The diet plan for your Non-Workout days

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3 min
March 29, 2023

Hey friends.

Let me tell you some common questions I get asked all the time:

  • Should I take Protein Powder on non-workout days?
  • Should I take creatine on non-workout days?
  • Should I take same protein intake on non-workout days?
  • How many rest days can I take?

It seems that most people feel that rest days are “OFF” days, and only training days are “ON” days when it comes to their fitness plan.

Some people might even feel guilty about taking rest days - because in our Indian gyms, there is a very common mentality that “more is better”.  Such a belief can lead to a toxic mindset towards fitness and exercise.

Understand this now and forever -

Rest days are just as important as training days, if not more.

Why so?

Because on your training days in the gym - you don't build muscle or strength. In fact, quite the opposite. In the gym, you literally break your muscle down!

And then on your rest days, your body recovers & builds itself back stronger, given that:

  • You get good sleep of 7-9 hrs/night
  • You provide your body the needed nutrition

It now must be clearly visible to you that rest day nutrition is of the highest importance.

Growth happens when you are sincere with your rest days, just like you are sincere with your training days. Rest days are for recovery, which is part of the equation of growth. It's not “outside of growth”. It is not an “OFF” day.

The naive mistake is to think that we are doing “no work” on rest days - so we might not need the same amount of nutrients - the same protein. Clearly, nothing can be further from the truth.

The body is working all the time on your rest days - building back up your muscle tissue and reservoirs. Research has shown that your muscles are recovering for 36-48 hours after a good hard training session.

And given that we must train at least 3 days a week in order to create “effective stimulus for growth” - it follows that the body is recovering all the time throughout the week!

Without rest, you simply cannot grow. It is that important. And the cost of "not resting" is not just that - without rest you will burnout and break. In gym lingo - you may end up with nagging joint pain and injuries.

And not just in the gym, this holds true in any area of your life. Don't fall into the mistaken belief of "work hard all day every day like a hustler". Such things sound cute only with motivational background music on random youtube videos.

In real life - your brain and body work in "cycles". You need a harmony between “deep work” and “deep rest” in order to sustainably create your best work without burning out. Whether it is writing, coding or strength training...anything that demands 100% of your physical or mental focused effort.

Hence, to sum it up:


  • your protein needs stay the same on rest days, and how many scoops of whey protein you take to meet those needs is upto you on any given day. Treat whey protein just like food.
  • the only variation you can consider doing in nutrition is to reduce your calorie intake by 10% on rest days (from carbs), and increase your calorie intake by 10% on training days (from carbs). This is called as Carb Cycling. If you prefer to have a bit more carbs on training days, then this can be a good strategy. However, it is by no means mandatory or magical. In fact, I don’t recommend this to any of my clients unless they express such a need.


  • your supplementation on rest days should stay the same - creatine, vitamins, omega-3. These supplements are basically nutrients we don’t get from our routine diet.
  • only performance based supplements like pre-workout and caffeine are the ones you should skip on rest days.

Also, if you are a little more active on your rest days then your recovery will be better.

I walk a lot on rest days. You can do any light activity - walking or yoga or a sport that isn’t very intensive. This is called as “active rest”.

My advice would be to stay away from any high intensity cardio or sport - as that will impede your recovery instead of supporting it.

Rest is work - in a very deep sense. :)

Enjoy your rest days. Catch up on some work or passion project. Catch up on some reading. Catch up on spending time with your friends and family.

Eat well, Eat high protein. Take all your staple supplements.

And look forward to your next training session.

Hope this issue was helpful to you. Have a great day!

- Siddharth

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