Protein for Athletes: How to Include More Protein in Your Diet

What you’ll learn: In this blog, we will discuss why athletes benefit from extra protein and offer a unique recipe showcasing our Pure Encapsulations® products and how you can support more protein for athletes in your diet.

Dear Fellow Athletes, I hear you.
From sore and tired muscles, to the challenge of planning unique and engaging workouts, your commitment to your optimal athletic performance remains at the forefront of your goals. One thing that hasn’t changed? The constant encouragement of consuming more protein. Protein for athletes seems to have always been a constant throughout the years. This has led to so many protein supplement products on the market (it’s hard to choose which are legitimately backed by verifiable science and which are filled with extra additives your body may not need). Not to mention, the ongoing need to meal prep and plan your protein intake to help achieve your optimal athletic fitness. Why is there such an emphasis on protein for athletes? Well, it’s partly because amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and amino acids are utilized directly by skeletal muscle for protein synthesis and repair.1

You may likely already be tired of the protein shakes, smoothies and no-bake protein balls. Although these may be helpful ways to incorporate more protein into your daily intake, besides eating a giant plate of meat and nuts and seeds, how else can you incorporate protein into your diet?

Let me Introduce You to… BCAA Protein Egg Cup:
Yup! You read that right, an egg cup! These protein egg cups are easy to make ahead, you can store them in your refrigerator for snacks later during the week and depending on your personal preference, you can get creative and add new or different ingredients to your liking. In this recipe, we keep it basic with just egg, milk, cheese, prosciutto and a little salt and pepper, but depending on your personal tastes, you can add vegetables, or maybe even other seasonings… turmeric anyone?

In general, an egg cup requires: a protein based meat such as salami, pepperoni, or ham to coat the bottom and sides of the muffin tin (for this easy BCAA Protein Egg Cup we will use prosciutto). It also requires eggs, cheese, salt, pepper, a muffin tin and an oven. Today, we are going to enhance this recipe by adding in some BCAA Powder Pure Encapsulations® amino acid powder into our mix to help add more protein for athletes and optimize our overall protein intake. The beauty of this recipe is that you can substitute a different protein powder, or maybe our WheyBasics Powder instead? Side note, I’ve got another recipe idea to share with you all closer towards the summertime that features our BCAA powder. In the meantime, if capsules are more your forte, we offer the same helpful benefits of BCAA in our convenient BCAA capsules too!

Dietary Protein for Athletes: Why Eggs?
I know what a lot of you may be thinking: Why eggs for this recipe? Eggs are an excellent source of protein, healthy dietary cholesterol, Vitamin D, choline, Biotin and Vitamin A.2 In fact, one large egg has about six grams of protein.3 While we are choosing to use our BCAA Powder to help provide 3,000mg of the branch chain amino acids, l-leucine, l-isoleucine, and l-valine, image combining that with our WheyBasics Powder which provides 21 grams of protein per serving and you have a new, delicious snack that is supplemented with additional protein. Plus it’s nutritious and something that benefits every athlete.

Nature seemed to have designed eggs to have multiple functions, one of which is its ability to emulsify (or blend together) and stabilize ingredients that if mixed without an emulsifier would not mix together cohesively and wouldn’t be stable.4 In fact, the emulsifying capacity of whole eggs, including the yolks and whites plays an important role in baking. The absence of eggs in certain formulations such as cookies, cakes and even mayonnaise can affect emulsion stability and final product appearance.4

Whether you want to make this egg cup recipe with our BCAA Powder or even substitute it out with our WheyBasics Powder or our Magnesium Powder, the emulsification properties of an egg yolk help keep the powder from clumping. How often have you gulped down your pre-workout drink to have a surprisingly unexpected powdery taste of unmixed clump protein in your drink…no matter how many times you shook your tumbler? I know, I have!

Why the Athlete in You Should Care:
As athletes, or even those of you who just like to work out and play sports, your baseline nutrient needs differ than someone who leads a more sedimentary lifestyle.5 We all tend to be familiar with our need to replenish our extinguished electrolyte stores after exercising, but did you know that the baseline needs for athletes and physically active individuals differ from those who aren’t as active? For example, the energy needs for athletes increase based on their overall energy expenditure, the amount and duration of physical activity and the overall frequency of exercising.5 To get a better visual of this need: The Daily Value is based on an average 2,000 calorie diet, whereas, some highly competitive athletes may need anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 calories daily to meet both their caloric and nutrient needs.5

And that’s just calories! Let’s talk about why extra protein for athletes is helpful. In simple terms, dietary protein is necessary to support metabolic reactions that generate ATP, or energy, for the body to function.5 For those athletes participating in intense short bouts of training, they may even require higher protein intake.5

One large egg has 13 essential vitamins and minerals and about 6 grams of protein. It also has all nine essential amino acids in the appropriate ratio for humans — all for the low price of 70 calories!3 It is important for athletes to get their protein from high quality complete protein. This may sound crazy, but not all proteins are “complete” proteins.6 Some proteins lack certain amino acids. There are 20 amino acids and to be considered a “complete” protein, the protein source, needs to contain 9 of the 20 amino acids, which are called essential amino acids. Sources that contain complete proteins include: meats, dairy, fish and yes, you guessed it: eggs!6

My vegan and vegetarian friends, I didn’t forget about you! Quinoa, buckwheat, soy and legumes, such as chickpeas, are just a few of the healthy plant-based protein sources to help provide complete amino acid protein for athletes.7 Plus, if you’re looking for a vegan egg cup recipe, we can swap out the prosciutto in this recipe for two sheets of vegan puff pastries and use silken tofu as the egg replacement. Also, be sure to swap out the regular cow’s milk for your preferred vegan-friendly alternative milk option like oat milk, soy milk or almond milk, and you’re good to go!

BCAA Protein Egg Cup Recipe:
Here it is folks! Our BCAA Egg Cup Recipe. Remember, you can play around with your egg cups if you want to add a little extra vegetable to the mix or even try out some different seasonings, get creative, enjoy and go for it! 

    1. Liska DJ. Altern Med Rev. 1998 Jun;3(3):187-98.
    2. School of Public Health. (2012, September 18). Eggs. The Nutrition Source.
    3. Levinson, J. F. (2015, December 30). The Truth about Eggs - Food & Nutrition Magazine.
    4. American Egg Board.
    5. Callahan, A., PhD, et al. (2020, October 14). Nutrient Needs of Athletes.
    6. Cleveland Clinic. (2019, March 12). Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic.
    7. 13 of the Best Vegetarian and Vegan Protein Sources. (2021, January 29). Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic.