Moderate and Higher Protein Intakes Promote Superior Body Recomposition in Older Women Performing Resistance Training

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2022 May 1;54(5):807-813. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000002855. Epub 2022 Jan 12.


Purpose: Resistance training (RT) combined with appropriate dietary intake can promote a concomitant increase in skeletal muscle mass (SMM) and reduction in fat mass, a condition termed body recomposition. This study's primary purpose was to explore the effects of protein ingestion on body recomposition after 24 wk of RT in older women.

Methods: Data from 130 untrained older women (68.7 ± 5.6 yr, 66.5 ± 11.5 kg, 155.5 ± 6.0 cm, and 27.4 ± 4.0 kg·m-2) across six studies were retrospectively analyzed. The participants were divided into tertiles according to their customary protein intake (g·kg-1·d-1): lower (LP; n = 45), moderate (MP; n = 42), and higher (HP; n = 43) protein intake. Participants performed a whole-body RT program carried out over 24 wk (eight exercises, three sets, 8-15 repetitions, three sessions a week). SMM and fat mass were determined by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry.

Results: All groups increased SMM from baseline (P < 0.05), with the HP and MP groups showing greater increases than the LP group (LP, 2.3%; MP, 5.4%; and HP, 5.1%; P < 0.05). Reductions in fat mass were similar for all three groups (LP, 1.7%; MP, 3.7%; and HP, 3.1%; P > 0.05). The composite z-score of the percentage changes from pretraining to posttraining indicated greater positive body recomposition values for HP and MP compared with LP (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Results suggest that protein intake is a moderating variable for body recomposition in older women undergoing RT, with a low protein intake having a less favorable effect on body recomposition.

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Aged
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Resistance Training*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Dietary Proteins