Should you drink protein shakes on rest days

If you’re an active person, you probably understand the importance of protein in your diet. Getting enough protein from food and protein shakes every day is essential for proper muscle growth and workout recovery. It’s critical to meet your protein needs on workout days, but should you drink protein shakes on rest days as well?

Keep reading to learn the benefits of protein for active people, when to drink protein shakes and if your protein intake needs change on rest days.

Benefits of Protein

Protein is crucial for the development and maintenance of muscle, therefore it is heavily involved in building that muscle. Whether your goal is to tone up, build muscle or lose weight, you need adequate protein in your diet to make this happen.

If you’re an active person, you need more protein than the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance), and sometimes nearly twice that amount. Protein shakes can help you meet these increased needs.

Here are the main benefits of protein for health.

1) Builds muscle

Protein is made up of individual amino acids which are seen as building blocks that work together to allow our muscles to grow and repair after working out. Exercise is only one piece of the muscle-building puzzle – protein is the other necessary component. Without enough protein, your muscles simply won’t grow even if you’re training hard and lifting weights day in and day out.

2) Speeds workout recovery

Protein can also speed up workout recovery by facilitating the repair of muscle damage during exercise. If you’re finding yourself very sore after exercise and it’s delaying your next workout, you may need to do an audit on your protein intake.

Meeting your protein needs from food and/or supplements can help enhance your recovery. Whey protein supplements have been seen to be particularly effective in supporting recovery. This can make it easier to get back to the workouts you love and also be able to see faster results.

3) Promotes satiety

Protein has also been shown to enhance satiety, promoting a feeling of fullness. This can be especially helpful if you’re trying to lose weight. If you’re a busy person, this can also help hold you over longer between meals so you have more steady energy.

4) May boost metabolism

Protein has a higher thermic effect of food (TEF) than fat and carbs – which means it requires more calories to digest it. Over time eating more protein can help you burn more calories in a given day, even when you’re at rest. This can boost your metabolic rate.

High protein foods include:

  • Lean beef
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Tofu
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Beans
  • Nuts, nut butters and seeds
  • Protein shakes.

When Should You Drink Protein Shakes?

It’s helpful to drink protein shakes if you are an active person, lift weights, and lead a busy lifestyle. It’s not always easy to get in enough protein from whole foods when you have elevated protein needs, and protein shakes help bridge the potential gaps in your diet.

Protein shakes are a convenient way to help meet your daily protein needs and can be taken both on workout days and rest days. There are many different types of protein powders you can make into a shake such as whey, casein, and plant-based proteins like soy or pea.

If you don’t have a dairy allergy and are not vegetarian, a whey-based protein powder is considered the gold standard for muscle growth. This is because it is a complete protein and is absorbed quickly into the body for immediate use.

But what happens if you drink protein shakes without working out?

Should You Drink Protein Shakes on Non-Workout Days?

Protein shakes are often taken on workout days, either before or after a workout. But can you drink protein shakes without working out, and should you drink them on rest days?

The answer is yes. While it may seem more important to take protein shakes on workout days, they are equally important on rest days. This is because your protein needs don’t change from day to day, whether it is a workout day or a rest day.

In fact, it may be even more important to get in that protein shake on rest days to facilitate recovery. Rest days and recovery are a critical part of your success in terms of achieving results from your workouts.

Protein-based supplements and shakes have been seen to enhance recovery in athletes.

Without proper rest days and recovery nutrition, your muscles will break down during your workouts but will have a harder time repairing themselves.

The recovery period of rest and adequate protein helps speed up muscle growth and prepares you to be stronger next time.

Takeaway – When Should You Drink a Protein Shake?

If you’re still asking yourself “should I drink protein shakes on rest days?” the answer is clear. You can drink a protein shake at any time of day and on both workout and non-workout days to both promote optimal workouts while they are happening along with adequate recovery while not exercising. If you’re an active person, getting enough protein is essential both during and between activity.

Including high protein foods like lean beef, chicken, fish, tofu, eggs, beans, nuts, nut butters, and seeds in addition to a daily protein shake can help you meet your protein needs. Your protein needs do not vary significantly on your workout days versus rest days, so drinking a protein shake on any day provides numerous benefits.

For a quality daily protein shake, look no further than Well Wisdom’s Vital Whey clean protein powders.




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Jaime Rangel, RD
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