Purpose of review: Protein delivery as well as exercise of critically ill in clinical practice is still a highly debated issue. Here we discuss only the most recent updates in the literature concerning protein nutrition and exercise of the critically ill. Recent findings: By lack of randomized controlled trial (RCTs) in protein nutrition we discuss four post-hoc analyses of nutrition studies and one experimental study in mice. Studies mainly confirm some insights that protein and energy effects are separate and that the trajectory of the patient in the ICU might change these effects. Exercise has been studied much more extensively with RCTs in the last year, although also here the differences between patient groups and timing of intervention might play their roles. Overall the effects of protein nutrition and exercise appear to be beneficial. However, studies into the differential effects of protein nutrition and/or exercise, and optimization of their combined use, have not been performed yet and are on the research agenda. Summary: Optimal protein nutrition, optimal exercise intervention as well as the optimal combination of nutrition, and exercise may help to improve long-term physical performance outcome in the critically ill patients.