Alex Danson on how much protein do we need?

As an international hockey player, I need to pay close attention to what I consumer on a daily basis. With England and GB Hockey, I typically train 6 times a week, sometimes twice a day and that means I need to fuel my work outs with enough high carbs and protein a few hours before a session and again afterwards.

Alex Danson

While our bodies typically use carbs as their preferred source of fuel, protein on the whole plays an important part in muscle repair, maintenance, and growth of body tissues. However, it is also key for energy ensuring I can go the whole distance for a whole game.


Protein is available in many forms, but it can be tricky to know how much you should be taking in daily and not over consuming. Men and women in the UK typically need about 55g and 45g respectively of protein every day and one portion should be around the size of your palm, and can be made up of anything including meat, fish, tofu, nuts or pulses.


When you take part in physical activity on daily basis, you need to increase your protein intake, and make sure that you’re consuming suitable sources both pre-and post-work out. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics advise that athletes need about 1 gram of protein per kilogram weight to maintain muscle mass, if you want to build muscle mass they recommend this is upped to 1.4 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram.


As an athlete I work hard to make sure I’m getting enough protein into my diet daily, which can be more challenging as a vegetarian. I have to look at a variety of sources to match the protein I miss by not eating meat. One of my favourite breakfasts is scrambled eggs, avocado and chilli on two slices of brown toast. I love this combination as it’s high in protein, tastes great and I know will keep me going throughout the morning.


I also find nut butters another good way to incorporate protein into my daily routine as they’re a great natural source of protein and so versatile – I use them for breakfast, lunch and on the go as snacks - in protein balls, nut bars or on rice cakes.


You can find out more about Meridian’s range of nut butters here.  


The information provided in this post is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed. The publisher and author are not responsible for any specific health needs that may require medical supervision. Nutritional requirements will differ from person to person and it is always best to consult a qualified dietitian for tailored advice.