4 nutrition tips for the days you're not training

For those of you looking to #newyearnewme this month... there is a huge amount of advice out there on workout plans, supplements you should consider and everything in between. At times, the forgotten cousin of training day effort is the way you manage your ‘off’ day nutrition and supplementation. When it comes down to it, what you do in the gym and immediately around it is important, but the vast majority of the time (and your gains!) are made in the remainder of your week. Let’s dive in.

Tip 1: Portion control

Always a killer at Christmas and just after it, you may have fallen into the trap of loading every plate as high as possible. I’m sure you’ve heard everywhere, calorie management is critical to your fitness goals. The easiest way to do this without counting calories one by one is portion control. If your goals are to ‘lean up’ or lose some weight, try and assist your goals by always using a smaller plate or bowl. Dinner plates these days are comfortably 30cm across (mostly), and that’s a huge amount of food for one person if you are looking to stay trim. If you use a breakfast plate, you can fill it knowing you’re cutting your calories near enough in half... and go back for a small set of seconds without even topping the amount you’d have eaten on a regular plate.

Tip 2: Moderation of eating speed

Some of you may be aware, but the speed at which you eat your food can be very important for weight control and management. The body reacts relatively slowly to meals, with most people not starting to feel ‘full’ until about 20 minutes into a meal. Quite often people will eat quickly, and help themselves to more food before this period has elapsed. Meaning they overeat, leading to unnecessary calories and that ‘over-full’ feeling we all tend to get. If you can consciously slow down your rate of eating, you will give your body the chance to start feeling full.

Tip 3: Food selection

If you want to make the most of your non-training day meals, try and follow the calorie control and eating tips above. But don’t forget that balancing your meals by selecting the right foods can make a big difference. Here are some suggestions of what you might want to prioritise:

  • Lean protein sources (be it beans, pulses, fish, chicken, turkey, tofu, seitan, yoghurt, protein shakes) – approximately 1/3rd of your calories in a meal.

  • Vegetables and fruits that are high in vitamins and minerals – go colourful!

  • Low Glycaemic Index (‘G.I.’) carbohydrates – think brown pasta, brown rice, brown or wholemeal bread, sweet potatoes.

Or if that’s a lot of effort and you want something you can have on the go, consider something from our partner The Protein Works, such as their Diet Meal Replacement Extreme or for those of you who have a swole new plan to get massive, their Total Mass Matrix Extreme. But make sure you get the right one for you – the Total Mass Matrix Extreme packs 1000 calories a serving so make sure you factor this in!

Tip 4: Treat control

And now, the fun(ish) part – cheat days! If you’re very restrained, having a ‘cheat day’ where you indulge in high-calorie foods once every two weeks is a nice way to reward yourself for your dedication. However, this doesn’t work for everyone and therefore sometimes it’s nice to have a treat which is satisfying but doesn’t put a massive hole in your regime. You can go for dark (over 70% cocoa solids) chocolate if that’s your thing... or maybe try a nice sweet smoothie made with your favourite fruit. However, if none of these quite fit, you might want to look at The Protein Works’ treat range for a little something to nibble at lunchtime. Their Protein Cookies are a reasonable compromise, particularly if you microwave them for gooey goodness or cover them with a delicious nut butter…

Thanks for reading, and I hope you achieve your goals!

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