When it comes to keeping fit and healthy and smashing your goals, rest and recovery is just as important as training. There are lots of tips and advice on what to do on rest days and active rest days but what about nutrition? We spoke to our friends at PhD Nutrition about the best meals and supplements to make the most out of your rest days.
Nutrition on Rest Days
Rest days are a well earned break from the gym, running, home workouts – whatever kind of training you’re doing. But they don’t mean a break from healthy nutrition. What you eat on rest days will help you recover, build muscle, and prepare for your next training session.
Whether your rest days are programmed into your training plan, or you take them ad-hoc when your body feels ready it’s important to have a structured approach to nutrition during recovery.
Don’t Stress About Calories
Even though you’re not exercising on a rest day, don’t be tempted to restrict your diet to cut down on calories. Your body needs the fuel to recover and repair from the previous few days of training. And it also needs to prepare for your next session (especially if you are just taking a single day off). This is particularly important if your aiming to build muscle and strength.
A rest day doesn’t mean lying on the sofa from morning till night. You should try to stay active on a rest day, doing some light cardio, yoga or mobility work, or a decent outdoor walk. And you won’t be dropping all your usual everyday activities – like walking your dog or carrying the shopping home – unless you’re actually ill or injured. So your calories should never drop below TDEE (total daily energy expenditure).
Eating to Aid Recovery
Rest day nutrition should include plenty of protein from a variety of sources, complex carbohydrates to fuel recovery, and healthy fats to help bring down the inflammation created by training.
Aim for 20-30g protein every 2-4 hours throughout the day. This will support recovery by keeping your intake of amino acids steady. Focus on natural, complex carbs from wholegrains like potatoes and root vegetables, and fruits as these will deliver important vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Your rest day fats should come from oily fish, nuts and seeds, and quality oils. And remember that carbohydrates don’t just replace energy, they also assist with protein absorption.
Supplements on Rest Day
PhD Omega 3 is a quality source of important omega 3 fatty acids which help tackle excess inflammation and support joint health, key to helping your body recover from a heavy session.
A good greens powder will be a useful extra for rest days, even though you should have more time to prep big salads and stir fries. PhD Greens packs in more fruit, vegetables, and superfood extracts that any human could ever get into a meal. This blend of 22 wholefood extracts helps alkalinise your diet which is of great benefit on rest days.
If you tend to get a sweet tooth on rest days, take a look at the Smart range of bars, cakes, and flapjacks for a delicious selection of high-protein, low-sugar treats which will make rest days feel indulgent without making a dent in your diet plan. We’d recommend the Mississippi Tough Mudder Pie flavour.
Getting plenty of good quality sleep is always important – not just on rest days. Give your sleep a boost with PhD ZMA, a combination of optimally dosed magnesium, zinc, and Vitamin B6 to support recovery.
Top Tips for Rest Day Nutrition
- Make the most of the extra time that comes from not training and use it to do a food shop or meal prep.You could also use the time to commit to new challenges that will give you something to work towards. Our 2021 season is on-sale now.
- Commit to creating nutritious meals using different vegetables to training days, variety is the spice of life after all.
- Hydrate right. Remember to drink plenty of water even though you’re not training.
- Watch your hunger levels, when you’re hangry you’re more likely to binge.
- If you usually drink caffeine on training days, make rest days caffeine-free to give your system a break.