After a few days on a serious bodybuilding program like The Arnold Blueprint to Mass, you might find yourself praying for a rest day. When that rest day comes, you’re going to be incredibly sore beyond belief. So- how do we fix that? Eating. So, here is what to eat on rest days while bulking!
If you don’t have time to read the full article, here’s the summarized version: Eat as much protein as you can every 1-2 hours to ensure there’s a constant stream of protein to repair those muscles. Make sure you eat foods with a wide arrange of vitamins and minerals that will boost your muscle growth and help you get ready to get back to the gym!
So, let’s get into it, including a meal plan and example day, but now, here’s what to eat on rest days while bulking!
Here’s Our ‘Blueprint’ For Recovering On Rest Days While Bulking
I want to start by sharing the philosophy of what we believe here at Vekhayn. The philosophy is this idea from Rich Piana a long time ago.
He firmly believed in frequent meals with proteins to almost ‘have a constant IV drip of protein going in the blood’.
Here’s a quote I want you to read over and over again until you commit it to memory:
“You don’t grow muscles when you’re in the gym. You grow your muscle outside of the gym”.
These two main ideas are going to pioneer us into what will lead into incredible muscle growth.
After the past 5-6 days of constant strain on your muscles, they are basically at their wit’s end. There are tons of tiny tears in your muscles that just need to have a day alone to get repaired by your body.
Here’s The Game Plan:
Luckily, this rest day is pioneered to let us do that. So here’s what we are going to aim to do:
- Eat every 1-2 hours. (If you can’t, every 2-3 hours works well too)
- If you’re dirty bulking (Read: Dirty bulking – The Secret To Getting Big) you can eat really whatever you want. However, if you’re clean bulking the meals don’t have to be “huge”, they can just be small little things like cheese sticks/greek yogurt.
- Eat as soon as we wake up.
- When you wake up, your body has just escaped 8 hours of not eating any food. This means it has no proteins, carbs, fats- anything to work with on repairing muscle. We want to get this in action as SOON as we can.
- Have 10-20g of protein in every meal minimum.
- We don’t want meals with no protein in them. Every 1-2 hours we should be eating 10-20g of protein in every meal. Whether that’s two cheese sticks or five mcdoubles from McDonald’s, get it done.
- Have food that is good food for you and has proper nutrients.
- We are talking things like milk that will give you good calcium and Vitamin D. We are talking broccoli for anticancer properties and its’ minerals/antioxidants, we are talking GOOD FOOD. Things your muscles will LOVE to use their minerals/vitamins for.
- Drink lots of water throughout the day.
- I’m guilty of not following this one all the time, but we need to be drinking lots of water throughout the day. I’m pretty sure what I’m about to say is 100% broscience, as I couldn’t find any ‘real’ research to support it. The idea is, if you drink more water, the protein has an easier time getting around your body. Regardless, we all know water is incredible for us, so just drink it.
What To Eat on Rest Days While Bulking, Showing a REAL Day of Eating
Using the information above, let’s cover what to eat on rest days while bulking, using a real day of eating in my experience. This will be my average rest day programming.
What To Eat On Rest Days While Bulking For Breakfast
So right away as we wake up- we NEED to eat.
Your body has been asleep for 8-12 hours (sometimes I’m super sleepy) and it has completely exhausted its’ protein, fat, and carb reserves.
We need to restart this process of our muscles building themselves again. Ideally, we want to start our breakfast with as many carbs and proteins as possible.
Here’s what I usually do:
I start off the morning with a few slices of peanut butter toast, diet coke, and a turkey sandwich.
I got a lot of work to do on my rest days with the website and school, so I want to get a lot of the process started.
1-2 Hours Later
Sometimes it depends on how busy I am but we will get the next snack 1-2 hours later. This will usually depend on how hungry I am.
But then, we will try to see how sore/bad I am feeling. Usually, I’ll go for 2 cheese sticks and 2 cups of milk.
2 Hours Later: Lunch
Alright, we got our lunch break, perfect. I try to eat a lot here. I have a designated 30-minute break, so I try to eat as much as I can.
