Ever wondered, “should I take protein powder on rest days?” What exactly does your body do on a rest day?
Since your aren’t training, it would make send why some people would think you don’t need as much protein.
Should I Take Protein Powder On Rest Days?
Yes, your muscles are recovering the most on rest days and need the same amount of protein as on a training day. Protein will allow your muscles to recover & rebuild bigger & stronger.
Is Protein Required On Rest Days?
Protein is made up of amino acids which help repair and maintain muscle tissue. When you workout, you are breaking down your muscles. Protein and amino acids then repair them bigger and stronger when you are resting.
This is why protein is crucial on all days, including rest days. Protein is needed just as much on a rest day because this is when your muscles are recovering.
You should be eating the same amount of protein every day. The best for building muscle is 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.
The body continues to create protein 48 hours after a difficult workout, so not eating enough protein on rest days will hinder muscle growth.
WARNING: Don’t over induldge on your rest days. Many people find they are hungrier on a rest day. This is because training actually suppresses appetite levels the following day.
During exercise, blood is also rushing to your pumped muscles. This keeps blood away from the stomach. This causes the release of ghrelin, the hunger hormone.
If you’ve been killing your nurition all week and working hard then go ahead and have one cheat meal. Try to fit it into your daily calories and still eat your required protein amount!
Is Protein Powder Necessary?
Protein powder is not something that is required to build muscle. It is simply for those who cannot get in enough protein from whole food sources.
If you are unable to reach your required protein intake for the day by eating food, then protein powder is a great way to do so. It really depends on your individual goals.
Make sure you are splitting up your protein intake throughout the day. This allows your body to constantly be in the state of protein synthesis, building new muscle fibers.
Eating none in the morning and big chunks in the evening is not optimal for muscle gain and recovery. Note that your body can only properly make use of about 25 grams of protein in one sitting.
If you make a shake or meal that contains 40-50 grams, consider eating half of it later on. One sitting refers to about 1-2 hours. Otherise your body won’t properly absorb it and you risk putting strain on your kidneys.
Whey protein is a quality protein source and contains all the essential amino acids. It is also very digestible and absorbed by the body quickly.
Protein powders contain leucine, which is the most growth promoting of the amino acids. It is shown to be effective in preventing age-related muscle loss and increasing strength.
Whey protein has been shown to be effective at moderating blood sugar which increases levels of insulin and sensitivity to its effects. This means that it can help fight against diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes as it will help reduce blood sugar.
Mixing a protein shake is very convenient and doesn’t take much time. If you have a busy lifestyle and can’t always get in a chicken breast or eggs then this is great for you. Mix up a shake and take it with you in the vehicle.
Protein powder can be added into almost anything. Shakes, oats, pancakes, cookies, the list goes on. Get creative and see which foods you can add your favourite protein to.
Certain protein powders can upset your stomach and leave you feeling sick. Read more about that here. Find a protein powder that has ingredients that do not negatively affect you.
Luckily, there are plenty of vegan, dairy-free, and sugar-free options. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey is a high quality protein that won’t leave you feeling sick. Here’s the cheapest price on Amazon, if interested.
Extra sugar and unlisted ingredients can get snuck into certain powders. Research your brand and see how it affects your stomach.
Taking in too much protein can have negative effects such as making the kidneys work harder and dehydration. Make sure you aren’t exceeding your daily protein limit or eating a lot of protein at one time. Your protein intake should be spread out throughout the day.
Protein powers do not contain the same amount of micronutrients that whole foods do.
Optimize Your Rest Day
Rest days are very important for building muscle. This is the time where they are getting stronger and preparing for the workouts that follow.
Get enough sleep on your rest days and every day for maximum muscle growth. 7 hours a sleep a night is required for your muscles to recover properly. Growth hormone release and protein synthesis occur while the body is asleep.
Get lots of water in to help fight muscle soreness. Water allows nutrients to flow into the muscles, helping them recover quicker.
Stretch or foam roll out any sore muscles. Foam rolling will break up fascia and release toxins from the muscles, reducing soreness. Read more about foam rolling here.
Stretching helps alleviate tight muscles which leads to a speedy recovery.
Remember to get your protein in! Note that your body doesn’t require as many carbohydrates on rest days. This is because carbs are used as energy for difficult workouts. This is why many people incorporate low carb days when they rest.
Rest days prevent you from overtraining which results in injury and burnout. If you feel that you are weaker and not having the best workouts, sometimes taking a day or two off is the best. You’ll notice an improvement once you step back in the gym.
How many rest days should you have in your training program?
Experts recommend two rest days per week for active recovery. It can be difficult for those invested in their fitness to take two rest days. Think of them as growth days rather than rest days. Understand how important it is to take days off so that your mucsles can rebuild.
Studies have shown that those training 4 or 5 days a week progress more than those training 6 or 7. If you are training hard enough, then this is plenty. See more information on rest days here.
Leave any questions below and I’ll make sure to get back to you!