Eating the right number of calories and nutrients each day to maintain muscle, prevent weight gain, and energize your workouts is essential. Fitness lovers often believe that nutrition is only necessary to support muscle recovery on workout days.
But this is a misconception because adequate nutrition is vital for reducing workout-related muscle soreness and related discomfort on all days.
Here we will specifically talk about a critical nutrient for muscle development – carbohydrates, on rest days. Studies suggest that carbs are necessary for maximum protein absorption. They promote faster recovery following a workout session and prevent muscle breakdown.
When we have depleted our energy, our body uses carbs from the stored glycogen before resorting to fat stores. Even during the resting period from the gym, our nervous system and brain function depend on carb-derived energy.
Insufficient carbs can lower energy levels; cognitive function and cause mood swings. Carbs also activate the synthesis of serotonin, which relaxes us and promotes healthy sleep.
The requirement of carbs during rest days may differ from workout days. Studies suggest that intake of proteins and carbs in the ratio of 1:3 is beneficial to meet daily workout and recovery needs. However, there is no disadvantage in keeping the same proportion for the rest day as well.
Instead, one can focus on replacing simple carbs with complex as there is no need for a sudden burst of energy. It is best to consume dietary fiber-rich carbs like beans, vegetables, and whole grains throughout the day. They will be reserved as glycogen in the muscles and liver and keep you full, and you will be prepared for the next day’s workout session.
To sum up, carbohydrates are essential during rest days in addition to proteins, healthy fats, and water. Avoiding carbs on rest days can severely impact your next day’s athletic performance.