I wrote this post quite awhile ago, but have been saving it for the perfect time. The time is now! On Saturday, I was struggling with my taper. A day of complete rest. Apparently, my stomach didn't get the memo though, because I was still ravenous all day! How do I balance food and rest?
Intellectually, I know they go hand in hand. But sometimes, the "control-y" part of my brain comes through stronger.
In the end, I told the control-y part of my brain to STFU, get over yourself, and EAT IF YOU ARE HUNGRY. It was a little uncomfortable, but I did it, because I know fueling properly on rest days is important. Read on...
On training days, I know exactly what to put into my mouth to fuel my body and give me energy...
... I know how many carbs to eat after a run
... I know to eat my bowl of cheerios and slab of chicken breast after a lifting session
... I know the right time of day to eat carbs so they get put to good use
... I know when to eat my protein
... I know how much fat to eat and what to eat it with and when to eat it
These things are no brainers to me!
And of course I know I need food on a rest day, too. I'm hungry on a rest day. But what should I eat? For someone who has struggled with disordered eating (me), this whole thing of knowing what to eat on a rest day is kind of a pain.
First world problems, right? "I have all the food I could ever want but I don't know what to eat, WAAAAAHHHHHH!" (I seriously love creating problems for myself.)
Tara @ Sweat Like A Pig wrote a piece addressing this very topic- Rest Day Nutrition. Boy did this come at a good time because lately, I have been really bothered with this. I even talked to a couple friends this weekend who have the same discomforts I do about eating on a rest day.
The part in Tara's piece that really hit home for me is this:
"Your body grows when it is at rest, hence why it is so important to consume enough calories on rest days. There is no point in eating a lot on training days if you then restrict on rest days, as your body will not be able to build muscle or lose fat (as you will be slowing your metabolism if you eat too little)."
My takeaway: If I want to continue to gain muscle (and I do!), eating heartily on a rest day is part of the process. Just as I would never dream of not consuming protein after a lifting session, restricting food and calories on rest days is also not an option.
Do you eat differently on a rest day?
I do notice on a rest day my "hunger" is less, but I try and eat the same. Overall, I would say I need to be better about eating better (nutrient dense) foods. I think I make up for calories not consumed during the day by binging on potato chips or ice cream at night...I will check out that blog...ReplyDelete
You won't regret it she is a smart lady!Delete
Being a Nutrition Teacher, I love posts like this!ReplyDelete
Yay! That quote from Tara calms me down and keeps me sane. She is a smart lady.Delete
I could just hug Tara for writing what she did and hug you for sharing it with us. I don't know how many times I have tried to convince people that you HAVE to eat on rest days. In fact, to look at any exercise and eating program on a daily basis is way to myopic. You must step back and see the bigger picture!ReplyDelete
I actually am hungrier on rest days! I guess there was a time it maybe bothered me but now I know that it all balances out weekly, monthly, yearly.
Athletes MUST eat food. It is our fuel and the more you feed your body, the more it will burn.
"In fact, to look at any exercise and eating program on a daily basis is way to myopic. You must step back and see the bigger picture! " <------ THIS!!! I have to remember this when I am getting control-ly!!!!!!!!!!!! You're right, it's not just THIS day and THIS day. It's the whole thing.Delete
Email me if you are getting all control-ly and I will remind you! But I struggle sometimes, too. Progress not perfection, right? We are getting there, Meg.Delete
I understand the concern about seeing red! But I like what you and Sue say- looking at the BIG picture is what it's all about. Yes, repair definitely continues the next day. I workout in the morning, so I always eat chicken breast right after my workout. Consuming protein within 30-60min following a strength workout is best. But then of course I continue to consume more protein throughout the day- more than I would eat on a running day.ReplyDelete
I don't worry if it is just a day or 2 but if I can't workout for a long chunk of time (like the weeks coming up soon) I definitely cut down on my normal food intake and try to eliminate some of the more unhealthy choices.ReplyDelete
That sounds like a good plan since your situation is a little different!Delete
I'm always hungrier on rest days because I'm never hungry after I run or workout...which is weird. And I usually crave carbs/sweets...I need to learn to love protein again!ReplyDelete
I sometimes am hungrier on rest days too! I'm very hungry on lifting days- even more than running days. I can't say I ever crave protein I just do it cause I know it's good for me.Delete
Aww thank you! Keep eating big! These days I tend to eat more on rest days than training days. It's a mix of being hangry and bored not being in the gym hahaReplyDelete
I am usually really hungry on rest days too! I think my body is just continuously in prep mode thinking, "Ok what is this lady going to do next and how am I going to be prepared????"Delete