Protein-Pacing: The Science-Backed Secret to Getting Fitter Faster

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New research from Skidmore College confirms what trainers around the world consider the perfect diet and exercise regimen: A workout that checks all the boxes and a boatload of protein.

Lead researcher Paul Arciero made some pretty straight-forward science even easier to remember. He calls the ideal wellness program “PRISE”: Protein-paced, Resistance, Interval, Stretching, and Endurance — a new way to highlight the long-known five components of fitness, which include cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, and body composition.

Here’s the deal: If your training program overlooks or ignores any one of the five components of fitness, you’re basically selling yourself short. You need all five areas to truly get in stellar shape. The real benefit of PRISE over the more-traditional five components is that the acronym clearly delineates what a regular workout and nutrition program should include to attain maximum results. It’s not good enough to just strength train or just run, you need a routine that includes resistance training, endurance training, interval training, and stretching to see substantial changes in overall wellness.

What sets this apart is the study's approach to diet — the "protein pacing" element. In the Skidmore study, test subjects in one group consumed an antioxidant-rich, high-protein diet consisting of two grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight — roughly double common standards — eaten at consistent intervals throughout the day. This group ultimately saw greater gains in overall fitness than the group that consumed an equal number of calories, but a slightly lower protein intake. In other words, a stack of pancakes or a donut for breakfast won’t keep your body revving like eggs and bacon in the morning — which, we hope, doesn’t surprise you.

What this really means for the average exerciser is that it’s time to take another look at your diet and exercise program to make sure it’s truly balanced, and if you’re hitting a wall with your training, protein-pacing could be your ticket to gains.