Your legs are the biggest muscle group, so you burn a ton of calories when you train them.
But should you eat more on leg day?
Here’s whether you should eat more on leg day:
You should eat more on leg day if you want improved recovery, performance, and maximum muscle growth. Whereas those who want to lose weight should avoid eating more on leg day.
In this article, we cover the benefits and drawbacks of eating more on leg day, what you should eat on leg day, and much more!
Benefits Of Eating More On Leg Day
When you work out, your muscles require a ton of energy in order to work against the resistance.
Now as I’m sure you’re aware, the body’s energy source is calories.
So the more calories that you consume, the more energy your muscles have to attack the weights.
Since the legs are the largest muscle group, they’ll burn through even more calories than if you trained a different body part.
And so, eating plenty of calories on leg day is crucial to fuel your workout.
(If you don’t consume enough calories on leg day, you’re going to feel weak which could reduce the intensity of your workout.)
When you train your legs, your leg muscles experience small tears to the muscle tissue, which are called micro tears.
And since your legs are the biggest muscle group, you’ll generally experience more micro tears when training legs compared to other body parts.
Now, in order to repair the tissue (in a process known as hypertrophy), your muscles need plenty of amino acids which are derived from protein.
And so if you want optimize your leg day recovery, you ought to be eating A LOT of protein.
Maybe this one’s just me…
But I feel as if in order to earn more food, I need to train harder in the gym.
And so if I was to eat more food on leg day, I’d be much more motivated to push my body to its limits and smash my PBs.
Improved Glycogen Replenishment
When you train legs, your muscles deplete their glycogen stores in order to fuel the workout.
But according to research, those who consume a low carb diet (and thus have lower glycogen levels) are more likely to fatigue earlier in a workout.
So if you want your next workout to be effective, replenishing your glycogen stores is absolutely crucial.
How do I replenish my glycogen stores? I hear you ask.
Well the answer is simple…
Eat a ton of carbs after your leg workout.
Improved Muscle Growth
In order to gain weight (including muscle), you need to be in a calorie surplus.
In simple terms, this means that you consume more calories than you burn.
So if you want to gain muscle, you need to be eating more calories than your body uses up over the course of a day.
Since leg day burns a ton of calories, you should be eating more on leg day if optimal muscle growth is your goal.
Drawbacks Of Eating More On Leg Day
More Likely To Feel Sick
While there are many possible reasons for this, one reason is that some folks like to eat a carb-heavy meal before training.
This is a big no-no.
Because after a big meal, lots of your body’s energy goes towards digestion.
But when you start training, your body’s energy goes towards fuelling your workout.
As a result, you’ll have little energy to digest your food, which can make you feel sick.
(Especially with a stomach full of food!)
Could Lead To Unwanted Weight Gain
As covered earlier, in order to put on weight, you need to eat more calories than you burn.
While this is important for muscle growth, it can also lead to unwanted fat gain.
So if you’re carrying a few extra pounds, then eating more on leg day is maybe a bad idea!
Should You Eat More Carbs And Fats On Leg Day?
Well, this depends on what your goal is.
If you want to have more energy for your workout and replenish your glycogen stores for your next workout, then eating more carbs and fats on leg day makes a lot of sense.
Whereas if you don’t want to risk feeling sick on leg day, and perhaps want to lose some weight, then laying off the carbs and fats is a good idea.
Should You Eat More Protein On Leg Day?
Generally speaking, eating more protein on leg day is always a good idea.
It will help you recover better and gain more muscle, while providing a good source of calories to fuel your workouts.
Sample Leg Day Meal Schedule
Fat Loss Meal Schedule
Meal 1: 200g steak, 25g almonds, 100g brocolli
Meal 2: 200g cod, 15g coconut oil, 100g spinach
Post Workout: 50g whey protein
Meal 3: 200g prawns, 60g basmati rice, 100g green beans
Meal 4: 200g chicken breast, 50g basmati rice, 100g cauliflower
Meal 5: 200g chicken breast, 100g oats, 100g green beans
Total carbs: 160g
Total fats: 70g
Total protein: 300g
Bulking Meal Schedule
Meal 1: 175g steak, 30g cashew nuts, 100g green beans
Meal 2: 150g cod, 25g coconut oil, 100g spinach
Pre Workout: Black coffee with 10g coconut oil
Post Workout: 40g whey protein, 100g maltodextrin
Meal 3: 140g chicken breast, 100g broccoli, 110g basmati rice, 100g pineapple
Meal 4: 140g chicken breast, 100g kale, 110g jasmine rice
Meal 5: 140g turkey mince, 100g cauliflower, 50g cashew butter
Total carbs: 300g
Total protein: 230g
Total fats: 100g
- Eating more food on leg day provides your body with the extra energy it needs to recover from the challenging leg exercises.
- It’s best to save the bulk of your calories for after your leg workout so that you don’t feel nauseous.
Hope this helped!
I’ve been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I’ve gained 30 pounds of muscle, written hundreds of articles, and reviewed dozens of fitness supplements. As for my educational background, I’m a currently studying for my Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training.