I just had this conversation with my coach about macros, injuries and rest days. Many people automatically assume that hey need to decrease their food intake if they are having a rest day or if they have to back off of training. For instance, last week I had a rough week, I was hit with sciatica pain that just left me defeated, angry and upset. Knowing my training wouldn't be 100% I asked my coach what to do.We both agreed that keeping everything the same is the best choice, and here is why!
When we exercise, we stimulate tissue growth. When we rest or "deload" we allow our tissues to repair and grow. Don't think of your rest days as doing less, start thinking of them helping to grow your muscles more! But how does this work? There’s a hormone in our bodies called insulin that does a great job of helping our muscles grow. Specifically doing the following:
-Insulin turns on the mTOR protein which activates protein synthesis in our body.
-Insulin increases the amount of glycogen (storage form of glucose) stored in muscle cells which increases the size of our muscles.
-Prevents the catabolism, or breakdown, of muscle tissue so you can keep all your hard earned muscles intact.
For insulin to do it’s job, you have to follow two guidelines on your rest days. The first is to actually rest and the second is to eat. Insulin is released in response to carbohydrate intake. If you don’t eat enough carbs, fat, and protein on rest days, you won’t release insulin for growth and you won’t give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs for muscle repair.
Sometimes when you rest, you come back stronger! Think of when you took some time off the gym, maybe it was for a vacation and you came back and killed your next workout. This happened probably because you were rested and well fed with glycogen left over to convert to energy! But let's keep this in mind, food quality is always number one on rest days. What you eat is just as important if not more important than how much you eat. Your carbohydrate should come from fruits, beans, starchy, and non starchy vegetables.
Ts time to look at rest days differently. They are a unique opportunity to repair from your workout yesterday and prepare for your workout tomorrow. In order to do so, you have to rest (mobility and light activity allowed) and eat. Rest days are not the time to cut calories. The only calories that need to go are those directly related to your workouts like a recovery drink.
Keep your macros balanced because you need them all...carbs, fat, and protein, to get the job done. Pick from the best sources including dark leafy greens, seafood, seeds, and berries to maximize the nutrition in every bite you take.