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Should You Drink Protein Shakes on Non Workout Days?

by Mara Welty May 10, 2023 6 min read

 woman in the water with INVIGOR8 shake

Whether or not you’re a fitness enthusiast, you’ve probably heard of the term “leg day.” It refers to days when your workout focuses on the lower body, rather than your arms, abs and shoulders. And there’s a reason why “leg day” isn’t every day—after a grueling workout, your muscles need time to rest and recover to avoid overtraining or injury.

That said, should you drink protein shakes on non workout days?

Protein shakes are a popular supplement for athletes, as increased daily protein intake can support muscle growth and recovery. And they may still be beneficial even on recovery days, as they can support muscle repair and reduce soreness after intense physical activity.

Why Is Protein Essential To Our Bodies?

Every cell in your body requires protein to function. It’s found in your organs, skin, bones, hair and muscles, and it plays a critical role in:

  • Carrying oxygen throughout the body
  • Providing the body with energy
  • Expressing certain genes
  • Creating new cells and repairing old ones
  • Regulating the immune system
  • Forming muscles

Essentially, protein acts as the building blocks of our bodies.

Consequently, it’s critical to consume an adequate amount of protein in your diet, particularly if you’re looking to build muscle or improve your physical endurance. Too little protein can often lead to muscle loss, as tissues are more susceptible to breaking down. 

When crafting your meal plan, ensure that protein makes up 10–35% of your daily calories You can get your daily protein supplement from a variety of foods, including:

  • Fish and shellfish
  • Poultry
  • Lean beef
  • Beans and lentils
  • Quinoa
  • Nuts
  • Dairy products
  • Eggs

When it comes to protein shakes, can you drink protein shakes without working out? Yes! In fact, you can incorporate protein shakes into your pre-, post- or non workout routines. Often made with pea or whey protein, protein powders can supplement shakes, smoothies, protein balls, yogurt and even pastries like cookies and muffins. 

These protein powders are usually low in fat and carbohydrates and can be consumed as a snack or meal replacement to control hunger, keep you satiated and help facilitate post-workout recovery. Typically, it’s recommended to drink a protein shake 30 to 60 minutes following physical activity to help your body recover and refuel. Learn more about the number of calories in a protein shake to ensure you’re meeting your daily caloric goal.

However, protein shakes can benefit your pre-workout routine, too. In fact, drinking a protein shake before you head to the gym may help support muscle synthesis. 

Essentially, you want to add protein powder to your meal plan when your body is in an anabolic state — that is, rest and recovery — as opposed to a catabolic state, which occurs when you’re working out.

During anabolic states, your body is especially efficient when it comes to using protein to build muscles and repair cells. That said, protein shakes can benefit your body even on days when you’re not working out. 

The Importance of Protein on Non Workout Days

Protein shakes on rest days can play a critical role in muscle recovery. Researchers found that whey protein may enhance protein metabolism to initiate muscle recovery and mitigate any muscle soreness, aches or cramps that may arise as a result of strenuous exercise.

High-quality protein shakes can also help facilitate weight loss as they often contain natural ingredients that can keep you fuller longer and support your overall health. These ingredients can include:

  • Prebiotics and probiotics
  • Essential nutrients, such as vitamins D, K, B6 and B12
  • Green veggies, such as chlorella algae, alfalfa grass, spinach, kale and broccoli
  • Fatty acids, such as flaxseed, chia seed and coconut
  • Digestive support compounds, such as amylase, lactase and papain
  • Immunity support elements, like bovine colostrum
  • Cognitive support ingredients, such as L-theanine and bacopa monnieri

When searching for a protein powder that can support full-body wellness, choose one with no added sugars or artificial ingredients.

How Does Protein Support Muscle Recovery?

On rest days, our muscles are constantly undergoing a process of breaking down and rebuilding. The amino acid makeups in protein and consequently, protein shakes, works within the body to repair muscles and tissues, thus giving your body the compounds it needs to successfully recover.

In effect, your muscles can grow stronger and help mitigate soreness.

Following a day of working out, it’s recommended to take about 0.2–0.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight to facilitate muscle repair and growth. You may also want to consider the intensity and duration of your workout. In other words, the harder the workout, the more protein you’ll want to feed your body to aid recovery.

That said, on non workout days, it’s generally recommended to decrease the amount of protein to a more moderate level, as your body won’t need as much on these lower activity days. In fact, if you consume enough protein on non workout days, a protein shake may not be required. However, if you struggle to get your daily amount, a protein drink can act as a wonderful (and convenient) way to get the protein you need.

