Rest days are very crucial for muscle growth and recovery. But having proper nutrition on rest days can help your muscles repair and rebuild after intense workouts. This might lead to increased strength and increased muscle mass.
In this blog, you can read about what to eat on rest days for muscle growth, along with tips for meal planning, sample meal plans, your body’s hydration and nutritional needs, and much more.
1. Things to Eat on Rest Days – Exploring the Nutritional Needs of Your Body
The three primary nutrient groups for human survival are macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. These macronutrients provide the body with energy and support growth and repair. To achieve muscle growth, consuming balanced macronutrients on rest days is a must.
1.1. Get Some Proteins
Protein is the most critical macronutrient for muscle repair and growth. It is made up of amino acids, the building blocks of muscle tissue. Consuming adequate amounts of protein on rest days helps to repair and rebuild muscle tissue, leading to increased muscle mass and strength.
The recommended daily protein intake for muscle growth is around 1.6 to 2 grams per kg of body weight. Good protein sources include lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy products, and plant-based edibles such as legumes, nuts, and seeds.
1.2. Time to Add Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are also crucial for muscle recovery. They provide the body with energy and help to replenish glycogen stores, which are depleted during exercise.
Eating enough carbohydrates on days when you’re supposed to be resting will hasten muscle recovery and boost your performance. One of the best sources of carbohydrates include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and starchy foods such as potatoes and rice.
1.3. Do Not Boycott Fats
Eating wholesome fats promotes general health and muscle building during rest days. Fats are also a macronutrient for muscle growth. They are vital in producing hormones and help support and ensure healthy brain function. Oily seafood like salmon, almonds, and avocados are excellent sources of healthy fats.
You also need to pay attention to the timing of macronutrient consumption. Consuming macronutrients before, during, and after a workout can help to maximize muscle growth and recovery.
For example, drinking a source of protein and carbohydrates before an exercise can help to improve performance and aid recovery.
Protein and carbohydrates can keep energy levels up and speed recovery when consumed during exercise. And after the training, consuming a source of protein and carbohydrates can help to speed up muscle recovery and repair.
In addition to macronutrients, micronutrients are also crucial for muscle growth. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals, which play a vital role in many bodily functions, including muscle repair and growth.
A diet high in micronutrients can enhance the development of muscles and general health. Some micronutrient-rich foods include dark leafy greens, berries, nuts and seeds, and fatty fish such as salmon.
It’s also crucial to remember that getting enough calories is essential for building muscle. Your body won’t have the energy to repair and develop muscle tissue if you don’t eat enough calories. Make sure to track your calorie intake and adjust it to your goals and activity levels.
2. Why Do You Need Meal Planning for Rest Days?
Planning your meals is crucial to building muscle on your rest days. It involves planning and preparing healthy meals in advance, which helps to ensure that you are consuming the right balance of macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Meal planning also helps prevent overeating and snacking on unhealthy foods, which can sabotage your muscle growth goals.
3. Tips for Meal Planning
- Make a list of healthy food options that you enjoy and that are rich in macronutrients and micronutrients.
- Plan your meals and snacks and prepare them ahead of time. This will help to prevent last-minute decisions to grab fast food or processed snacks.
- Keep healthy snacks such as fruits, nuts, or protein bars. This will help to prevent overeating or to snack on unhealthy foods.
- Use a food scale to measure portion sizes and track your macronutrient and calorie intake.
- Experiment with new recipes and combinations to keep your meals exciting and varied.
- Consider using meal delivery services or hiring a nutritionist if you need help planning your meals.
4. Sample Meal Plan for Rest Days
5. Common Mistakes to Avoid on Rest Days
5.1. Skipping Meals
Skipping meals, especially on rest days, can be a common mistake among those looking to build muscles. It’s important to remember that rest days are just as crucial for muscle growth as training days.
It can lead to muscle breakdown and slow down the recovery process. Maintaining a consistent and balanced diet, including regularly eating throughout the day, is essential.
5.2. Not Eating Enough Protein
Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair. Consuming enough protein on rest days is crucial for the recovery and rebuilding of muscle tissue. Aim to drink at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight on rest days.
Not eating enough protein can lead to muscle breakdown and slow down the recovery process.
5.3. Overindulging in High-Calorie Foods
It’s essential to be mindful of the foods you consume on rest days. While it’s vital to fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to recover and grow, overindulging in high-calorie and processed foods can slow down progress.
These foods can be high in added sugars, unhealthy fats, and empty calories, leading to weight gain and hindering muscle growth.
5.4. Not Staying Hydrated
Proper hydration is essential for muscle growth, especially on rest days. As discussed earlier, the muscles comprise about 75% water, and hydration plays a vital role in maintaining muscle function, repair, and recovery.
When the body is dehydrated, it can lead to muscle cramps and fatigue and negatively impact physical performance. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep the body hydrated by consuming enough fluids and eating water-rich foods to promote muscle growth and recovery.
6.1. Should You Take Protein On Rest Days?
Consuming protein on rest days benefits muscle recovery and growth, as it helps repair and rebuild muscle tissue damaged during exercise. However, the amount of protein needed on rest days may vary depending on an individual’s fitness goals, exercise routine, and diet.
6.2. What Should I Eat On Non-Workout Days?
On non-workout days, it is essential to eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. It is also essential to stay hydrated and get enough rest to support recovery and overall health.
6.3. Is Protein Shake Enough After A Workout?
More than a protein shake is required after a workout as it only provides protein essentials. Still, consuming carbohydrates and other nutrients is important to replenish energy.
6.4. What Should I Do On Rest Days While Bodybuilding?
On rest days in bodybuilding, it’s essential to allow your muscles to recover by getting adequate rest and sleep and maintaining a healthy diet that provides enough protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Light cardio or stretching can also be done, but avoid intense workouts on rest days.
7. Last to Say
Meal planning, supplements, and hydration can support muscle recovery and growth on rest days. Furthermore, it is crucial to prioritize recovery techniques and be mindful of everyday mistakes such as skipping meals or overindulging in high-calorie foods.
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