Should You Drink Protein Shakes On Rest Days?

A fit young man drinking protein shake

Find out answers to the question on protein intake on rest days. When and why should you drink protein powder shakes on rest days?

Protein intake during workout days is essential for muscle growth and maintenance. Even statistics and research show that it can help with weight management, muscle growth, and recovery. Hence protein supplements are an important part of post-workout nutrition of fitness enthusiats and sports nutrition plans of professional sportspersons. These are some of the reasons people take protein shakes during workouts.

But what happens during your rest days when you don’t need or want to work out? Should you drink protein shakes on rest days? Maybe. Maybe not. The answer depends on various factors, so let’s find out! 

Protein and its importance in the body

Protein is one of the nutritional essentials you need as a human to grow and stay healthy. About 20 amino acids make up the numerous proteins in the body. In addition, proteins do most of their work in your body cell and perform various functions. 

Hence, taking protein will do your body a lot of good. This is why the benefits of drinking protein shakes during workouts cannot be overstated. However the same benefits are the reason why people are recommended to drink protein shakes on rest days as well. Let’s take a look at how protein benefits our body:

1. Enables body growth and maintenance

Your body needs adequate protein to grow and maintain tissues. Ideally, your body uses the same amount of protein for building and repairing tissues. Most times, it breaks down more protein than your body can create, especially when you work out a lot or engage in other physical activity.

Hence, your protein needs become higher when you work out a lot. Therefore, you need a higher protein diet for constant body maintenance.

2. Helps maintain body pH

Protein helps regulate the acid in your blood and fluids. For example, hemoglobin makes up for red blood cells, ensuring that there’s only the right amount of acid in your blood. Other proteins that perform similar functions are phosphate and bicarbonate.

3. Boosts enzymes functions

Enzymes are types of proteins that help instigate chemical reactions in the body. Some enzymes help with digestion, muscle contractions, energy production, and blood clotting. For these enzymes to perform this function well, you need a high-quality protein source to supplement the protein used in the body.

4. Provides structure in your body

Protein also helps provide structure in your body because proteins like collagen, keratin, and elastin help your cells and tissues with rigidity and stiffness. This helps your bones, skin, tendon, and ligaments stay in shape regardless of the stretching and exercises.

5. Regulates and balances fluids

Protein is important for regulating and balancing your body fluids. You need to supplement the proteins in your body, albumin and globulin [1]National Library of Medicine: Chapter 101Serum Albumin and Globulin, to keep the fluid in your blood vessels from spacing out between your cells.

6. Improves immune health

Your body has proteins in the form of antibodies that help immunize your system [2]PubMed: Amino acids and immune function against diseases, bacteria, and viruses. You need to supplement these protein antibodies with a protein source, which helps protect and improve your immune health.

7. Supplies energy

If you exercise regularly, you need protein to provide energy during and post workouts. Your body breaks down protein into ketones during workouts and uses it as energy. Protein boosts your strength during workouts and replenishes your energy after you are done so that you can carry on with your other daily activities. 

Should you drink protein shakes on rest days?

One thing people wonder about is whether you should drink protein shakes on rest days. They want to know if it’s necessary since they’re not actively working out.

Your protein intake requirement is not only up to your workouts. Your diet also plays a role. You need a nutrient-rich diet further enriched with protein supplements when on a proper fitness regime. Therefore, it is ok to drink protein shakes on your non-workout days.

Protein powder can be a great way to get your daily dose of protein. The best types come in both milk and plant-based options, with 25-30 grams or more per serving! You’ll find this amount fits easily into most eating plans. Research [3]Taylor and Francis Online: ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research & recommendations has found that we need anywhere from 20-40 gms every day for good health. Some benefits of drinking protein shakes on rest days are as follows:

Helps with recovery

Protein shakes help with muscle recovery. It’s okay for your muscles to become sore and hurt after an intense workout performance. You may feel some pains in your muscles and some body parts.

Of course, the pain will eventually subside. But you can make the pain go faster, so you don’t feel much pain during your next workout session. Though there are many ways to relieve muscle soreness, protein shakes in addition can speed up the recovery process. This way, you can get back to your exercises and reach your goals faster.

This is even better for athletes who have to exercise and engage in sports activities every day.

A convenient way to supplement protein

Whether you need to attain a body goal or not, your body needs protein during and post-workout. Active individuals who engage in physical activities, exercises, or sports, tend to use up more protein than non-active individuals. That is, you use protein on your workout and rest days, which you need to supplement.

Even on your rest days, you need an adequate amount of protein, and your protein source can be from the shakes. Drinking protein shakes is more convenient than preparing meals or getting protein from direct sources, especially when you have a busy schedule.

Helps you reach your goals

Drinking protein shakes on your rest days also help you reach your goals faster. For example, drinking it before bed can help with muscle growth. Also, protein shakes help speed up your metabolism, making you burn more calories and lose fat.

