How you spend your rest days away from running is equally important as how you would spend your training days – especially when it comes to eating, asks Deepthi Velkur.
In order to achieve optimal results, planning your meals around your workouts is essential and on your rest days, fuelling your body with the required nutrients needed for repair and muscle growth is paramount. How and what you eat has a huge impact on your overall recovery from the previous day’s work out and also impacts your performance on training the next day.
There are more ways than one to achieve this and it mostly comes down to individual goals, but following a few key principles helps:
Do not cut back on calorie intake: While many think they need to watch their calorie intake during rest days, it is not necessarily so. A proper intake of nutrients is essential as this is the time when the most recovery and adaptation happen.
A steady supply of calories through the day: People usually tend to start their day with a light breakfast followed by lunch and end with a heavy dinner. This does no good because energy depletes as the day progresses making us more susceptible to a breakdown. Hence, spacing out your calorie intake through the day is the best approach. Additionally, eating fresh fruit and some nuts in between meals will balance it out.
Balance your macros: For a strong recovery, you need macronutrients such as protein, fibre, and carbs and micronutrients such as vitamin D, calcium, and iron. Intake of whole foods like your meat, vegetables, and fruits are also essential in replenishing your body. Ensure you fill half your plate up with fresh veggies, fruits, and whole grains to bring a balance in your meal. A serving of high quality-protein topped with un-saturated fat ensures you are getting fatty acids which also aids in the recovery process.
No to eating junk food: You probably thought you will finish that leftover slice of pizza for breakfast but remember all that saturated fat will do you no good in your recovery process. A rest day does not mean you overindulge in your favourite cheat food.
Food rich in lean protein, complex carbs and healthy fats should be your go-to food options on these days.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate: You may notice that you do not feel as thirsty as compared to your training days. However, it is important to be mindful of your water intake to prevent dehydration.
Choose anti-inflammatory foods: While you’re giving your muscles and joints time to heal on your off days, filling up on anti-oxidant rich food such as pecans, blueberries, cranberries and maybe even dark chocolate help your body gear up for the next day’s work out as they all have anti-inflammatory properties.
If you’re serious about staying fit and seeing results from your training days, eating right matters. Additionally, monitor your results and make dietary changes from time to time to derive the best out of your workouts.