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Does a high-intensity run actually warrant more protein in the diet?

If you had a high-intensity workout, do you really need to consume more protein?

Does running at high intensity burn more protein? 

While popular opinion may suggest that it does, a recent look at the numbers states otherwise. Sports science writer and Canadian Running contributor Alex Hutchinson recently published a story in Outside magazine in which he found that the amount of protein burned is not affected by the intensity run.  

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When runners are active, they’re burning carbs and fat as their go-to fuel source. Protein, on the other hand, is used by the body to build and repair damaged muscles. During long sessions, as Hutchinson explains, around five or 10 per cent of the overall energy burned comes from protein. 


One researcher at the University of Toronto, Jenna Gillen, took a look into the details and conducted a study where eight runners ran 10K either at 70 per cent of their max or at 90 per cent. They tracked the presence of amino acids to predict protein burned and, there seemed to be no obvious difference between the two groups. With this knowledge, it’s suggested that athletes don’t really need to make a big shift in their protein intake based on if their efforts are easier or harder. 

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