Should You Drink Protein Powder on Non Workout Days? It can be difficult to get enough protein on a plant-based diet without incorporating protein powder into your diet.
Protein is an essential macronutrient that is required for muscle growth and repair. It also supports fat loss and boosts the immune system. Today, you have many choices in protein powder, so it’s hard to decide which one is best.
Protein powder can be a healthy part of your diet if you build muscle, increase your energy levels, or lose weight. But Should You Drink Protein Powder on Non-Workout Days?
The answer is… No.
Let me tell you why. First of all, protein powder is not the same as eating fresh fruits and veggies. Because it’s processed food, means that you should limit your intake to only 2-3 times a week.
Using protein powder in smoothies or shakes can cause an energy spike followed by a crash-often referred to as the “protein roller coaster.”
And drinking protein powder in between meals can actually be counter-productive. Because it hinders your own body’s ability to release and produce its own natural human growth hormone (HGH). This is why you should drink protein shakes only before and after workouts.
Table of Contents
What is Protein Powder?
Protein powder is a liquid or powdered substance containing high protein levels. This can be derived from either animal or plant sources-or both.
Whey, casein, egg albumen, soy, and rice protein powders are the most commonly used forms. Whey proteins are the most popular because they are easily digested by the body and are absorbed quickly.
Casein proteins are considered the slowest digesting protein, taking up to seven hours before your body absorbs it.
Protein powder is often recommended as an alternative source of protein for people who do not eat meat or animal products. It’s also great for vegetarians and vegans to add extra protein to their diet.
Benefits of Protein Powder
Protein is an important part of the human diet. It helps you maintain a healthy weight, strong muscles and support your immune system.
You can get all the protein you need from whole, plant-based foods like beans, nuts, and seeds. But sometimes, it’s hard to consume enough without adding protein powder to your diet.
Your body needs a certain amount of protein for cell growth, hormone balance, and repair every day. This amount varies from person to person, but the recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight or around 50g for an average adult woman.
This can be hard to get from whole foods alone, so some people try to find alternatives.
Should You Drink Protein Powder on Non Workout Days?
The answer is… No. It’s been shown that drinking protein shakes on non-workout days can actually decrease your body’s natural ability to build muscle and burn fat.
With that said, if you know you won’t be able to get enough protein in through whole foods, it may be smart to add a scoop of vegan powder into your smoothie or smoothie bowl once or twice each week.
Here are some great smoothie recipe ideas
Protein-Packed Smoothie Recipes for Non-Workout Days (from PETA)
Perfect Breakfast Shake
This breakfast shake is packed with essential nutrients and just the right amount of sweetness to make it a tasty start to the day. It’s a great breakfast for anyone who needs an energy boost in the morning but doesn’t want a heavy meal.
What You Need:
- 2 scoops of vegan vanilla whey protein powder
- 2 cups almond milk (unsweetened)
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds (optional)
Mix all the ingredients, then blend on high for 1 to 2 minutes.
Per Serving: Calories: 313; Protein: 32 g; Carbs: 18 g; Fat: 6 g (0.7 g saturated, 3.2 g monounsaturated); Sodium: 189 mg
Strawberry Cream Smoothie
This creamy smoothie is super-filling and extra delicious. It’s a great choice for anyone who craves something sweet but still wants to keep things light and healthy.
The basic recipe is based on vanilla protein powder, which most health food stores will stock. Using vanilla also makes it easy to flavor any fruit you like. For example, sometimes, I use frozen berries or fresh mango instead of strawberries.
What You Need:
- 1 cup soy milk or other non-dairy milk (unsweetened)
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds (optional)
- 2 scoops of vegan vanilla protein powder of choice
8 large strawberries, stems removed and chopped into chunks, or about 2 cups frozen unsweetened whole strawberries
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Per Serving: Calories: 220; Protein: 22 g; Carbs: 15 g; Fat: 7 g (0.9 g saturated, 2.8 g monounsaturated); Sodium: 80 mg
The Green Machine Smoothie
Everyone needs more greens in their diet, and this tasty smoothie provides a good dose of them.
I like this smoothie for breakfast and sometimes even lunch, especially when I feel like something light but still want to fill up on nutrients after eating less than usual the day before.
What You Need:
- 1 cup soy milk or other non-dairy milk (unsweetened) ½ cup baby spinach or other leafy greens of choice
- 2 tbsp. hemp seeds (optional)
- 1/4 cup frozen whole strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries 1 small banana and 3 ice cubes for sweetness
Per Serving: Calories: 255; Protein: 13 g; Carbs: 28 g; Fat: 9 g (1.3 g saturated, 4.7 g monounsaturated); Sodium: 160 mg
How much protein should I eat on non workout days?
On non-workout days, you should eat around 1.3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight or 0.7 grams per pound for the average woman.
“For instance, if your weight is 60 kilograms (132 pounds) and you’re not working out on that day, then you should aim to eat about 72 grams of protein (or one scoop of protein powder).” Try to get at least 50 grams of that 72 from whole food sources.
Mix a scoop of vegan protein powder into your favorite recipes for something sweet and some extra flavor.
Is it okay to take protein powder without working out?
If you’re not working out on a given day, getting protein from whole foods is especially important.
Otherwise, if you only consume shakes and powders, your body won’t get the nutrients that come with eating fruits and vegetables to help digestion and provide fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
Can I drink whey protein every day?
In general, it’s a good idea to vary your protein sources throughout the week. A combination of different protein powders is ideal.
“You might get bored drinking the same thing every day,” says nutritionist RD Heidi Skolnik, owner of Nutrition Starring You in Brooklyn and Manhattan. “It also helps prevent any amino acid imbalances.”
Everyone has a favorite protein powder, whether pea, hemp, brown rice, or another. Protein is where we get our energy from, but it allows us to build lean muscle when combined with diet and exercise.
Your body needs different types of proteins in order after your workout to really reap the benefits. “Brown rice protein powder is going to have a different amino acid profile than pea protein powder,” explains Skolnik.
What happens if I drink protein without working out?
While it’s important to get enough protein – ideally 30, 40, or even 50 grams daily. However, you should mix up your sources if you’re strength training, working out regularly, and trying to lose weight.
There are over 100 different types of amino acids. So while whey is touted as the best quality for muscle building, other products like brown rice, hemp, and pea protein are good options for mixing things up.
“If you rely on one source as the bulk of your protein intake, then over time, that can lead to problems,” says Skolnik. “Your body may start to become resistant to that particular source.”
How much powder should I use?
While eating complete meals with protein-containing foods is important, ensuring the body gets enough protein each day is also necessary.
Protein powders are a great source of quality protein. They can be added into smoothies and shake for an easy way to boost intake without adding additional calories or fat.
Most people require around 0.7 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight to maintain muscle mass and a healthy metabolism.
Try to get at least 12 grams of protein for breakfast, 16 or so at lunch, and 17 grams for dinner – but without exceeding 40-50 total grams through the day.
A good rule of thumb is to shoot for one shake a day. Some clients also choose to have a shake for breakfast to start their day.
The Bottom Line
From this article, I hope you got your answer on Should You Drink Protein Powder on Non Workout Days? Try to eat at least 50 grams of protein daily. And if you can, vary your sources by mixing up meal plans with different types of vegan protein powder.
I hope this article has helped you determine if protein powder is a good option for your fitness routine. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below, and I will get back to you as soon as possible!