Protein On Off Days - Is It Important?
Protein is essential for aiding muscle growth and recovery. Consequently, it is often regarded among the fitness community as the life force for gym goers who want to build impressive muscles and improve strength. Getting enough protein can also help take the edge off post-workout soreness and help the muscles repair themselves, which leads to greater performance and results.
Step into any gym and you’ll most likely see lifters slamming down a shake on the way out the door or heading home to refuel on protein and carbs. While many know that consuming protein on workout days helps build muscle size and stronger physiques, several new to the world of lifting don’t realize that rest days are just as important when it comes to getting enough protein to maximize the muscle recovery and growth process.
Why You Should Consume Protein on Rest Days
In the medieval times of weight lifting – which was actually not too long ago – people used to believe that the most crucial time to consume protein was immediately after your workout within a 30-60 minute time frame, and if you missed that anabolic window, your gains would be diminished. Research has proven, however, that the response of muscle protein metabolism to a weightlifting session extends beyond an hour time frame to 24-48 hours. Any protein, as well as other nutrients – like carbohydrates, for example – consumed within that time will affect your muscle hypertrophy.1
In other words, how much protein you eat for up to 2 days after your workout will have an impact on recovery and overall muscle gain. Not consuming enough protein on workout or non-workout days effectively hampers your body’s ability to effectively repair and rebuild damaged muscle tissue from working out.
Regardless of whether you are hitting the gym today or taking a break, to pack on muscle mass and speed up the recovery process while training, you’ll need to make consuming protein a priority every day.
How Much Protein is Necessary on Off Days?
As far as how much protein you need on rest days to encourage muscle development and performance, the daily amount shouldn’t differ much, if at all, from your training days. Take a look at people who build their muscles and sculpt amazing physiques for a living. Professional bodybuilders often keep their daily protein amounts consistent, while sometimes switching up carbohydrates or upping carbohydrate amounts depending on their workouts.
Everyone’s optimal protein amount will depend on their body’s personal needs based on age, gender, weight, workout intensity, and other health factors. There is a fairly easy way to get a ball-park range of how much protein a person that exercises should consume each day: simply take your bodyweight in pounds and multiply it by 0.7 – 1.0 g to figure how much protein you should aim for each day. Some bodybuilders even subscribe to a daily amount of 1.5 – 2.0 g of protein per pound of bodyweight to achieve even more mass.
The next time your rest day rolls around, remember that it may be a rest day from the weights, but it certainly is not a break from fueling up with the building block of muscle.
Focus on dietary protein sources, which will not only provide protein but also other important micronutrients to help you stay healthy and on the path towards your fitness goals. Protein supplements are a quick and effective way to pack on additional proteins and ingredients to further ignite the muscle-building process and help fill in nutritional gaps throughout the day.
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
- Tipton KD, Wolfe RR.Exercise, protein metabolism, and muscle growth. .” Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2001 Mar;11(1):109-32.