How Much Protein Does An Athlete Need To Consume In Their Diet? Dr. Joel Furhman Explains What He Tells NBA Players and Olympic Skiers

by Jackie Wicks

Something we hear a lot is that when people start exercising more is “I have to now eat a lot more protein.” Habib went through this himself in the last year, running 25-40 miles per week. The other runners and runners on PEERtrainer advised him to eat a lot of protein after a run. 

As a result the meat in his diet began to spike well above the recommended 10% level. He ended up emailing Dr. Fuhrman and asking if athletes were an exception to this 10% level. His response was that when you exercise more you need more calories. And if you are eating a nutrient dense diet with plenty of greens you are getting plenty of protein.

What interesting is that Dr. Fuhrman is an Olympic Medalist in figure skating. He also counsels the US Olympic team, world class skiers and NBA basketball players. In this video, he explains in detail what advice he gives professional athletes in terms of their protein intake:

Here is a bullet point summary of his main points:

  • When you exercise and train hard you stress your immune system. If a world cup skier gets sick it might mess up their entire year. So they are financially incentivized to eat the best diet possible
  • The more you exercise, the more calories you need. And you need more protein. The key is consuming high nutrient foods that are rich in protein. 
  • For his athletes, he advises a green drink blended with 5 ounces of nuts and seeds. This would give them 1000 calories and 20 grams of protein for example
  • It is not hard to get enough protein, and too much protein can be dangerous. Bodybuilders and football players who consume large amounts of whey and soy protein are putting themselves at risk for cancer. 
  • From his perspective athletes need 1.2 grams of protein for every kilogram of bodyweight.

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