What is the PRISE protocol?

January 17, 2018,

Rebecca Haresign

Do you want to get all the benefits of exercise but struggle to find the time? The PRISE Protocol, developed by Paul Arciero, Ph.D., Director of the Human Nutrition and Metabolism laboratory at Skidmore College in New York, is a set of principles designed to improve performance, promote recovery, and nourish the body, and works well with busy schedules.

PRISE is based on four days of four types of exercise, with each one performed one day per week. Besides incorporating all the major fitness components, PRISE also emphasises providing the body the right nutrients at the right time to improve body composition and performance (1-4).

Here we define each letter in the acronym and describe how it fits into the overall protocol. In short, the ‘P’ stands for protein pacing, the ‘R’ for resistance training, ‘I’ is for interval sprint training, ‘S’ is for stretching and ‘E’ is for endurance training.

P – Protein Pacing

Dr. Arciero has been a key figure in research showing the benefit of protein pacing. Protein pacing is defined as consuming several servings of protein-rich foods spread evenly throughout the day, and can benefit muscle building and athletic performance. As protein-rich meals have a greater thermic effect than carbohydrate-rich meals, more energy is required to digest, absorb and metabolise the protein-rich meals (5). This suggests that following the concept of protein pacing as an eating pattern can not only maximise muscle maintenance during weight loss and muscle building when combined with exercise, but can also support metabolism.

R – Resistance Training

As part of PRISE, resistance training sessions are an hour long and consist of a dynamic warmup, footwork and agility exercises, and a lower and upper body resistance and core exercises. Exercises should cause muscular fatigue in 10-15 repetitions and 2-3 sets. Participants take a 30-second rest between sets and a 60-second rest between different exercises.

I – Interval Sprint Training

Interval sprint training is made up of sessions that are completed in 35 minutes or less. They can consist of either seven 30-second sets of ‘all-out’ effort with a four-minute recovery period. Or, they can consist of ten 60-second sets of ‘almost all-out’ effort with two minutes of rest after each interval. Any form of exercise can be used depending on comfort level like running, biking, sled pulling or swimming.

S – Stretching

Stretching in the PRISE protocol can consist of regular yoga and Pilates movements, providing the exercise consists of a total-body flexibility and strengthening workout. All sessions should be finished in 60 minutes.

E – Endurance Training

Endurance training as part of the protocol is performed for 60 minutes at a moderate pace (60 percent of maximal effort). Aerobic activities including running, cycling, rowing and swimming are good choices.

Click here for an example of a PRISE Routine


PRISE seeks to provide an integrative nutrition and training model that can assist the average person in achieving the benefits of exercise, including greater reductions in body fat, greater gains in lean muscle mass, and enhanced metabolic health (6).

It’s the benefits of exercise in less effort and less time – aerobic, resistance, flexibility and functional exercise.

PRISE bridges the gap between performance and nutrition by using scientifically validated methods that target all four types of fitness. Beyond performance, nutrition and body composition, PRISE is easy to follow and works well with busy schedules.


  1. Arciero PJ, Ormsbee MJ, Gentile CL, Nindl BC, Brestoff JR & Ruby M. Increased protein intake and meal frequency reduces abdominal fat during energy balance and energy deficit.Obesity. 2013 Jul; 21(7):1357-66.
  2. Arciero PJ, Baur D, Connelly S & Ormsbee MJ. Timed-daily ingestion of whey protein and exercise training reduces visceral adipose tissue mass and improves insulin resistance: the PRISE study.J Appl Physiol. 2014 Jul 1; 117(1):1-10.
  3. Arciero PJ, Ives SJ, Norton C, Escudero D, Minicucci O, O’Brien G, Paul M, Ormsbee MJ, Miller V, Sheridan C & He F. Protein-Pacing and Multi-Component Exercise Training Improves Physical Performance Outcomes in Exercise-Trained Women: The PRISE 3 Study.Nutrients. 2016 Jun 1; 8(6).
  4. Ives SJ, Norton C, Miller V, Minicucci O, Robinson J, O’Brien G, Escudero D, Paul M, Sheridan C, Curran K, Rose K, Robinson N, He F & Arciero PJ. Multi-modal exercise training and protein-pacing enhances physical performance adaptations independent of growth hormone and BDNF but may be dependent on IGF-1 in exercise-trained men.Growth Horm IGF Res. 2016 Oct 15. pii: S1096-6374(16)30060-0.
  5. Phillips S. Dietary protein requirements and adaptive advantages in athletes.Brit J Nutr 2012;108:S158-S167
  6. Arciero PJ, Miller VJ & Ward E. Performance Enhancing Diets and the PRISE Protocol to Optimize Athletic Performance.J Nutr Metab. 2015; 2015:715859.

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