Furthermore, it helps with reducing your food intake, preventing you from overeating and adding weight. Lastly, it helps you retain your lean muscle mass during weight loss and make up for a calorie deficit. All of these help you maintain your dream body. 

How much protein should you take?

Protein intake depends on various factors, so how much is ideal for you? Below are the research findings to give you an idea of how much protein you need:

  • If the person has a sedentary lifestyle, the minimum protein intake is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (0.36 grams of protein per pound). This means if the person weighs 150-pound (68 kg), he needs 54 grams of protein per day.
  • If you are into weight lifting and weight training, you should get enough protein to maximize the benefits. This will help build and repair muscles so they can get stronger with every workout! So, you should consume protein in the range of 1.2g-1.7g per kilogram (or 0.5-0.8 gram/pound) based on your body weight. 
  • Studies [4]National Library of Medicine: Optimal Diet Strategies for Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance say that if you are aiming for weight loss while retaining your muscle mass, you should get 25-30% of calories from protein, or 1–1.2 g/kg of the ideal body weight per day.

When should you drink protein shake?

Many people ponder when to drink their protein shake, since it is a good nutrient supplement. You can spread your protein shake intake throughout the day, before, during, and after your workout. However, it depends on various factors:

Based on your workout routine

Drinking protein shake before workout may make you feel sluggish and heavy while working out. So, the ideal time to drink a protein shake can be post-workout. 

Most fitness enthusiasts suggest taking protein shakes within 15 to 60 minutes post-workout, which is the anabolic window. During this period, your body can make the most of the supplement it gets from the shake. 

Based on body goals

Another thing that helps you determine the best time to drink protein shakes is your body goals. Some people’s goal could be to lose weight, while for others, it is to build muscle. These goals imply different protein needs and varying times to drink protein shakes.

If you want to lose weight, the best time for you to drink protein shakes is in the morning. This is because protein is crucial in aiding quick weight loss, and drinking it in the morning will boost your metabolism for your all-day activities, and your body can use up the food you eat quickly. 

It also helps you reduce your appetite and hunger hormones, helping you consume fewer calories throughout the day, taking you closer to your weight loss goal. 

On the other hand, you should take a protein shake at night or after a workout to build muscle mass and strength. After rigorous exercises or weight lifting workouts, you tend to break down protein, which affects your muscle growth. 

Therefore, you need to make up for that by taking protein shakes after workouts, within 2 hours after your exercise, be it in the morning or night.

Based on Age

Another thing that could determine the best time to take a protein shake is age. Muscle tissues change with age, making protein requirements for different age groups different. 

Older people need to maintain muscle health as they age, so they need protein so their muscles can effectively use it to stay healthy.

In that case, they need to take protein shakes at night before bed. Therefore, taking protein shakes at night will benefit active older people to make up for muscle loss. Lastly, having protein shakes at night helps to improve the next morning’s resting metabolism rate.

In the end, different factors determine when to take protein shakes, but it is always safe to take them within two hours of a workout session.

Are there any drawbacks to drinking protein shakes?

Protein shakes come with many potential benefits. However, as every coin has two sides, protein shakes also have negative sides. If you take them every day without keeping a check on limits, it may affect your health in the following ways:

1. Incomplete Nutrition

While protein shakes can help you meet your daily protein needs, they are not a complete source of nutrition. Protein shakes should not be used as a meal replacement.

2. Increased Risk of Dehydration

If you drink protein shakes in addition to other beverages that contain caffeine, such as coffee or energy drinks, you may be at risk for dehydration.

3. Kidney Stress

Protein shakes are high in protein and, if consumed in large amounts, can put stress on your kidneys. If you have kidney disease, it’s important to speak with your doctor before adding protein shakes to your diet.

4. Digestive Issues

Some people may experience digestive issues, such as gas and bloating, after drinking protein shakes. If you are lactose intolerant, be sure to choose a protein shake that is lactose-free.

5. Allergies

Some protein shakes contain common allergens, such as milk, eggs, soy, and nuts. If you have food allergies, be sure to check the ingredients list on protein shakes before consuming them. 

Protein shakes can be a helpful addition to your diet, but it’s important to remember that they should not be used as a meal replacement. Be sure to drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet to stay healthy and avoid any potential risks associated with drinking protein shakes.

So, it’s important to moderate your intake of protein shakes and make sure you’re getting enough exercise to stay healthy. If you have any medical conditions, please consult your doctor before drinking protein shakes.

Conclusion

The answer to “should you consume protein shake on rest days?” isn’t so complicated. You should take protein shakes on rest days and your workout days to up your nutrition and boost your muscle recovery. This helps you reach your goal even faster and helps you feel better from all that intense workout.

Therefore, while working out, don’t forget your protein supplements like protein powder to support muscle growth. Also, don’t forget to eat some high-quality protein sources and whole foods. All of that, combined with your shake, make up for adequate nutrition needed to stay healthy and achieve your fitness goals. 

Although protein is necessary for your body, you should be aware of how much protein you should actually take. You should consume enough protein to support your body goals but not overdo it, as that can lead to other health problems.

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