In response to a vegetarian cyclist who has lost a lot of weight and needs to build muscle mass, molecular biologist Pamela Hinton says at www.cyclingnews.com that vegetarian athletes need to eat more protein daily through their vegetables than their meat-eating counterparts. To get enough amino acids, vegetarians should combine food sources â€“ like eating beans with rice, peanut butter with wheat bread, tofu with rice â€“ getting 1.6 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (compared to 1.2-1.4 for meat eaters). When you eat is important too, she said. Since exercise increases the rate of protein breakdown, it is important to eat protein in the first two to three hours after cycling. Also, eating carbs after exercise reduces the rate of protein degradation, she says.
I admire people who can manage their diets to such precision that they can follow these types of guidelines. Personally, I have to be realistic. I've never been able to eat that many veggies in the first place. (Although, I do like peanut butter on whole grain protein bread.)