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Protein and Water Polo

Protein intake is an indispensable requirement for a water polo players growth and maintenance. Every cell in a polo players body needs protein to carry out it's functions. The amount of protein required for normal health is variable depending on many factors, namely, body weight, age, physical activity, health condition, environment etc.

Generally, protein intake should be in equilibrium with protein loss. Protein is lost in urine, feces, blood, sweat, skin, nails, hair etc. When protein intake is less than protein lost, it is called negative protein balance, whereas when it is the reverse it is called positive protein balance. Ideally, for normal adults a neutral protein balance should be attained.

Young, growing water polo players, however, require more protein per unit weight than adults in normal condition and therefore should be in positive protein balance. They are gaining muscle, bones, flesh and blood, and since for every cell in these body parts protein is a requirement, the required daily protein allowance is higher.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

The idea of eating more protein has gained popularity in the past few years. Some people think the way to build body muscle is to eat high-protein diets to increase mass & strength, but it is also very important to think about recovery too.

Proteins play a key role in our bodies. They make up about 15% of the average person’s body weight. You probably know proteins as the major component of muscle. Muscles flex arms and legs, contract our hearts and create waves in the walls of our intestines to move food along. All this muscle activity accounts for most of the energy our bodies burn. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn and the more food you need to maintain your weight.

Proteins also perform crucial activities within all the cells of your body. They move molecules from one place to another, build structures, break down toxins and do countless other maintenance jobs. Proteins play an important structural role in cells as well, making up a sort of miniature skeleton.

Proteins are actually chains of small molecules called amino acids. Some of these chains are constantly being broken down, and new ones are strung together to take their place. Your body can make some of these amino acid building blocks, but not all of them. The ones you can’t make are called essential amino acids.

Meat in general is a good source of protein, with a full mixture of all the essential amino acids . However, it can be high in fat. Try to select lean cuts such as top round and sirloin. Poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes (dry beans or peas such as lentils, chickpeas and kidney beans) are also good sources of protein.

Types of Protein

The two main proteins that help to build power and muscle for water polo players are casein protein and whey protein.If used in the right context they can reduce the destructive effects of catabolism and improve the recovery and repair of tired muscles. ..... catabolism is the kiss of death to anyone who wants to increase their energy & performance.

Whey Protein

Whey is a fine liquid that is left over when cheese is produced. This liquid is dehydrated to form whey protein powder. Whey protexin is a relatively inexpensive protein and can be produced in high quantities. Whey protein is a fast acting protein, it absorbs quickly through the digestive channels. It enters the bloodstream within twenty minutes of ingestion, and is utilized by the tissues that need protein (muscle).

Peak production of whey protein once it enters into the bloodstream is about fifty minutes. After that it begins to degrade in the blood. This is why it is important to continually feed the body with protein. Because it doesn't last long in the blood system and must be replenished in order to keep feeding the tissues, especially muscles. Remember, when you breakdown the tissue you must rebuild it. It is a constant battle between protein synthesis and breakdown. If you only take in a little protein, the tissues won't get enough to rebuild and repair.


Casein also comes from dairy products - cheese and milk. The protein molecular structure of casein is more bound than that of whey protein. For this reason, casein is a slower metabolizing protein. Casein, like whey, will travel through the digestive channels with relative ease and will bypass strenuous hydrolysis through the liver. Once casein enters into the blood stream, peak production can last between three to four hours. This is considerably longer than whey.

This is a good protein to ingest after a long intense exercise bout. The muscles are tired and in need of a good supply of protein. So it only makes sense that you would want to keep an ample supply of protein coursing through the blood system to restore and constantly feed the muscle. Keeping the muscle fed ample amounts of protein will drastically reduce catabolism.

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