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How to eat on rest days?

by (115)
Updated about 19 hours ago
Created March 10, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Basically, I feel that I've got my eating pretty dialed in on workout days. I eat 4-7 meals/snacks a day with heavy protein and heavy fat with light carb pre workout, and then heavy protein and carb with moderate fat post workout and it's been working very nicely. What I'm not sure about is how I should be eating on rest days. I'm active 6 days a week, doing crossfit 5 or 6 times per week, though I'll often swap the 6th workout for another activity such as parkour or skiing. How should I be eating to maximize my recovery and gains on the rest day? I've seen posts on here suggesting low carb high fat, and I've seen the exact opposite suggested with high carb low fat. If it makes any difference, the workouts we do at my gym usually include a strength segment where we do 3-5 working sets of either squat, deadlift, bench, front squat, clean and jerk, snatch, presses, or any other power/strength movement you can think of, as well as a metcon of varying lengths and types at the end of the workout. I also work in a kitchen, so I spend 8+ hours a day walking around and burning energy, so regardless of my meal composition I need to eat a ton. Any input is appreciated! Also, if you have any tips for how I could be improving my eating on workout days, I'd love to hear them!

C0152dd71ab77c1228f74b4a1b78a66c
115 · March 14, 2012 at 6:51 AM

Okay thanks! Just need a scale now haha

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5516 · March 13, 2012 at 11:54 AM

If you're into eyeballing your meals I'd just try to figure out once about how many carbs are in whatever you usually eat, measure it, and remember it. That way next time you can get an "about this much" amount

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a
5516 · March 13, 2012 at 11:53 AM

If you are weighing, measuring, and tracking your food then I recommend myfitnesspal. I use the iPhone application. If you're not actually weighing and measuring all of your food, then in rest/pre-workout meals only eat green vegetables and you'll be fine. You can't really eat so many of those that it would become any sort of a problem.

C0152dd71ab77c1228f74b4a1b78a66c
115 · March 11, 2012 at 8:38 PM

Awesome thanks! Do you know of some sort of online guide or little secret that would help me estimate my carb intake? As of yet I'm incapable of looking at a veggie and being able to guess within an accurate range how many carbs it contains haha

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15976 · March 11, 2012 at 3:43 PM

I don't see why eat differently on rest days. If anything I eat a little less the days I actually list. On rest days if anything I'd do the overeating. Overall though I think it's more the week's calories the month's calories that matter more than one 24 hour period.

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5516 · March 11, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Chris I'm with you man. If you can handle it you can handle it. A top tier athlete has to train a lot and hard.

C0152dd71ab77c1228f74b4a1b78a66c
115 · March 11, 2012 at 9:27 AM

Not only that, but Crossfit.com itself advocates a 3 on, 1 off training schedule, which would have you training 5-6 days a week, and the trainers at my level 1 cert as well as my coach at my gym (all of whom I can assure you have vast knowledge on this subject) said it was fine. Having a hard time seeing where you guys are coming from on this...

C0152dd71ab77c1228f74b4a1b78a66c
115 · March 11, 2012 at 9:18 AM

And everybody's different. I'm not Robb Wolf's friend. I've always been a high energy sort of person, being on the go constantly is something that my body is well adapted to, I've been doing it for a long time and I've only felt better and better over the years. If burning out is such a sure thing, explain to me how some athletes training for the crossfit games do 2-3 workouts per day 6 days a week year round? I'm sorry but I just don't believe it. If anything my workouts invigorate me and help me make it through a busy day.

C0152dd71ab77c1228f74b4a1b78a66c
115 · March 11, 2012 at 9:14 AM

I know my limits, I've taken over a year to increase my volume to what it is now. I'm also supplementing with MightOmega fish oil and alternating between the hot tub and ice cold showers at the local rec center to help reduce my DOMS. In fact I hardly ever even get sore, and also drink lots of tea to help me relax and reduce stress. I'll also be starting to get weekly massages in less then a month, simply waiting for my schedule to stabilize (will soon be switching from irregular night shifts to 8am-4pm mon-fri) which allow me to optimize my training and recovery.

