Q&A: What to Eat on Days You Don't Work Out
Q: Should I eat less on days when I don't work out? – Dan, Phoenix, AZ
A: Most of us can’t figure out what we need to eat on a daily basis, let alone eating different amounts on different days. If you’re training regularly, your body needs nutrients every single day to recover from the stress and grow stronger.
Think of it this way: When you train, you cause trauma to your muscles. Muscle adapts to the stress of a workout by growing stronger after you’ve completed your training session. You can optimize this recovery process with food.
When I calculate how many calories a person needs, I think about what an entire week, month, or training cycle will require. I then recommend the appropriate fuel, taking into account training days and off days together and not as individual factors.
That said, there are times to re-evaluate what you eat. For instance, if you progress to a more intensive training phase, then you’ll need more carbohydrates. If you start to slack off or if you’re on an easier training phrase for longer than 3 weeks, then you’ll need fewer carbs. Let’s review:
- Eat an amount of calories that keeps you energized and allows you to reach your goals.
- Adjust your food intake to your training phase, not your training days.
- Stay focused on eating clean, eating often and recovery.
About The Author
Amanda Carlson-Phillips – Amanda Carlson-Phillips is the vice president of nutrition and research at EXOS. As a registered dietitian, she has provided educational seminars and individual counseling to a variety of professional and elite sports organizations.