Should You Take Protein On Rest Days?

While the “no-days-off” method for working out is popular, that doesn’t make it the best option for optimal weight loss or muscle gain. It’s important that you’re taking a rest day to allow your body to catch up. Even when you aren’t working out, your body is hard at work recovering from said workouts. A rest day or recovery day is almost required if you want to avoid injury and keep seeing those gains.

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    Now, you also know that nutrition is going to play a key role in whether you see lackluster or amazing results. You know to really dial it in on those days you hit the gym, but what about the days you’re off? Do you still have to follow the same protocol even when you’re not breaking a sweat?

    Yes, you need to keep your nutritional efforts at the forefront even on rest days. Those aren’t days to just wander off the path, as they’re just as important. One question that gets raised is surrounding protein shakes. Shakes are the perfect way to get in additional protein while also helping you keep hunger at bay, but what place do they for an off day?

    In this post, we’ll be covering why you drink protein shakes as well as whether you even need them for a rest day. Let’s dive in!

    Why Drink Protein Shakes?

    To start, why are you drinking protein shakes in the first place? They aren’t a magic pill that’ll grow muscles overnight, but more so a tool. Shakes give you a clean, and easily digested source of protein that can help you attain your goals. They can keep hunger and cravings at a manageable level if you’re trying to lose weight as well.

    Yet, what really makes protein shakes stand out is…

    You create tiny, micro-tears in your muscles as you workout. The protein you consume is broken down into amino acids that work like building blocks to repair that muscle tissue. This tissue is not only repaired but is rebuilt larger and stronger. Repeating this cycle of damage and repair is what allows you to grow muscle mass and strength. When you drink a protein shake, you bring in a ton of protein at one time. It’s fast, efficient, and helps you get where you need to be in terms of protein intake for recovery. Most often, you will be advised to drink them right after workouts, which is great. However, they can really be consumed at any point in the day to aid in that adequate protein intake.

    You should also consider that whole foods high in protein are going to make up the bulk of what you need to eat, but shakes can help make this easier. You don’t have to prep them, chew them, or heat them up at work. You just mix and take it back.

    So, that’s the purpose behind protein shakes in the first place. It’s a boost in your daily protein intake.

    Are Protein Shakes Necessary for Off Days?

    In short, the answer is yes. However, this can depend on your situation and preference. You still need protein even on those off days. Your body is still repairing itself and you’d be doing it a disservice to take away your normal protein intake. If, on a regular training day, you tend to consume a shake or two you should keep that up. Protein intake should be your constant when it comes to either weight gain or loss, as it’s going to partake in multiple processes. This includes muscle recovery, metabolism, and hunger.

    In addition, those off days tend to come with the craving of foods that are off plan. A shake can be a good way to keep things in line by controlling cravings and keeping hunger to a minimum.

    If you’re someone who can easily achieve your protein intake without the use of a shake, then you could opt for that. The shake doesn’t HAVE to be a part of your day unless you want it to help you hit your goals. It should just be noted that shakes are a great way of getting protein without much hassle, and you would benefit from something that isn’t difficult in your routine.

    Shakes can be an important part of a rest day for getting in protein. They shouldn’t be counted out just because you aren’t hitting a full-blown workout on that given day. Think of protein shakes a fast, liquid form of food more than a post workout must. They still work even if you didn’t hit the gym that day.

    Wrapping Up

    You’re going to get the best results from staying consistent. Things tend to go wrong, regardless of the goal, when you overly deviate from a structured routine. When you effectively use rest days in your routine, it’s important that they aren’t much different from a normal training day. You may not be working out or doing something as intense, but you should attempt keeping your nutrition fairly the same. This will help you over time to stay in the lines of what you’re trying to accomplish.

    With the regards to protein shakes, this applies as well. If you consume them on a training day to help you hit a specific intake goal, then it’s going to be beneficial doing the same on a rest day. You’ll be able to regularly hit your numbers which will help with recovery from your training. A rest day only gets better when you keep up with your nutrition as well!

    If you’re someone who’d like to keep the shakes to a minimum on rest days, you could still use whole foods to get where you need to be. Just be advised that it may be different from what you’re used to and could involve some changes.

    All in all, yes, the protein shake is needed on a rest day for optimal outcomes!

    About The Author

    Michael Collins

    Michael Collins

    Michael is a gym enthusiast with experience that spans more than 20 years. He started his exhilarating journey of keeping fit in his late teens, and over the years, he has immensely grown to become a resourceful gem in matters of fitness.

    He has been writing for many years, focusing on answering all the questions you may have on nutrition, muscle building and fitness. Keeping fit and staying healthy is his main passion, and this is evidenced in the articles he writes in a simple and understandable language out of intensive reading and real-life experiences.