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?