You know that you need food to fuel your athletic performance and reach your goals. But what you don’t know is if you should you eat the same number of calories on your rest days. We’re going to explore this question and give you more information on how to adjust your calories based upon your goals and your training.
Should I Eat Less Calories On Rest Days
Eating less calories on your rest day, is entirely dependent upon your body optimization and performance goals. One of the most common reasons people work out and follow a nutrition plan, is to build muscle and lose body fat, aka body recomp or body optimization.
Rest day nutrition is just as important as nutrition on training days, as well as pre and post workout nutrition.
Recovery from training can take up to 48 hours post workout to adequately rebuild and repair muscle mass. Including the right foods in your nutrition plan to efficiently and effectively reduce muscle mass soreness and initiate muscle protein synthesis are crucial not just after you work out, but on your rest days as well to grow.
If you don’t work out, you may think that you should reduce your calories, since you will not be expending the same number of calories. Again, what and how much you eat on your rest days, entirely depends on your goals.
If your goal is body recomp, then eating less calories on rest days will result in more muscle gain and body fat loss. Your body still needs nutrients for optimal recovery and growth, however if these needs are being met, you can slightly reduce your caloric intake.
If the goal is to build muscle and gain, then it would make more sense to keep your caloric intake the same on rest days. This will ensure you have ample glycogen resynthesis, energy, and nutrients to power your next training session.
Performance nutrition can also differ on rest days. If your goal is to fuel for athletic performance, eating more carbohydrates and being in a caloric surplus can help replenish glycogen stores, aiding in the following training session. This is especially helpful for endurance athletes, or those participating in high intensity functional training protocols.
Should I Eat Less Calories On Rest Days: Takeaway
Nutrition strategy and protocol, will vary depending on your specific goals, training intensity, and duration of exercise. Including quality carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats will ensure nutrient delivery for better muscle protein synthesis, and glycogen resynthesis for optimal recovery and muscle growth. Carb loading and consuming more calories on rest days will also help performance athletes and those that wish to achieve more muscle growth, for better fuel on their following training day. If the goal is body optimization or weight loss, achieving a caloric deficit is important for body composition. Slightly reducing your caloric intake on rest days will help achieve body fat loss and muscle gain. Your best bet however, is to hire a certified nutrition coach to ensure you are getting the right nutrients for your specific goals.
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