Physical Performance

Nutrition is an important aspect in athletic performance. Download these shareable videos, graphics, handouts and recipes to help promote the power of protein and eggs.

CPE Webinar Opportunity – Building an “Optimal Diet”: Putting Protein into Practice


ENC has partnered with Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ SCAN (Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition) Dietary Practice Group to offer a continuing education webinar titled Building an “Optimal Diet”: Putting Protein into Practice, presented by Dr. Stuart Phillips.

Dr. Phillips is a professor at McMaster University and one of the leading investigators in the field of exercise metabolism. His work focuses on the impact of nutrition and exercise on human skeletal muscle protein turnover. During the webinar, he discusses protein needs and timing of intake for maximum muscle growth and maintenance for athletes and the aging population. Additionally, he elaborates on how protein quality plays a major role in muscle anabolism. To close his talk, Dr. Phillips shares suggestions for practical applications of the latest protein research, including recommending natural protein sources with high biological value, such as eggs and milk, to help health professionals to make up-to-date diet recommendations to their clients and patients.

The webinar is approved by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) for 1 CPEU and is free of charge throughout the month of July. To receive the CPEU, SCAN members and non-members must log into the SCAN website to order and view the webinar.

Protein Requirements for Athletes and Active Individuals

Dr.-Taylor-C.-WallaceToday’s post comes from Taylor Wallace, PhD, CFS, FACN. Dr. Wallace is an accomplished food and nutrition expert, residing in the Washington, DC area.  He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles in addition to three academic textbooks.  Dr. Wallace has a doctorate degree in Food Science & Nutrition from The Ohio State University and frequently serves as a media spokesperson on hot topic nutrition, food safety and food technology issues.  Visit Dr. Taylor Wallace’s blog at


A few decades ago, sports nutrition science was in its early infancy; however, today many science-based solutions are available in the form of functional foods and dietary supplements. Many populations of active individuals, such as combat personnel, first responders, athletes and frequent gym goers have greater nutritional requirements as compared to the general population. Optimal nutrition, and the appropriate selection of foods and fluids, timing of intake, and supplemental choices enhance performance and recovery from exercise (1). Energy needs, especially protein and carbohydrate intakes, must be met during times of intense activity to help maintain body weight, replenish glycogen stores and in the case of protein, help build and repair muscle tissue.

Muscle growth happens as a result of combined exercise and proper nutrition. To attain peak levels of performance, active individuals clearly need to be aware of their dietary intake of protein; a large body of evidence supports that appropriate intakes of protein/amino acids can help support increased rates of muscle repair and formation (2). National and international dietary guidelines have traditionally recommend that adults need no more than 0.8-0.9 grams per kilogram body weight per day of protein (3-4). That’s equivalent to about 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women daily. However, a number of recent reviews, including a position stand by the American College of Sports Medicine (5), scrutinize the use of current dietary recommendations for protein among active individuals, such as athletes. There is general consensus that protein needs of active individuals are higher than those of sedentary persons. Intake of 1.2-1.4 grams per kilogram of body weight for endurance athletes (e.g. runners) and 1.2-1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight for power athletes (i.e. weight lifters) has been suggested as an appropriate requirement for active individuals (5).  ­That’s equivalent to approximately 84-119 grams for men and 66-94 grams for women daily. Consuming high quality protein (egg, dairy and/or soy) through either food or supplements immediately following exercise enhances muscle creation. While is not difficult to obtain sufficient protein intakes from natural foods, protein shakes, bars, powders and/or amino acid supplements may be advantageous in situations such as when an athlete does not have time for a full meal post-workout. Be cautious on what products you consume, especially if you are an athlete, as many tainted products and banned substances exist. If you are considering a sports nutrition product, choose a national brand or one that is third party certified to avoid any of these potential predicaments.

  1. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dieticians of Canada, and American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and athletic performance. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2009;109(3):509-527.
  2. Burd NA, Tang JE, Moore DR. Exercise training and protein metabolism: influences of contraction, protein intake, and sex-based differnces. J Appl Physiol. 2009; 106:1692-1701.
  3. Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein and Amino Acids. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2005.
  4. WHO Technical Report Series 935. Protein and Amino Acid Requirements in Human Nutrition: report of a joint FAO/WHO/UNU expert consultation.  Report of a Joint WHO/FAO/UNU Expert Consultation. 2011.
  5. Rodriguez NR, Di Marco NM, Langley S. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Nutrition and athletic performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009; 41:709-731.

Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?


