Protein Intake and Athletic Performance

Peter W.R. Lemon, David N. Proctor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


For most of the current century, exercise/nutritional scientists have generally accepted the belief that exercise has little effect on protein/amino acid requirements. However, during the same time period many athletes (especially strength athletes) have routinely consumed diets high in protein. In recent years, the results of a number of investigations involving both strength and endurance athletes indicate that, in fact, exercise does increase protein/amino acid need. For endurance athletes, regular exercise may increase protein need by 50 to 100%. For strength athletes, the data are less clear; however, protein intakes in excess of sedentary needs may enhance muscle development. Despite these observations increased protein intake may not improve athletic performance because many athletes routinely consume 150 to 200% of sedentary protein requirements. Assuming total energy intake is sufficient to cover the high expenditures caused by daily training, a diet containing 12 to 15% of its energy from protein should be adequate for both types of athletes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-325
Number of pages13
JournalSports Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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