How Much Protein Can You Digest?

New research suggests that you might be dramatically underestimating how much protein your body can absorb.

Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. Every weekday, we make sense of the confusing world of wellness with quick tips designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • What diet books don’t tell you

  • The $150,000 workout

  • Did you hear the one about protein?

  • The 6-hour rule

Arnold’s Podcast

Want more stories from Arnold? Every day, Arnold’s Pump Club Podcast opens with a story, perspective, and wisdom from Arnold that you won’t find in the newsletter. And, you’ll hear a recap of the day’s items. You can subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Google, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

What Diet Books Don’t Tell You

When you start a diet, you’re told you must follow a strict set of rules to see results. At some point, the rules are hard to follow, you burn out, eat dessert, and everything unravels. But what if you could still lose weight with a little more freedom?

Research suggests that less strict diet plans are just as effective as plans requiring you to cut calories daily. 

Scientists compared what happens if you follow a reduced calorie diet every week or a plan where you stick to a plan for two weeks and then take a week with more relaxed eating. Despite the break, the group with more freedom lost just as much weight and body fat and saw similar changes to their metabolic rate as the group that cut calories every day.

This isn’t the first time diet breaks have proven effective. In a longer study, people who took two-week diet breaks every two weeks lost about ten more pounds, but that could be because the diet break group followed a plan for 30 weeks (compared to 16 weeks of the people following the no-break plan). 

And that might be the real benefit. Plans with more freedom help you stay consistent for longer without burnout and cravings. It’s not that diets don’t “work” — it’s that they don’t work in the long run for many people. If a diet is unsustainable, stressful, and removes the joy of food, you won’t follow it for long. You even see it in the studies; people with stricter plans are likelier to drop out. Whereas taking intermittent breaks — or finding a plan with much more flexibility — might give you a better chance at sustainable success. 

The $150,000 Workout

We don’t know if it’s an official record, but someone paid $150,000 last year for a training session with Arnold. (For the record, all the money went to charity.)

That was just one workout. But what if Arnold was your coach for just $9 per month?

When you join the Pump app, it’s the closest thing you’ll find to the $150,000 experience — but with much more long-term value. And you get to interact directly with Arnold. Your membership includes:

  • Never-seen-before workouts from Arnold

  • Plans that are customized to your experience and equipment. Everything from beginner to advanced, home workouts or a full gym.

  • A habit tracker to build unbreakable routines

  • Nutrition tips, guidance, and weekly accountability

  • Exclusive articles and guests

  • Exercise videos and guidance from Arnold

  • Weekly Q&As with Arnold and other top fitness and nutrition experts

  • Access to the most positive community on the internet

All for just $9 per month. There will always be shysters promising something new and groundbreaking. We don’t make empty promises or BS claims. But we do have plans that work, and the proof is the incredible results from thousands of satisfied members. Plus, your first 7 days are risk-free.

Join today, and you can access this week’s Q&A with Arnold.

The results you want are not hiding in a supplement, cleanse, or super restrictive diet. Let us help make this the year when your resolutions finally become a reality. 

Did You Hear The One About Protein?

Have you heard that your body can only digest 20 grams of protein? The claim — which has long been challenged — is getting harder to defend. 

A new study found that your muscles can use a seemingly “limitless” amount of protein after a workout. 

Researchers challenge the 20-gram rule by having people complete a workout and then give them no protein, 25 grams of protein, or 100 grams of protein.

Eating 100 grams of protein increases protein synthesis (the ability to use protein) more than eating 25 grams. Just as important, protein synthesis was still elevated more than 12 hours after consuming the 100 grams of protein. 

This study is another example — and the strongest yet — about your body’s ability to digest and use higher amounts of protein, especially after a resistance training workout. And it suggests that how many meals you eat likely doesn’t matter too much.

Instead, eating enough protein matters most for achieving your goals. But you don’t necessarily need to split it up evenly across many meals. It’s your choice to have bigger or smaller meals.

However, we don’t yet know what this means for long-term muscle growth or how your body will respond to different types of protein. The protein used in the study was milk protein, which is a slower-digesting protein.

But, if you want to eat more protein — especially after a workout — you can feel confident that your body will put that protein to good use. And if you’re worried, remember: research suggests that high-protein diets do not cause kidney problems.

The 6-Hour Rule

You could easily argue that prioritizing sleep is as important — if not more important — than diet and exercise. A lack of sleep can disrupt every aspect of your health. Which begs the question: how much sleep do you need before your body breaks down?

Research suggests the benefits of sleep hit their peak between 7 and 9 hours per night. But, your body starts to fight against you when you get less than 6 hours.

The study looked at more than 68,000 people and found that those who slept less than 6 hours a night weighed an average of 5 pounds more and were 15 percent more likely to be overweight than those who slept more than 7 hours a night.

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell