Should you eat less on rest days?

Should you eat less on rest days?

Nancy, here’s a question for you. Should my calorie intake fluctuate based on how much training I’m doing?  I usually do between 90 and 120 minutes a day, but sometimes I might do just a 45-minute workout.  Do I cut my calorie count proportionally?

Answer:

On days when you are doing less exercise you will likely want to eat just as much (or almost as much) because—

1) Your muscles are using any extra unburned calories to refuel your depleted glycogen stores from the previous days’ tiring workouts, and

2) You may be more active during the rest of your “light exercise” days. That is, observe if on your light days or rest days you decide to mow the lawn, vacuum the house, wash your car, and do lots of errands. That extra activity counts!

Your best bet is to listen to your body; it is your best calorie counter. If you are thinking about food and fighting the urge to eat, your body is saying it needs more fuel. When you eat something to resolve that hunger, observe if you–

–feel better,

–stop obsessing about food, and

–have interest in doing something other than fight off urges to eat.

I generally eat just as much on rest days. Sometimes by dinner I am not as hungry, so I eat a lighter dinner just because I don’t want a heavy meal. I listen to my body and trust it can regulate an appropriate food intake. Perhaps you can experiment and observe ithat your body can also naturally regulate a proper intake? (It that seems too hard, you might want to meet with a sports dietitian who can help you eat intuitively. Use the referral network at www.SCANdpg.org.)

For more information:

The recovery chapter in Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook (2013)

Written by Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD

Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD is an internationally respected sports nutritionist, weight coach, nutrition author, and workshop leader. She is a registered dietitian (RD) who is a board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). She is also a certified WellCoach. Nancy specializes in nutrition for performance, life-long health, and the nutritional management of eating disorders. She counsels both casual exercisers and competitive athletes in her private practice in the Boston area (Newton, MA). Some of her clients consider her to be their food coach, others their food therapist. Regardless, she enjoys the challenge of helping sports-active people transform their suboptimal eating habits into effective fueling plans. Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, a best-selling resource, has sold over 550,000 copies and is now in it's new fifth edition.
Website: http://www.nancyclarkrd.com

3 Comments
  • opuxoli says:

    This article on blog.nancyclarkrd.com gives the light in which we can observe the reality. wish you luck in New Year!

  • Karina says:

    How do you know your glycogen levels are replenished? I do Olympic Weightlifting about 4-5 days a week. I also have a year old baby (which I am chasing around the house), and I am still breastfeeding. I feel that I am starving all the time, but I am not loosing weight. I am at least 6o pounds overweight. Not sure if eating intuitively is a choice for me.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Archives