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Eat to Endure

Anyone who works out regularly understands the power of protein for building muscle. But did you know protein can help endurance athletes, as well? That’s what a study published in the April 2011 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found. Researchers had trained male cyclists to complete two three-week trials broken up equally into normal, intensified and recovery segments. The cyclists received either a high-protein or normal diet during the latter two periods while carbs remained constant, and they completed a stress-oriented questionnaire each day. Result? The protein guys recovered their endurance better, and the frequency of stress symptoms described as “worse than normal” after high-intensity training were attenuated by increased protein. So if you’re training for the Tour de France — or the Tour de Anything, really — now’s probably not a good time to go vegan.