From the time we were kids, we’ve all been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But is it? Breakfast influences more than you might think. Consider the latest research findings:

  • Breakfast consumption among adolescents on weekends is associated with greater engagement in moderate and vigorous physical activity on weekends.1
  • Frequency of skipping breakfast is a risk factor for lower hip bone mineral density in women. Moreover, hip bone mineral density in women who skip breakfast is three or more times lower than in women who do not skip breakfast.2
  • Consuming a high-calorie breakfast results in significantly more weight loss than consuming a high-calorie dinner.3
  • Breakfast consumption is associated with aerobic fitness and lower limb muscle power in children.4
  • A low-calorie diet, with a higher amount of calories at breakfast, can establish a greater reduction in fat mass and improved insulin sensitivity than a typical daily diet.5
  • Compared with breakfast consumers, women who rarely or never eat breakfast tend to have poorer self-rated health and less nutrition knowledge, be smokers, pay less attention to their health and not prioritize their own healthy eating when busy looking after their family.6

Thus, it seems our parents were right—given how closely it is linked to involvement in physical activity and to meeting daily nutrient needs, breakfast may indeed be the most important meal of the day. In order to take advantage of this age-old adage, encourage your patients and clients to start each day with a nutrient-rich, satisfying breakfast. Achieving a better state of health, including improvements in weight control, bone health and development of other healthful lifestyle habits, can be as simple as that.



  1. Corder K, van Sluijs EM, Ridgway CL, Steele RM, Prynne CJ, Stephen AM, Bamber DJ, Dunn VJ, Goodyer IM, Ekelund U. (2014). Breakfast consumption and physical activity in adolescents: daily associations and hourly patterns. Am J Clin Nutr. 99(2):361-368.
  2. Kuroda T, Onoe Y, Yoshikata R, Ohta H. (2013). Relationship between skipping breakfast and bone mineral density in young Japanese women. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 22(4):583-589.
  3. Garaulet M, Gómez-Abellán P. (2014). Timing of food intake and obesity: A novel association. Physiol Behav. Jan 24.
  4. Thivel D, Aucouturier J, Isacco L, Lazaar N, Ratel S, Doré E, Meyer M, Duché P. (2013). Are eating habits associated with physical fitness in primary school children? Eat Behav. 14(1):83-86.
  5. Lombardo M, Bellia A, Padua E, Annino G, Guglielmi V, D’Adamo M, Iellamo F, Sbraccia P. (2014). Morning Meal More Efficient for Fat Loss in a 3-Month Lifestyle Intervention. J Am Coll Nutr. 8:1-8.
  6. Smith KJ, McNaughton SA, Cleland VJ, Crawford D, Ball K. (2013). Health, behavioral, cognitive, and social correlates of breakfast skipping among women living in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods. J Nutr. 143(11):1774-1784.

Brief Protein Research Round Up

Here’s what we’ve been reading here at ENC regarding protein the past couple of weeks! Check the articles out!

Protein/Macronutrient Composition
“Myofibrillar muscle protein synthesis rates subsequent to a meal in response to increasing doses of whey protein at rest and after resistance exercise”  (Witard et al. Am J Clin Nutr. E-pub ahead of print)This randomized controlled trial in resistance-trained young men (N=48) showed that 20 and 40 g of whey protein isolate (WPI) consumed immediately after exercise increased myofibrillar muscle protein synthesis by ~50%, whereas no stimulation was observed with 10 g WPI.Both Dietary Protein and Fat Increase Postprandial Glucose Excursions in Children With Type 1 Diabetes, and the Effect Is Additive” (Smart et al. Diab Care. 2013;36:3897-3902)This randomized controlled crossover trial in children with type 1 diabetes (N=33) showed that breakfast meals containing 40 g protein or 35 g fat resulted in greater postprandial glucose excursions; the higher protein meal had a protective effect on the development of hypoglycemia. 

“Protein leverage and energy intake” (Gosby et al. Obes Rev. 2013;E-pub ahead of print)

This analysis of data collected from 38 published experimental trials measuring ad libitum intake in subjects confined to menus differing in macronutrient composition showed that percent dietary protein was negatively associated with total energy intake irrespective of whether carbohydrate or fat were the diluents of protein.

Tell us any interesting protein research that you have recently read.

Power Up on Protein for Muscle Health

rebecca-teal-150x150Today’s post is the second of a series of blogs from our friend Rebecca Scritchfield MA, RD, ACSM HFS.

Twitter: @ScritchfieldRD

Disclosure from Rebecca Scritchfield MA, RD, ACSM HFS: I was compensated by Egg Nutrition Center for my time in writing this blog post.

As a personal trainer and fitness expert, you know dietary protein intake directly influences muscle mass, strength and function in people of all ages. You do what you can in your client sessions to make sure they are eating right because you know the workout is only half the equation. How do you help your clients fuel well? You need to give them accurate advice they can implement quickly.

In this blog, my goal is to make it easy for you to bring the protein message to your clients by providing tips, resources, and research evidence. This way, you can get on with your job of motivating and coaching them through their workouts.

