Nutrition for Non-Training Days


Many people tend to assume that lowering your nutrition intake (calories) hinders progression around being able to adequately grow muscle, recover, perform and more. I am here to say from my side of things that is not the case, I am sure there may be certain individuals and more he may stand by that it does, this is perfectly fine, but here is my side of things. The #1 thing that people need to realize is that it is not just about a single day or a bunch of single days during the week. It is truly about the overall scope of things, meaning, it is about the total week of nutrition, the total month, and the total year, not just certain days. Are there upsides to eating the same amount or more on your days off from the gym, sure, is it necessary that you do so in order to get better and improve, no.

Through this article I will provide some general insights, information, details and more around how and why eating on your off-days is perfectly ok. The first thing to begin looking at is general nutrition tactics and setups, this will give us a foundation as to seeing and knowing how this specific subject applies across the board.

Everyday Numbers/Nutrition

This is pretty simple and straight forward, this is an approach where people literally eat the same macro numbers/nutrition based setup every day. No refeeds, no low or normal day numbers, nothing. This is not an ideal approach honestly in my eyes as it can and does lead to greater metabolic adaptation, but, none the less, it does work and works great for beginners and those who truly want to keep things simple. Below is a hypothetical look as to what that would look like from a general numbers setup as well overall intake view, as well, I want to ensure I am clear this is during an improvement phase. Whether you want to call it and off-season or not, up to you, but want to level set.

- 2000 calories = 125 protein / 200 carbs / 77 fat

*2000 calories x 7 days a week = 14K calories a week

Normal and Refeed Nutrition

This is similar to everyday numbers where someone would/will have a primary set of numbers that we could categorize as "normal" numbers/nutrition. The difference is where we would insert a "high day/refeed" set of numbers/nutrition. Whether once a week, twice a week, or when needed, this will all depend on the client and their general response rate as well goals. This is one of if not the single most used approaches to nutrition whether tracking macronutrients or not that is used the most. It is the more ideal approach, to say it most optimal, ehhh, I would have to debate as you will see the other nutrition setups. Again, I will provide a hypothetical example below of what that nutrition setup would look like. I want to ensure I am clear this is during an improvement phase. Whether you want to call it and off-season or not, up to you, but want to level set.

- 2000 calories = 125 protein / 200 carbs / 77 fat

*2000 calories x 6 days a week = 12K calories at normal numbers a week

- 2200 calories = 125 protein / 250 carbs / 77 fat

*2200 calories x 1 day a week = 2.2K calories at high/refeed numbers a week (if a refeed was scheduled or advised to occur once a week).

Total caloric intake for the week 14.2K calories a week

Low / Normal / High Nutrition

Like the normal and refeed setup, the conceptual idea here is the same, the key main difference is we are adding in another set of numbers/nutrition into the mix. The two key sets of numbers/nutrition you are playing with and tweaking are the "low" numbers/nutrition and the "normal" numbers/nutrition. How this is generally setup is the low day numbers would be consumed on days that you are completely off from the gym (rest day or cardio only). Normal day numbers are numbers that would be consumed on days that you utilize resisted weight training (train with weights). The high day numbers are numbers that would be scheduled in whether once or twice a week or thrown in when needed. Again, I will provide a hypothetical example below of what that nutrition setup would look like. I want to ensure I am clear this is during an improvement phase. Whether you want to call it and off-season or not, up to you, but want to level set.

- 1800 calories = 150 protein / 100 carbs / 90 fat

*1800 calories x 2 days a week = 3.6K calories at normal numbers a week

- 2000 calories = 125 protein / 200 carbs / 77 fat

*2000 calories x 4 days a week = 8K calories at normal numbers a week

- 2200 calories = 100 protein / 328 carbs / 64 fat

*2200 calories x 1 day a week = 2.2K calories at high/refeed numbers a week (if a refeed was scheduled or advised to occur once a week).

Total caloric intake for the week 13.8K calories a week

Now that you have all of this the #1 thing you will see is that the low/normal/high setup overall intake for a week based on the information above is eating 400 calories less on average in a week. If you divide that by seven that comes out to be on average 57 calories a day. I hope we all can agree that 57 calories a day on average will not hurt or hinder any progression around enhancing one's physique (again this is not focused on weight loss). What is 57 calories, that is 14 grams of protein, 14 grams of carbs, and 6 grams of fat, nothing exciting.

From this, what we need to look at is biofeedback, for an example, if I was to run the same numbers every day on the general higher end that I would eat/need for a day of training, I would bloat, gain fat quicker, and become general insulin sensitive. If I did the normal and refeed rotation, I would wouldhave the results and interactions as well results with my progress. For me and many of my clients running low/normal/high has been best as it truly has allowed me to control weight gain, adequately recover, control inflammation and much more.

As I mentioned earlier in this article, it comes down to accumulative week, month, and year ahead. Yes, consistent days add up to those weeks, months, and years, but, there is a greater overall picture of these things. Things to look out for in regards to eating response on days off from the gym should be weight gain, bloat, digestive discomfort, cramping, very gassy, unable to drink adequate water/fluid, if you are feeling lethargic and unmotivated to eat (crazy but true).

There is never one way to do things and you should never feel that you must do things in any formal/must manner. There is always an alternative to keep progress moving along with focus on gaining muscle, increasing performance, recovery and more. As always, anything I can further answer or address around this article and more, please never hesitate in reaching out to me directly.

RJ Perkins - CEO Aesthetics Training & Nutrition

@atn_coaching

Author & Speaker

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