Should You Eat Less Calories On Rest Days?
If you’re a calorie fanatic and keep your diet in check everyday, you may or may not have heard about lowering your calories (specifically carbohydrates) on rest days from the gym. This is mostly done when someone is looking to shred down for the summer. Many people will often recommend doing this simply for the fact that your body will expend less energy on the days that you are not in the gym. Consuming a lower amount of calories on rest days will is believed to minimize unwanted fat gains while you’re lounging around on the couch watching Netflix instead of doing a grueling cardio session.
Why it doesn’t matter if you eat less calories on rest days or not
Now I may sound like a broken record when I say this, but weight loss is ultimately determined by calories in VS calories out. As I’ve stated previously, many people believe that on days where you train, your body will need a significantly higher amount of calories to power you through that workout session and on days where you don’t train, you should eat less calories overall. For that reason, people will cycle back and forth between high and low calorie days. It makes a lot of sense right?
I often get questioned whether or not I lower my calories on rest days, and the answer is NO. I don’t like to cut down calories simply for the fact the body still needs calories to recover from previous workouts. This is what many people are missing out on. So if you lower your calories on rest days, you might be robbing yourself of having a chance of quicker recovery or even muscle growth.
Now the one thing that you need to understand is that your body doesn’t respond to rapid calorie changes as well as you might think. It’s actually a very short sighted view on muscle building and fat burning nutrition. Whether your goal in the gym is to lose fat, or build muscle, you have to understand that it is a long process, and rapid changes do not happen over night.
Your body is constantly in a state of both muscle building/muscle breakdown, and fat burning/fat storage, and your body composition is the total sum of these processes over the long term.
Whether or not you’re building muscle or losing fat, isn’t going to be affected by what you eat in the 24 hour period. It’s not an instant on and off switch that can be determined by small calorie changes. If your goal is to lose weight, you’re already in a calorie deficit on training days, and on off days. You do not need to lower your calories more on off days for your body to still continue to lose weight. A single higher calorie day vs a single lower calorie day does not have a significant impact on whether or not you shift into a noticeable higher rate of fat burning. And even if it does, it won’t be noticeable at all.
Though the idea of consuming more calories on workout days and less calories on rest days makes sense, the bottom line is there is no point in complicating your diet and always keeping track of your calories. It just requires a lot more effort and work on your part. A strict diet to most people is already a hard thing to manage, and thinking about eating less calories on rest days vs workout days, is more tedious and complicated to track, rather than choosing a goal of fat loss, or muscle gain and sticking with a consistent intake of calories.
See you in the next article.