Taking supplements is one thing. Knowing when and how is the important part.
In fact, it should be a prerequisite for anyone before buying any supplements in the first place. Luckily the topic of this article, protein powder, isn’t difficult to use correctly at all.
Unlike some other supplements like pre-workout or fast acting carbs, protein does not have to be taken at certain times of the day. But you wouldn’t take pre-workout or fast acting carbs on a rest day, so why would you have to drink protein shakes on rest days?
In this article, we will answer this question and hopefully teach you something you didn’t already know about protein!
Do You Need Protein Powder On Rest Days?
Like most other answers regarding fitness and nutrition, it depends.
Again, unlike other supplements that need to be properly timed, protein powder most of the time can be consumed at any point during the day. It also doesn’t need to be taken around your workout, as long as you hit your required numbers for the day.
This might be an unpopular opinion though, because of the so-called “anabolic window”, which is usually described as the 30 minutes after your workout where your muscles are more susceptible to use the protein to grow. Sometimes fast acting carbs (i.e. sugar) that spike insulin are added because insulin is the hormone that drives nutrients into your cells.
But the lesser known part of this story is that protein itself releases insulin, meaning there isn’t even a need for carbs if you have a high quality, fast digesting whey or similar protein.
This was the simple truth for decades, but in recent years, it’s becoming more accepted that the anabolic window does exist. But you most definitely won’t lose all your gains if you have to wait a few hours, as the window is closer to 12-24 hours instead of 30 minutes.
Knowing this, you should no longer associate protein powder as a pre- or post-workout supplement. This, along with the fact that you should consume the same amount of protein on your rest days (because of course rest days exist to help you recover and grow), steers our answer to the big question towards a yes – you should drink protein powder on your rest days.
Expanding on this, anyone focusing on building muscle or losing fat, your daily protein requirements should never change. It doesn’t matter if you are bulking on 4,000 calories a day or dieting on 1,500, your protein needs should never fluctuate (besides regulating your needs depending on your weight as it changes).
Take Home Message
Whether you want to get your protein sources from whole foods or a more convenient protein shake, the bottom line is that you should definitely be consuming the right amount of protein on rest days as well as days you work out.
If you’re serious about transforming your physique you need to train hard and rest while supplying your muscles with the right levels of protein to repair, strengthen and grow your muscles effectively. Thank you for taking the time to read this article, hopefully you learned something you didn’t know before!