We’ve already showed you why rest days should definitely be a part of your training regime, and given you a bunch of activities to help you make the most of them. But what about rest day nutrition?
Here are our top four rest day nutrition tips to help you get the most out of the days when you’re not smashing it in the gym.
- Eat Plenty
Some people think that because they’re not training they should drastically reduce the amount of food they're consuming on rest days. And that’s a school of thought that kind of makes sense. After all, you’re not burning off all those calories in the gym, so it makes sense to cut back.
However, rest days are the only time when your muscles are in complete recovery mode. And guess what? Your muscles need food to help with that recovery and will use whatever nutrients are available to replace and rebuild what you've smashed, broken and torn. That’s why you should always look to supply your body with adequate nutrition, especially on your rest days.
- Stick to Your Diet
You’ll hear people say that they limit the amount of carbs they consume on rest days. The truth is, though, you don’t actually need to.
By eating the same amount of healthy food on rest days as you do normally will help maintain your routine and provide your body with the nutrients it needs to heal your broken muscles. This keeps your diet less complicated, allowing you to focus on your fitness goals rather than your eating regime.
- Stay Hydrated
As well as keeping yourself properly fed, you also need to stay hydrated on your rest days. Just because you’re not sweating buckets at the gym doesn’t mean your muscles don’t need water.
In fact, proper hydration is crucial for proper muscle recovery and repair as it enhances your nutrient absorption, so you should try and drink the same amount of water you would on a non-rest day.
- Don’t Worry If You Feel Hungrier than Normal
Many people often comment that they feel hungrier on rest days than they do on training days. Don’t worry if you feel the same as it’s perfectly normal.
As we’ve outlined above, your body uses rest days to repair and replenish broken muscles. And when given the opportunity to do so it goes into overdrive. Obviously, all that repair work needs fuelling and that’s why you’ll often feel hungrier on rest days.
Our top four tips have hopefully given you some food for thought when it comes to your rest day nutrition. But what exactly should you be eating on said days?
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Lots of Protein
Protein is the essential building block of muscles. It helps them to recover quickly and it is also crucial for building up muscle mass. That’s why it’s so important to consume plenty of it on your rest days.
So instead of a carbohydrate-based breakfast why not try a protein-rich one on rest days. Think eggs, milk, yogurt and fish.
Other Vital Nutrients
Polyunsaturated fats, like the Omega-3 found in fish and other seafood, can help to reduce inflammation and aid your overall recovery process. Likewise, vegetables high in antioxidants can reduce muscle soreness and help replenish muscles damaged while training.
Healthy, complex carbohydrates, such as those found in peas, beans, whole grains and vegetables, are essential for replacing glycogen in your muscles. Glycogen, the stored form of glucose that your muscles need to refuel, is vital for helping you build muscle. If your glycogen stores are too low you run the risk of protein breakdown, and could end up losing muscle as a result.
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