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6229 · March 11, 2012 at 4:53 AM

You will burn out - not if but when. Robb Wolf had a friend who collapsed and had to be taken to the ER because the cortisol from working out and busy lifestyle that much eventually caught up. I'm not trying to be snarky; push yourself but know your limits.

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115 · March 11, 2012 at 12:02 AM

And I'm still eating plenty of fat post workout, just not as much as I do beforehand.

C0152dd71ab77c1228f74b4a1b78a66c
115 · March 11, 2012 at 12:00 AM

Yah, right now sleep is the biggest issue for me, working nights in a kitchen wreaks havoc on my sleep schedule. By the end of this month though I will have switched to 12-8 shifts hopefully monday to friday, so I can sleep 11-7 every night and hit the gym at 9. For now I'm just trying to hang in there haha.

C0152dd71ab77c1228f74b4a1b78a66c
115 · March 10, 2012 at 11:03 PM

I'm xfitting 5-6 days a week because my body can handle it and I spent a lot of time slowly building up to that much volume (giving my body 6 weeks to adapt each time I upped my amount of workouts in a week, and have a goal of making it to the 2013 regionals. I listen to my body closely and right now it's telling me that I'm not overdoing it. In fact my gains thus far have been phenomenal, gaining 1-1.5 pounds per week with my maxes going up 5-10 pounds per week. I'm asking a question about nutrition, not training, so if you don't have a relevant answer please don't comment.

C0152dd71ab77c1228f74b4a1b78a66c
115 · March 10, 2012 at 9:56 PM

So in your opinion I'd be best to evenly distribute my calories between proteins fats and carbs on rest days?

C0152dd71ab77c1228f74b4a1b78a66c
115 · March 10, 2012 at 9:37 PM

hehe, no rest for the wicked!

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6 Answers

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5516 · March 11, 2012 at 2:35 PM

If you eat mainly low carb and simply carb back-load after any workouts that will line up with what you are doing now and should be fine. On days when you don't work out hard just don't eat those post workout carbs. Since you are extremely active maybe I would do something like around 100g all days with up to 2-300g during the post workout time based on the work performed. You'll have to play with that though as I can't truly say what you should do.

Good luck with your training!

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a
5516 · March 13, 2012 at 11:54 AM

If you're into eyeballing your meals I'd just try to figure out once about how many carbs are in whatever you usually eat, measure it, and remember it. That way next time you can get an "about this much" amount

C0152dd71ab77c1228f74b4a1b78a66c
115 · March 11, 2012 at 8:38 PM

Awesome thanks! Do you know of some sort of online guide or little secret that would help me estimate my carb intake? As of yet I'm incapable of looking at a veggie and being able to guess within an accurate range how many carbs it contains haha

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a
5516 · March 13, 2012 at 11:53 AM

If you are weighing, measuring, and tracking your food then I recommend myfitnesspal. I use the iPhone application. If you're not actually weighing and measuring all of your food, then in rest/pre-workout meals only eat green vegetables and you'll be fine. You can't really eat so many of those that it would become any sort of a problem.

C0152dd71ab77c1228f74b4a1b78a66c
115 · March 14, 2012 at 6:51 AM

Okay thanks! Just need a scale now haha

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78422 · March 10, 2012 at 10:57 PM

What you eat on your "REST DAY" means nothing in comparison to the 800 lb. gorilla in the room. Why are you Xfitting 5-6 wdays a week? Anthing you do on your upcoming THREE REST DAYS each week will add almost everything to your goals. Just stay home and cook, and take a SLOW walk. Good luck. Edit. I just reread your question: With your job, bag the walk. Cook, eat and lie on the couch .

C0152dd71ab77c1228f74b4a1b78a66c
115 · March 11, 2012 at 9:14 AM

I know my limits, I've taken over a year to increase my volume to what it is now. I'm also supplementing with MightOmega fish oil and alternating between the hot tub and ice cold showers at the local rec center to help reduce my DOMS. In fact I hardly ever even get sore, and also drink lots of tea to help me relax and reduce stress. I'll also be starting to get weekly massages in less then a month, simply waiting for my schedule to stabilize (will soon be switching from irregular night shifts to 8am-4pm mon-fri) which allow me to optimize my training and recovery.