Overall, adding a protein shake to your non workout days can:

  • Increase satiety
  • Regulate blood sugar levels
  • Enhance muscle protein synthesis
  • Prevent muscle loss

You’ll also want to add a few carbohydrates into the mix. A carb to protein ratio of 3:1 can help replenish energy stores and support muscle synthesis. The best carbs to eat after a workout include:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Quinoa 
  • Fruits, like pineapple, berries, banana and kiwi
  • Rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Pasta 
  • Whole grain bread
  • Edamame

Even better, different types of protein powder with digestive enzymes can aid the digestion of carbohydrates to improve fullness and provide your body with much-needed energy.

The Effects of Too Much Protein

While it’s difficult to overdose on protein, a surplus of protein in your diet can have several negative side effects, as high-protein diets can also have high levels of fats. Too much of a good thing may harm or disrupt your:

  • Kidney function
  • Heart health
  • Mood and energy levels
  • Digestion
  • Sleep cycle
  • Weight loss efforts
  • Dental health

Additionally, a protein drink that contains added sugar, artificial flavors and unnecessary ingredients can harm your overall health and stunt your fitness goals.

How to Prepare a Rest Day Protein Shake

To craft a beneficial rest day protein shake, learn how to use protein powder with plenty of added nutrients and natural ingredients. Then, you’ll want to follow the directions as depicted on the product label. 

For example, when indulging in INVIGOR8’s Organic Superfood Shakes, we recommend two scoops of powder combined with 1–1.5 cups of water. Shake and blend with a few cubes of ice, and you’re ready for recovery.

For added flavor and nutrients, consider replacing the water with coconut water, unsweetened almond milk, milk or rice milk. You can also elevate your protein shake with additional post-workout recovery foods, such as:

  • Peanut butter – Peanuts are nutrient-dense and add an extra dose of protein to help support muscle recovery and repair. Peanut butter can also fend off hunger, support a healthy weight and make your protein shake extra creamy.
  • Bananas – Bananas are rich in water, carbs and potassium, making them an ideal rest day addition to any protein shake. They may also help replenish sugar stores, help the body use protein more effectively and reduce inflammation.
  • Taro root – Taro contains high amounts of carbohydrates and fiber, which can work together with protein to facilitate digestion and muscle growth.
  • Spinach – Spinach may help reduce inflammation and provides the body with plenty of essential vitamins and beneficial nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese.
  • Blueberries and raspberries – Rich in antioxidants, berries can aid muscle recovery and provide a source of carbohydrates. 
  • Chia seeds – Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain all the essential amino acids your body needs, alongside omega-3 fatty acids and minerals like iron and calcium. Add in a splash of coconut milk, and your protein shake is good to go.
  • Green tea extract– Green tea may mitigate muscle damage and promote healing, as it contains antioxidants that may regulate oxidative damage.
  • Oats – Oats contain complex carbs, vitamin B and fiber, all of which can help you maintain muscle mass. This makes oats a fantastic addition to any post-workout shake.

Optimize Your Rest Day With INVIGOR8

Consuming protein shakes on off days is not necessary but can be beneficial if you struggle to meet your daily protein requirement intake or prefer a convenient protein source. While you won’t need the same high protein intake as you would on a high-intensity workout day, adding a protein shake to your recovery routine can help replenish energy stores, facilitate muscle recovery and growth, and provide weight loss support to reach your goals. 

With INVIGOR8 All-in-One Superfoods Shake Powder, you can support your health journey inside and outside of the gym. Made with grass-fed whey protein, this powder can help control hunger, build lean muscle mass, and promote healthy weight loss. It’s also packed with plenty of nutrients and health-supporting ingredients to aid digestion, immunity and cognition.

Plus, our protein powder ingredients are gluten-free and contain no added sugars, soy or artificial ingredients. 

And our powder isn’t limited to smoothies. You can also add it to a variety of recovery day treats, including protein balls, oatmeal, pastries and juices. 

Support your full-body wellness and your post-workout recovery with INVIGOR8. 

Sources:

WebMD. Benefits of Protein

Clif Bar. 5 Facts About Protein & Recovery After a Workout

Eating Well. 6 Signs You Could Be Eating Too Much Protein

Healthline.Should You Eat a Banana After a Workout?

Health.​​7 Muscle Recovery Foods for After Your Next Workout

About the Author

 Mara Welty
Mara Welty

Mara Welty is a copywriter who specializes in health, wellness and CBD topics. With a background in journalism, she aims to deliver engaging, research-based content that builds trust and engages readers through informative storytelling.

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