Protein shakes are a great way to get the necessary protein on days when you don't work out. Rest days are an essential part of any training plan, as they give the body the time it needs to rest and repair itself. On these days, you still need lots of carbohydrates, fats, and protein to aid recovery. Not consuming enough protein on rest days can hinder muscle growth and athletic performance.
So, should you take protein powder on rest days? The answer is yes, if you need the protein. Protein powder comes in milk (whey or casein) or plant-based (peas, hemp, brown rice, pumpkin seeds) options, generally with 25 to 30 grams of protein per serving. It releases insulin, so you don't even need carbohydrates if you consume high-quality, fast-digesting whey. Although the data on when you should consume protein is inconclusive, there is no doubt that prioritizing the right amounts of protein on a daily basis will increase muscle mass over time.
Protein shakes are a great tool if you have a busy life and don't have much time to prepare meals, but still want to have a high protein content in your diet. It's important to remember that your body needs protein and calories every day, so just because you drink a protein shake on a day off doesn't mean that you're giving your body nutrients it can't use. Strength training improves muscle protein balance, but in the absence of adequate protein intake, the balance remains negative. If you consume excess protein and calories without exercising, the proteins (and carbohydrates and fats if the recipe contains these nutrients) in the shake will be converted into triglycerides and stored as fat.
If the amount of calories in a protein shake is lower than what you ate before at a meal or lower than your energy needs, you will lose weight if you drink protein shakes even if you don't exercise. In conclusion, taking whey protein on rest days can be beneficial for muscle growth and athletic performance. Protein shakes are a great tool if you have a busy life and don't have much time to prepare meals but still want to have a high protein content in your diet.