and cheese at breakfast,
Lunch: salad for lunch with a hefty serving of turkey
Dinner:  Norwegian salmon

For a daily protein intake of 106 grams:
Breakfast: 2 eggs for breakfast,
Lunch: chef’s salad for lunch,
Dinner:  sirloin steak

For 90 grams of protein:
Breakfast:  2 eggs at breakfast
Lunch: tuna salad for lunch
Dinner: Lamb

Who needs  additional amounts of protein?

- growing children
- the over 40s to prevent muscle-mass loss
- high muscle-mass types
- Those performing extreme sports

Think like an Athlete.. Eat like an Athlete! Be an Athlete!

Dee Dee Mahmood, multi award winning Celebrity Exercise Physiologist and Nutritionist, is the Academic Adjunct Senior Lecturer at Edith Cowan University Australia. Her PhD research on obesity was chosen for its impact on obesity in Asia and was accepted and presented at the President's Cup Award, American College of Sports Medicine Northwest Annual Meeting in Tacoma, Washington. Ambassadors to brands like Reebok and Norwegian Seafood Council, this TEDX Speaker has several signature community programs to her name, Fat2Fit Asia and Walking Football for Health Asia. She conducts  synergy on community and corporate health and research collaborations internationally.

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