Drinking protein on rest days is a highly debated topic. With so much conflicting information for gym enthusiasts, you may wonder if you can drink your protein shake on rest days.
In this article, we’ll look at how to optimize nutrition strategies on your off days and clarify if you can take protein powder on rest days.
Should you drink protein shakes on rest days? Protein is the building block of muscle and is important for rest-day nutrition. When you take whey protein on rest days, it helps speed recovery, aid in muscle growth, and boost metabolism while giving you a feeling of satiety, keeping you away from unhealthy food cravings.
Reasons to Drink Protein Shake on Off Days
Maintaining High Protein Consumption on Rest Days Is Nutritionally Vital
Protein is the building block of muscles. Our bodies need protein on any given day to function effectively. Regardless of whether you’re training hard at the gym, keeping an optimum protein intake is essential for healthy living.
This is where drinking protein powder on rest days is an effective practice. It not only gives your body the nutrients it needs, but it also serves as an effective motivator when you stick to your nutrition plan as on any other day. Rest days don’t equal slacking on your goals!
Whether or not should you drink protein shakes on off days will also depend on your goals. For example, if you’re trying to achieve muscle growth and mass, you need to keep your protein intake high.
Remember, consistency is key and it's important to maintain your nutritional requirements on rest days as well. For as long as you want to put on muscle mass, or lose weight without losing muscle tone, your protein intake needs to be consistently high.
Protein Aids in the Recovery, Maintenance, and Growth of Your Muscles
If you work out regularly, you must know that rest days are essentially when the majority of muscle growth happens. Your body rebuilds itself as stronger and fitter than ever before by repairing the micro-tears that your muscles are subjected to during hardcore workouts.
Rest days are also the perfect time to replenish your glycogen stores that get depleted from regular workouts, and let your body regulate stress hormones that naturally get elevated from prolonged exercise.
According to a study, protein is synthesized to speed up the process of rebuilding and recovery of your muscles. When seen from this perspective, protein shakes can be an incredible way to boost the rebuilding capacity of your muscles leading to greater hypertrophy and muscle gain all while reducing soreness and fatigue.
Similarly, if you’re focusing on weight loss, there’s a high chance of losing muscle mass in the process. Ensuring adequate consumption of protein powder can help maintain an optimum lean muscle mass while assisting the body to effectively shed fat.
An adequate intake of protein will also boost metabolism which will in turn assist in the rest and recovery process.
Protein Shake on Days off Can Help Curb Cravings
Rest day nutrition can be tricky. Due to reduced activity levels, your body may be slow to metabolize nutrients leading to food cravings. So, if you suddenly find yourself reaching for unhealthy snacks or sweets, keeping protein powder handy can stop you from making bad food choices.
Alternatively, you may find your appetite decreasing due to the lack of activity. In that case, it's important to derive maximum nutrients from your meals. Continuing to add protein to each meal will increase satiety and keep your energy level high while boosting your metabolism.
Whey protein shakes can work as both a snack as well as a light meal and therefore keep you full for longer and less likely to give in to food cravings.
Protein Shakes Are a Quick and Convenient Way of Getting Your Daily Protein Requirements Met
The simplicity of making protein shakes makes them a perfect option for a quick meal on rest days. We all have those days when we are struggling to manage time while juggling multiple commitments or we realize we don’t have enough meal prep to get us through the day.
Whether you’re running late for work or traveling, and can’t afford to spend a lot of time preparing or carrying a nutritious meal, a whey protein shake is a good addition to your rest day nutrition.
What to Eat on Rest Days to Support Muscle Growth?
Rest days are a good time to focus on your nutritional needs and figure out if you’re meeting all requirements during training days. It's also a great day to arrange and tweak your meals based on your upcoming training needs.
Rest day nutrition should consist of high-quality carbohydrates, lean protein, and moderate amounts of fat. It can look quite identical to your nutrition habits as on any other day.
High-quality carbohydrates will replenish your glycogen stores that resistance training can quickly deplete. Choose from fruits, sweet potato, whole grains, quinoa, and rice to fuel yourself on rest days.
