Have you ever wondered how often you should work out? I get asked this question a lot, so I thought it was high time to answer it for everyone.
The caveat here is of course the answer will depend on your goals. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but I promise that’s not my intent. So, here’s my advice for a variety of situations…
1) First, if you’re just starting out on your fitness journey, you may want to start out with one workout program and work on making it a habit first. For this, I would suggest writing out a schedule for yourself to do specific workouts 4 days a week. Cardio is probably the easiest way to start and get the habit engrained. Don’t be afraid to do weight training though, if you’re ready. Do 4 workouts a week for 3 weeks in order to get yourself used to the new habit. Then you can add in another day or two per week.
2) Now, if you’ve been working out and are reasonably used to it, things could be done a little differently. Whether you have a lot of weight to lose or just want to get fitter and more toned, this solution is similar. My favorite routine is 150 minutes of cardio per week AND 3 days of strength training per week.
Some Tips: Keep in mind cardio should vary. If you’re a runner, that’s great, but make sure you work in some speed days – or even better, at least 1 day a week of cross training. Do some HIIT no matter who you are, too! And as for strength training, make sure you’re doing it on non-consecutive days (at least don’t do the same muscle group on back to back days). Don’t be afraid of heavier weight. Ladies, you won’t get huge. Just lift those weights, if you’re not FAILING at the end of your sets, your weights are TOO light and you’re not getting the most from your workout!
3) Lastly, if your intent with working out is simply for health reasons – maybe you’re trying to reduce your blood pressure or cholesterol, you’ll want to focus on cardio. But I still suggest getting a couple days a week of some strength training. It’s good for your health too! As for cardio, shoot for 5 days a week, at LEAST 150 minutes per week.
And no matter your goals, always, always, always get a great stretch in after every workout. Try some yoga classes or DVDs a few days a week. Its worth it. You’ll help prevent injury – and you’ll feel amazing.
So, you can see, schedules can vary. If you find yourself asking “how often should I work out?” follow this advice and listen to your body. You want to push yourself, but not kill yourself! The key is to find something you LOVE to do. If running 5 days a week makes you really dread your workouts, try something new! Don’t be afraid of home workouts, DVDs, etc. That’s where I found my rhythm. It’s FABULOUS to be able to do my workout whenever I want and not have to drive to the gym or fight for machines or whatever.
Share with us, what’s your workout schedule now? What is your workout goal?