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How Many Days Per Week Should I Workout?

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One of the biggest mistakes someone on their fitness journey can make is comparing themselves, their progress, and their training to someone else. When it comes to staying healthy, the path isn't one-size-fits-all. What you eat, when you rest, and how often you workout are all dependent on factors unique to you. 

So, let's dive into what a standard workout schedule may look like, how it varies according to certain goals, and what to say when regarding recovery.

General Exercise Recommendations

Leading health organizations recommend that adults dedicate at least 150 minutes per week to exercise - broken down into 30 minutes a day 5 days per week. This schedule consists mostly of moderate aerobic activity with at least two days of moderate strength training incorporated. 

Sample Schedule Following General Exercise Recommendations

  • Sunday: Recovery
  • Monday: 30 Minute Moderate Aerobic Exercise
  • Tuesday: 5 Minute Aerobic Warm-Up & 25 Minute Strength Training 
  • Wednesday: Recovery
  • Thursday: 30 Minute Moderate Aerobic Exercise
  • Friday: 5 Minute Aerobic Warm-Up & 25 Minute Strength Training
  • Saturday: 30 Minute Moderate Aerobic Exercise

Training times and recovery days can be adjusted for factors such as availability, training intensity, fitness goals, age, and skill level. However, you should prioritize Creating a routine that you can be consistent in. Consistency is what bears the most impactful results in health and fitness.

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Recommendations Specific to Weight Loss

The key to losing weight is remaining in a caloric deficit. Though this goal has more to do with nutrition, creating a training schedule conducive to maintaining the deficit is a priority. You can do this by coinciding your rest days with lower caloric intake days. Alternatively, you can modify your training schedule to incorporate more vigorous activities for a greater caloric burn. 

Sample Schedule Following Weight Loss Recommendations

  • Sunday: Active Recovery and Lower Caloric Intake
  • Monday: 30 Minutes Moderate Classic Split
  • Tuesday: 60 Minutes Moderate Aerobic Activity
  • Wednesday: Active Recovery and Lower Caloric Intake
  • Thursday: 30 Minutes Moderate Classic Split
  • Friday: 60 Minutes Moderate Aerobic Activity
  • Saturday: Active Recovery and Lower Caloric Intake

Recommendations Specific to Building Muscle

Building muscle involves two main components - progressive overload and a caloric surplus. In addition, your training schedule will need to have a higher focus on correlating moderate-vigorous anaerobic activity with rest periods. 

Sample Schedule Following Muscle Building Recommendations

  • Sunday: Active Recovery
  • Monday: 30 Minutes Classic Split
  • Tuesday: 30 Minutes Classic Split
  • Wednesday: Active Recovery 
  • Thursday: 30 Minutes Classic Split
  • Friday: 30 Minutes Classic Split
  • Saturday: 30 Minutes Classic Split

If you have fewer days to workout, the Push/Pull/Legs split may be your best strength training option. Regardless of what strength training split you use, remember to shoot for 1-2 exercises targeting each muscle in that group and at least 3 sets with 6-12 reps. 

Why is Recovery Important?

Recovery is vital to your body's process of rebuilding muscle and recuperating energy. Giving your body time to rest improves mood, motivation, and mobility. In addition, it regulates hormones, restores metabolism, and facilitates better overall wellbeing.

Implementing Rest and Recovery

Having set rest days is a great way to prioritize recovery. Keep in mind that a rest day can and should include some light activity, even if it's not a structured workout. Stretching, walking, and swimming are all great rest day exercises. Remember that the goal is to keep your heart rate between 30% and 60% of your max. 

It's equally as important to be observant of what's going on in your body. If you start noticing signs of exhaustion, try a day of passive rest. Then ease your way back into your normal training routine.

Signs of Exhaustion

You’ll know when you’re overtraining because you will feel it. Your body signals exhaustion in many different ways, including the following: 

  • Fatigue: Overtraining depletes your body's stored energy reserves.
  • Injury: The consistent breakdown of muscle without proper time to repair puts you at a higher risk for injury.
  • Sleep Issues: Overtraining causes the adrenal glands to produce excess hormones that make it difficult to fall or stay asleep.
  • Stalled Progress or Capability: Both mentally and physically, a broken body cannot accurately learn to adapt to external stressors.

 

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