As an athlete, do you hear people talk about protein all the time? Well there’s a reason why. Protein promotes the creation of new proteins in the body whilst also replacing damaged ones. Aside from this, if you zoom in on the benefits of a protein diet, you will see that it contributes to the maintenance and growth in muscle mass [1]. But wait… these aren’t the only reasons why protein foods are important for you. Let’s deep dive into the question, to unveil the benefits of optimising your daily protein intake.

The benefits of a protein rich diet

Let’s explore some of the benefits of a high protein diet for athletes.

It helps to increase muscle mass

When talking about sports, everyone has their own goal, and muscle mass is probably one that you already heard in the sport’s corridor. Alongside exercises such as strength and resistance training, protein plays a key part in helping to increase the body’s muscle mass. Whey protein is a popular option for fuelling athletes because your body absorbs it quickly post-workout. This makes it good for helping to rebuild muscle - you can find whey protein in YoPRO Perform! And as an added bonus – with increased muscle mass and adapted training comes increased strength, useful for your next training sessions!

It helps your muscles recover [2]

Training is a repetitive strain on your body, and when you’ve been working hard, you also want to take care of your muscles. Alongside stretching, massage and exercising using the correct form, having a high- protein diet can help the body muscles to recover. Why can a high-protein diet do that? This is because the amino acid leucine, as found in whey and a lot of other protein sources, starts the protein synthesis that builds up muscle and the other amino acids play the role of building blocks in your muscles. So, make sure you match your recommended protein amount, particularly around times of high activity!

It helps with your bone and muscle maintenance [3]

We’ve already touched on the importance of protein intake for muscle mass gain, when associated with sport. But it’s not the full story, there is more. Protein is a great ally, as it is known as an essential nutrient for keeping muscles and bones strong [4].

Protein rich foods to include your diet

If you’re unsure what foods are rich in protein, take a look at this list!


With around 7g of protein and all 9 essential amino acids, eggs are a great addition to your diet. Plus, they’re super quick to cook and really versatile! Yes, there are plenty of options; whether you’re a shakshuka lover or crazy about poached egg on an avocado toast, choose the option that you like the most!

Lean meat

We’re talking chicken, turkey and lean beef that’s grilled or roasted with fat and skin removed. They can bring you 20 to 30g of protein per 100g and could be cooked hot in a curry or with a tomato sauce over pasta, or wait till it’s cold put it in a salad.


From milk to yoghurts, dairy products you can include in a healthy diet are ample. You can choose from protein that occurs naturally in cow’s milk, or you can choose food and supplements that have added whey protein. Why not try a strawberry yoghurt protein shake using one of our delicious high-protein YoPRO yoghurts?

Lentils and beans

Whether you’re vegetarian or just looking for variety, lentils and beans are also rich in protein. There are plenty of different types such as lentils and kidney beans, and they work well in almost any dish. And to reach a good amount of the 9 essential amino acids, complete your lentils or beans dish with cereals, as rice for instance [5]. If you’re looking for a hot dish, you can try a delicious dahl with coral lentils, coconut milk and tofu. If you are keener to eat on-the-go meals, why not try to integrate lentils as part of a salad? Add some pieces of feta cheese, red onions, juicy tomatoes and there you go!


Looking for a plant-based alternative to meat? High in protein and a source of magnesium, soy, such as tofu, is a great option that brings lots of additional benefits to a balanced diet. If you haven’t tasted it, it’s definitely worth the try!


Seafood is also a great source of protein. Fattier or oily fish like tuna and salmon are packed with omega- 3 fatty acids, vitamin D and vitamin A. Yummy and nutritious- go for it!


Veggies don’t always get the credit they deserve! Green vegetables such as broccoli and sprouts add a little extra protein, provide fibres, vitamins and minerals and colour to your plate. Enjoy mixing them!

Athletes also need a diet rich in carbs

Protein isn’t the only nutrient you need when training. According to experts [6], carbs are an essential component in an athlete’s diet. Why? because during exercise, our body uses up its glycogen stores, the most rapid energy reserve used by your muscles, and it needs carbs to replenish them.

Not sure how much you need? Around 1 to 1.2g per kg of body weight within the first 8 hours (or ideally within the first 2 hours) after training is a good estimate [7].

So, with lots of protein, carbs and a small amount of fat, you’ll be on your way to efficient training!

Before making any changes to your diet, please consult a dietitian or nutritionist who can offer advice to tailor your diet.

Written by: Ashley Manning

Any medical advice and views expressed are those of the author; readers should obtain medical advice.


[1] Beyond muscle hypertrophy: why dietary protein is important for endurance athletes, Moore D. R. et al, Appl PhysiolNutrMetab, 2014.



[4] Protein contributes to the maintenance of muscle mass and normal bones

[5] Protein Book, Erdyn report 2015, ANSES Ciqual database, Monroy Torres R. (2008), House J.D. (2010)


[7] FAO/WHO Scientific Update on carbohydrates in human nutrition: conclusions, Mann J. et al., European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2007


Curious to know more?


Curious to know more?