If you’re looking to get fit (we all are), and you want a relatively easy dietary principle to follow that will increase your gains significantly, science has a suggestion for you. A new study, the results of which were published in the journals Nutrients and Growth Hormone and IGF-1 Research, suggests that periodically consuming moderate quantities of protein throughout the day leads to better fitness and health.
The study was conducted by Skidmore College. Paul Arciero, the lead researcher, says that eating protein throughout the day at regular intervals, also referred to as “protein-pacing,” when combined with a diverse exercise regimen that includes resistance, interval sprinting, stretching and endurance exercises, produces phenomenal results.
Individuals who followed the above described routine for twelve weeks showed increased markers of physical fitness, a decrease in total body fat, an increase in lean body mass and greatly improved cardiovascular and metabolic health.
Arciero is so confident in the beneficial effects of the program that he gave it an acronym for easy remembering – PRISE:
“Whether your goal is to improve fitness or heart health, the quality of your diet and a multi-dimensional exercise training regimen (PRISE) can make all the difference,” says Arciero. “It’s not about simply eating less calories and doing more exercise. It’s about eating the right foods at the right time and incorporating a combination of exercises that most effectively promotes health and fitness.”
The study followed thirty women and twenty men, aged thirty to sixty-five, who were qualified to be described as “physically fit.” When they began the study, they self-reported as exercising at least four days a week for forty-five minutes a session, with a mix of both resistance and aerobic training. They all had been engaged in these habits for at least three consecutive preceding years. Their average combined body mass index was 25 and their average body fat was 26%.
The subjects were split into two groups. Both groups ate the same number of calories and did the same exact exercise routine. Their diets, however, varied. One group ate the recommended amount of protein, and fitness nutrition products, while the second group ate increased protein and supplements that were high in antioxidants.
Both groups improved across the board. But the protein-paced group demonstrated better results, including upper body strength, muscular power and endurance, core strength and improved blood vessel health in the female subjects. The men showed superior upper and lower body strength and power, better aerobic performance and improved lower back flexibility.
The results corroborate three previous studies conducted by Arciero and his colleagues, which all suggest that the PRISE methodology improves fitness.