Also, I have one of those NuWave air fryers, it cooks food that is usually fried but is a lot healthier. And it takes minutes to cook anything like mozzarella sticks, chicken fries, etc.
So then I’ll pop like maybe 10-12 mozarella sticks in there and eat that with a diet coke or something.
1 Hour Later: Snack Time
So at this time, I’m going to go upstairs and get large water (32 oz) and another cheese stick or something similar that’s small. The goal is to constantly be replenishing the bloodstream with more protein.
It’s like a construction job, if the workers run out of supplies, your efficiency tanks.
Protein in this instance is the supplies. If your cells run out of protein, how are they supposed to grow anything? They simply can’t.
Also, this is a great time to munch on something like carrots or broccoli at your desk to give your body some great nutrition.
2 Hours Later: Another Snack
This is going to be a larger snack. I generally stick to two slices of peanut butter toast again or opt for some cereal.
I also try to get a cup or two of milk in here aswell.
2.5 Hours Later: DINNER
So for dinner I try to make it a pretty big meal.
The reason is, usually, after dinner, I backload MOST of my work. So for the next 3-4 hours I’ll be hard focused on school studying everything I can. Obviously, everybody’s schedule is different- maybe you use this time to read, watch TV, talk with your kids, hang out with your GF, etc.
But I like to have a big meal so I can for the next 3-4 hours be basically uninterrupted in terms of eating.
After these 4 hours have passed, the hunger will start to kick in again, I will be exhausted at whatever I’m doing, and it’s time to eat again.
4 Hours Later: The Late Night Snack
The late-night snack is when that hunger hits and you’ve been working all day. It’s time to relax and decompress a little bit.
I try to take around an hour-long break and eat at this point. So I’ll typically load up some ice cream, turkey/chicken sandwich (big sandwich), and perhaps some junk food like cheez-its.
Ultimately, the goal is to just take a big break after working all day. Because soon after, we are going back to our normal activities.
2 Hours Later, The Final Before Bed Snack
Before bed, it’s time to eat a lot of casein protein. Casein protein is a slow-digesting protein that will take longer for your body to absorb while you’re sleeping. This means that you’ll have a longer source of protein going into your bloodstream over your 8-12 hour power nap.
Here’s the thing, I never grew up with a ton of money. But you somehow have to make ends meet with this whole bodybuilding thing.
So, if you have food that can substitute my peanut butter toast or cheese sticks, go right ahead. But if you’re just starting bodybuilding or cannot get ahold of some of the more expensive foods, just about every house will have milk, toast, and peanut butter. So, take my advice and if you can’t get all of that food, just stick to the staples.
What’s The Big Idea Here?
The big idea is to constantly be eating throughout the day. This way your muscles wil constantly have a resupply of protein to work with.
While for the most part, eating every 1-2 hours isn’t a necessity. What we want to avoid is eating all that protein too late and leaving our body with no supplies to repair that muscle.
We want to be upping our bodies’ efficiency and allowing it to build muscle 24/7. If we eat too late, our bodies will run the whole day without being able to repair those muscles.
Really, when it comes to bodybuilding, it is just a sport of time and consistency. Unfortunately, not giving your muscles the resources they need to recover is severely wasting the time you need to grow.
Muscle growth is very slow and takes a long time, so we CANNOT waste any time, keep those muscles fed!
What Foods Should I Eat In Specific?
Honestly, anything with a good amount of proteins/fat/carbs.
The goal of this rest day is to powerup your ENTIRE body for the next split of your gym. Truthfully, most food should serve this purpose.
As long as you get a good amount of carbs, proteins, and fats in- you’ll be all set.
However, we do want to try and give our body good nutrition. Generally, most of us will have good nutrition already- but try to feed your body well.
And at the end of the day, as long you’re staying away from useless protein shakes and supplements, you should be good.
Eat some vegetables and fruits, eat some grains and meats, but above all, keep eating.
Don’t think because this is your rest day it means you don’t have to eat! The eating is the most important part!
Conclusion of What To Eat On Rest Days While Bulking
Ultimately, eat what you want, as long as you’re in a caloric surplus. Eat frequently, have variety in the meals, and make sure your muscles and body can recover properly!
Now, enjoy your rest day and get back to the gym soon!