Ahhh, good question! It’s a common misconception that on our rest days we need fewer calories than on a training day because we’re not physically exerting ourselves as much. However, this is not true - for several reasons!
The Importance of Rest Days
First of all, I just want to briefly go over the importance of rest days themselves. I, myself, really struggled for a long time to actually take any rest days. I thought that if I took a day off from training then I wouldn’t be making any progress, but actually, I was doing myself more harm than good! If we’re doing any kind of strength training and looking to either build lean muscle mass or retain lean muscle when we’re dieting, our training sessions aren’t actually when we build muscle.
I know, crazy, right?! It’s actually during our rest and recovery that our body repairs the damaged tissue from training and builds it back bigger and stronger than before. That’s why sleep and rest days are suuuuuuper important! So, I was getting frustrated because, even though my strength was increasing, I wasn’t actually building muscle as fast as I’d hoped. It was only when I scaled back my training and made sleep a priority that I truly saw the gainz I was after!
How should I eat on a rest day?
OK, so now we know why rest days are important, how should you actually eat on a rest day?
Well, whether you’re eating at maintenance or you’re on a fat loss plan, it’s still really important to keep fueling your body when you’re not training for several reasons;
The calories you’re eating each day are worked out on a weekly average. So, if you’ve already figured out how many calories you need, then that just needs to be spread evenly over 7-days.
As mentioned above, muscles recover and are built when you’re not training. This means they still need just as much fuel (if not more - depending on your goal) as a training day
If you under fuel yourself on a rest day you’re potentially limiting your available energy for your next training session, meaning you can’t push as hard, don’t have the motivation to actually complete your workout or even risk injury.
So, there we have it, the answer to ‘should I lower calories on a rest day?’ is - NO!
Now, if you’re not eating less, then what exactly should you eat on a rest day?
Well, depending on your goal, your nutrition should still be dialled in. Ideally, you’ll be having 5 protein-rich meals spread throughout the day to maximise muscle protein synthesis - which is really important if you’re in a fat loss phase. It just means that the muscles are getting ‘fed’ regularly, and your body can concentrate on breaking down fat stores instead of muscle stores.
What should I eat on a rest day?
Some good ideas for rest day meals are;
Breakfast: Tofu Scramble
Early Lunch: Black Bean Soup with Sourdough Bread
Afternoon Snack: Choco Chickpea Thickshake
Dinner: Teriyaki Tempeh
Pre-Bed: Blueberry Nicecream
All of these recipes can be found in my recipe eBook bundle where you’ll get 4 eBooks with 84 high-protein vegan recipes!
Anyhoo, I hope you found the above useful and I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Catch you soon.
Founder: Vegan Macros 101
Certified Vegan Nutritionist + Precision Nutrition L1 Coach.
P.S Don’t forget the freebies if you haven’t seen them already;
Or, if you're ready to start taking control of your nutrition you can join the Vegan Macros Method where you can lose up to 15lbs of fat in 90 days. See you on the inside! (and don't forget there's a payment plan if you need it 💚)