How much protein should I be eating?


The amount of protein a person needs depends on their activity level and goals. Newer research is showing that the average healthy adult should consume 25-30 grams of high-quality protein with each meal.(1) Protein helps maintain healthy bones and muscles, so it’s especially important that physically active people are getting adequate amounts throughout the day.(2)  Keep in mind that not all proteins are built alike and be sure to stress the importance of high-quality protein to your clients. High-quality proteins are easier for the body to utilize, they help you feel full and energized, they provide all the essential amino acids our bodies need to function optimally, and they may aid in weight loss. Animal products contain high-quality proteins and when combined with plant-based proteins, there is an overall boost in protein. Some foods that contain protein are eggs, Greek yogurt, milk, meat, fish as well as others such as quinoa, tofu and hemp seeds.


For most people, breakfasts are quick and on-the-go, which can make it difficult to hit the protein target. Whole eggs, which have 6 grams of quality protein (13% of the recommended Daily Value), are a great choice for breakfast. Research shows that eating eggs for breakfast, in comparison to higher carbohydrate alternatives, such as bagels, have helped overweight dieters lose 65% more weight and reduce their BMI by 61% more than those who chose the bagel.(3) Adequate protein intake at breakfast has also been shown to increase satiety throughout the day.  If your clients don’t have a few minutes to make eggs in the morning, encourage them to take hard boiled eggs on-the-go or even make scrambled eggs the night before and reheat for a few minutes the next morning.

better-breakfast-150x150 Download the “better breakfast protein” infographic for more facts and breakfast comparisons. Feel free to share this with your clients or post it to your website.

Besides protein, emphasize balance to your clients. Carbohydrates and fats are also important nutrients to fuel our lives. These main dish recipesfrom Incredible Eggs are delicious, easy, and balanced in nutrients.

Should I be eating protein before and/or after a workout?

High-quality protein is not only important in each meal, but it’s also an essential part of fueling before and recovering from a workout. (2) Let your clients know that high-quality proteins should be incorporated into their pre-fuel and recovery meals and snacks.

I recommend whole eggs plus a source of carbohydrates. For morning workouts, eggs with an English muffin or corn tortilla will do the trick. For evening workouts, I’d suggest a burrito with eggs, beans, and veggies. These options work for both pre-fuel and recovery. Other food ideas include homemade cinnamon French toast sticks, oatmeal with Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese with fruit.

Clients always want to know “how much should I eat?” The volume of food depends on

the person’s total daily energy needs. In general, bigger portions for more active people with more muscle mass. A good “rule of thumb” is that your clients should eat their three balanced meals, pre-fuel and recovery. If they get hungry outside of those meals, they may need an additional snack, or they may need to increase the portion size of meals.

Aren’t egg whites a good source of protein?


It’s a common myth that eating just the egg white is the best way to get all of an eggs protein and none of its fat. Actually, about half of an eggs high-quality protein is found in the yolk – in fact, whole eggs offer such high-quality protein that they are the “gold standard” to which scientists compare other quality proteins. Yolks also have other nutrients like choline, Vitamin D, and antioxidants. And each one adds only 55 calories and 4.5 grams of fats, over half of which are heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Encourage your clients to eat the whole egg, including the yolk.

What about protein powders and shakes — do those provide quality protein to fuel my workouts?

I’m sure that a lot of your clients have questions about protein supplements. Whenever one of my clients wants to know about the different options available, I make it a point to educate them on the pros and cons. It’s a common curiosity among my clients if the supplements offer an “edge”. First, I always tell them that whole foods are better. Choose food first. Second, it’s important that any supplement have a specific beneficial purpose and nutrition need. Convenience is one of the big alluring factors of protein supplements. Try working with them to emphasize convenient, portable real foods that deliver protein and carbohydrates and minimize the use of protein supplements. Remind them that whole foods have additional nutritional benefits such as fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that supplements lack.

The downfall of supplements is that they are not regulated by the government for quality, purity, and safety. I always recommend choosing a producer that you can really trust – look for a company with a long history of good products and provides the nutrients in the most natural form possible. Avoid any “funny business” ingredients.


(1)  Layman D, Rodriquez N. Egg protein as a source of power, strength, and energy. Food Science. 2009; 44(1):43-48.

(2)  Layman D and Rodriquez N. Egg Protein as a source of power, strength and energy. Nutrition Today 2009; 44(1):  43-7.

(3)  Ratliff, J., Leite, J.O., de Ogburn, R., Puglisi, M.J., VanHeest, J., Fernandez, M.L. (2010) Consuming eggs for breakfast influences plasma glucose and ghrelin, while reducing energy intake during the next 24 hours in adult men. Nutrition Research, 30, 96-103.