According to a study, you may need up to 2 gms of protein per kilogram of body weight to maintain a high rate of muscle recovery. You can choose from lean meats, eggs, tofu, and fish to meet your daily protein requirements. Adding whey protein to the mix, especially before going to sleep can accelerate the process of muscle growth on rest days.
Moreover, you can gain additional high-quality protein from sources such as milk and cheese, greek yogurt, beans, legumes, nuts, and vegetables.
Make sure to add adequate fat to your meals which will increase your feelings of satiety keeping you full for longer, thereby reducing food cravings.
Additionally, focus on getting enough sleep and hydration and do some gentle movements to keep you active and help your body recover faster.
Recommended Product: Grape Whey Protein Isolate by Naked Nutrition
To give your metabolism a much-needed boost and speed up muscle recovery, we recommend using Naked Nutrition’s Whey Protein Isolate. This 100% pure whey protein powder is lactose and additives-free and comes in a delicious grape flavor that is good for any time of the day.
Each serving contains only 70 calories, 15g of pure protein, and no sugar. Naked Nutrition’s Clear Naked Whey can be mixed with cold water, electrolyte solution, and sports drinks to give you a quick and effective supplement before or after a workout.
Clear Naked Whey is also gluten-free and consists of no GMO or soy. It's 100% pure whey isolate that doesn’t contain growth hormones rBGH or rBST either. You can take this protein powder with Naked Recovery to promote mental and physical well-being on rest days and boost your body’s natural ability to promote growth and recovery.
Is It Ok to Drink Protein Shakes Every Day?
Yes, if you don’t exceed the recommended daily intake and eat a balanced diet along with a good lifestyle, you can certainly drink protein shakes regularly, including rest days.
If you don’t know how much protein you should consume each day, you can use this calculator to get a rough estimate of your nutritional needs. As long as you’re focused on meeting your daily nutritional levels, drinking protein shakes every day can help in a myriad of ways.
What Happens When You Drink Protein Shakes Without Working Out?
Whether you work out every day or not, your body still needs a certain amount of protein to function and stay healthy. Proper daily nutrition includes planning your macros and meeting your needs through a balanced diet and supplementation as necessary.
Drinking protein shakes on rest days ensures your protein goals are being met, especially if you’re finding it difficult to meet your daily macro intake from food alone. That’s yet another benefit of drinking protein shakes even on days you’re not working out.
Do Protein Shakes Build Muscle Without Working Out?
Protein shakes will not magically build muscles unless you follow a proper training regime and focus on other health aspects such as hydration, stress management, and rest.
Certain variables where additional protein consumption may be beneficial are when the individual is exercising regularly, needs greater recovery, or is an older adult.
Muscle hypertrophy happens when you exercise, and protein supplements speed up the process of rebuilding and promoting muscle growth. If you’re not working out, you can easily meet your protein needs by following a balanced diet.
So, should you drink protein shakes on non workout days? The answer is yes!
Drinking protein shakes on days off can be an effective way of meeting your daily protein requirement, promoting muscle growth, accelerating recovery, and helping you see massive improvements in your training journey.
Do you drink protein shakes on rest days? Share your thoughts and questions in the comment section below.
- Dietary protein intake and human health // Pubmed: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26797090/
- Effects of Protein Supplementation on Performance and Recovery in Resistance and Endurance Training // Ncbi: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6142015/
- How much protein do you need every day? // Harvard: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/how-much-protein-do-you-need-every-day-201506188096
- DRI Calculator for Healthcare Professionals // Nal: https://www.nal.usda.gov/human-nutrition-and-food-safety/dri-calculator
Oleksandr is a professional fitness nutritionist, certified by FPA (Fitness Professional Association). Oleksandr adheres to the principles of evidence-based dietetics and instills in his clients a healthy relationship with food - without strict prohibitions on favorite foods and regular disruptions. His main task – not only get a result for you, but also maintain it for many years, enjoying tasty and delicious food.