C0152dd71ab77c1228f74b4a1b78a66c
115 · March 10, 2012 at 11:03 PM

I'm xfitting 5-6 days a week because my body can handle it and I spent a lot of time slowly building up to that much volume (giving my body 6 weeks to adapt each time I upped my amount of workouts in a week, and have a goal of making it to the 2013 regionals. I listen to my body closely and right now it's telling me that I'm not overdoing it. In fact my gains thus far have been phenomenal, gaining 1-1.5 pounds per week with my maxes going up 5-10 pounds per week. I'm asking a question about nutrition, not training, so if you don't have a relevant answer please don't comment.

C0152dd71ab77c1228f74b4a1b78a66c
115 · March 11, 2012 at 9:27 AM

Not only that, but Crossfit.com itself advocates a 3 on, 1 off training schedule, which would have you training 5-6 days a week, and the trainers at my level 1 cert as well as my coach at my gym (all of whom I can assure you have vast knowledge on this subject) said it was fine. Having a hard time seeing where you guys are coming from on this...

8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e
6229 · March 11, 2012 at 4:53 AM

You will burn out - not if but when. Robb Wolf had a friend who collapsed and had to be taken to the ER because the cortisol from working out and busy lifestyle that much eventually caught up. I'm not trying to be snarky; push yourself but know your limits.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a
5516 · March 11, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Chris I'm with you man. If you can handle it you can handle it. A top tier athlete has to train a lot and hard.

C0152dd71ab77c1228f74b4a1b78a66c
115 · March 11, 2012 at 9:18 AM

And everybody's different. I'm not Robb Wolf's friend. I've always been a high energy sort of person, being on the go constantly is something that my body is well adapted to, I've been doing it for a long time and I've only felt better and better over the years. If burning out is such a sure thing, explain to me how some athletes training for the crossfit games do 2-3 workouts per day 6 days a week year round? I'm sorry but I just don't believe it. If anything my workouts invigorate me and help me make it through a busy day.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
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78422 · March 11, 2012 at 2:57 PM

On rest days I have high fat and moderate/high protein. Maybe some carbs but only a very small amount.

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20 · March 10, 2012 at 11:36 PM

Is it really best not to eat fat after a workout?

I usually just eat what I normally would do in any meal. Just mix up your proteins and get a lot of variety in there.. The most important thing is not to overstress the body, you will see huge results when you rest. Working out will not reduce your fat if your adrenals are stressed or you have digestive issues. Be kind to your body, I can see that you're training and the body can withstand a hell of a lot, but it reacts the best when it is properly rested. Sleep as much as you can!

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115 · March 11, 2012 at 12:02 AM

And I'm still eating plenty of fat post workout, just not as much as I do beforehand.

C0152dd71ab77c1228f74b4a1b78a66c
115 · March 11, 2012 at 12:00 AM

Yah, right now sleep is the biggest issue for me, working nights in a kitchen wreaks havoc on my sleep schedule. By the end of this month though I will have switched to 12-8 shifts hopefully monday to friday, so I can sleep 11-7 every night and hit the gym at 9. For now I'm just trying to hang in there haha.

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2934 · March 10, 2012 at 9:48 PM

I have a similar problem, with highly active weeks and one day of almost complete rest. Usually, I have a light breakfast (a few eggs and veggies), a salad with some protein and olive oil for lunch, and a decent sized dinner with lean protein, moderate fat and carbs. Basically, SAD, only without the grains and fake foods. If I'm feeling really drained, I up the fat, but other than that, I don't do anything special.

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115 · March 10, 2012 at 9:56 PM

So in your opinion I'd be best to evenly distribute my calories between proteins fats and carbs on rest days?

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6418 · March 10, 2012 at 9:23 PM

Hell, I can't even begin to relate to what you're doing. You're one active guy!

C0152dd71ab77c1228f74b4a1b78a66c
115 · March 10, 2012 at 9:37 PM

hehe, no rest for the wicked!

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