Protein is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle, and also one of your biggest allies when it comes to fitness. It allows you to repair, maintain and build muscles, and is especially important for fervent athletes who consistently tear and break muscle fibres during intense workouts.
Recent research carried out at Skidmore College, meanwhile, reveals that protein can be particularly important for elite athletes, who can benefit from consuming moderate amounts of protein throughout the day, while completing a multi-faceted routine that includes resistance, interval, stretching, and endurance exercises.
Protein Pacing Useful for a Fitness Boost
According to the researchers in the above-mentioned study, regardless of whether heart health or fitness is your main aim, protein pacing can make all the difference. Lead researcher, Dr. Paul Arciero, states that goals can be achieved by doing more than lowering one’s caloric intake and exercising more. “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 popularity of equipment such as power towers has shown the importance of variation when it comes to exercise. Rather than simply lifting weights, for instance, equipment that allows you to use your own body weight can be incredibly challenging but also strengthen various muscle groups at once and get your heart racing. Variety as a way to battle boredom is only one component of a top quality workout, of course. Changing intensities, using resistance, and stretching to prevent injury and pain, are also key.
From Fit to Even More Fabulous
For their study, Arciero and team observed 30 women and 20 men aged 30 to 65, all of whom already enjoyed a high level of fitness. These participants exercised for at least four days a week, engaging in (minimum) 45-minute workout sessions. Their average BMI, was 25.
The participants were divided into two groups. They ate the same number of calories and took part in the same exercise routines, but their diet was different. Group A’s diet comprised recommended quantities of protein, plus fitness products. Group B’s was made up of slightly more protein (which was consumed throughout the day), and antioxidant supplements.
Although both showed improvements in fitness, Group B showed the biggest improvements in fitness, including core strength, better blood vessel health, and increases upper body muscular endurance (in women); and greater aerobic power, more lower black flexibility, and improved lower body muscular strength (in men).
How Does Protein Pacing Work?
In general protein pacing (part of the PRISE method, which also includes Resistance, Interval, Stretching and Endurance exercises) involves:
Consuming four to six top quality protein-based meals daily
Consuming the above every three hours
Each meal should contain between 20 and 40 grams of protein
Consuming your first meal within an hour of awakening
Consuming your last meal within two hours of sleep time
Arciero stresses that protein pacing is not about eating plenty of protein, if not eating the right kind of protein at the right time. He states: “Research data shows that for every 1% increase in calories from protein and 1% reduction in carbohydrate calories, overall food intake may decrease by 33 calories a day.” That is to say, consuming more healthy, lean protein can result in a lower consumption of carbohydrates.
The above-mentioned studies are just two of five undertaken over various years, all of which have come to the same findings. They prompt us to question current beliefs about calorie cutting and increasing the amount of exercise completed. For Arciero and his team, the secret to both a diet and a workout regime that works, is quality.