How often should you work out per week? Exercise every day?
A guide to help you plan your training schedule.
Is it okay to work out every day? In this article we will help you answer this question so you can organize your training schedule according to your goals.
How often should I work out?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It all depends on your body composition, fitness level, goals, schedule and your lifestyle.
Someone who has many obligations (such as: busy job, kids, family...) will not be able to work out as much as someone who is still a student. Also, your lifestyle impacts your training schedule. If you're a construction builder, you should probably not train like a someone who sits at a desk. Finally, someone who want to build big muscles won't have the same routine has someone who is training for a marathon.
It can sound vague now, but we will give you tips and examples to help know what could work for you.
Should I work out every day?
Yes and no. Being active is part of human nature. We need to move every day. It's not just to look good. Exercising can help you boost your mood, improve sleep, reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, and much more... You can have a really bad, work out and it will help you feel better.
- No: you should not do an intense workout every day. An example of intense workout would be doing a heavy leg day or do sprints until you can't breathe. High intensity workouts put a lot of stress on your mind and body. Your body and CNS (Central Nervous System) won't be able to fully recover and the risk of injury can increase. It takes 48 hours on average to fully recover.
- Yes: you should be active every day. Moving doesn't necessarily going to the gym and train for 1 hour every day. You can go for a quick 20 minute run. You can also work on your mobility, do some yoga or simply go for a walk.
Listen to your body
We tend to go all in 100% of the time without acknowledging how we feel mentally and physically. This health and fitness journey is a marathon, not a sprint. The goal is to aim for long-term progress and prevent injuries.
So if today is supposed to be your heavy day, but you've had a bad night or work is stressing you out. You should probably start with moderate weight and see how you feel. Because if your mind is stressed, your body won't respond as well as when you're having a great day.
Train according to your fitness level
An advanced athlete would be able to handle more intensity than someone who is just starting out. Someone who knows how to eat and rest according to their workouts would be able to perform better and recover quicker.
Here are some workout schedule examples to help you decide how often you should work out per week:
- Beginner: 1-3 times a week
- Intermediate: 3-5 times a week
- Advanced : 5+ times a week
Try to start on the lower range so you can make it habit. It's all about building a sustainable lifestyle because you never know what life will throw at you.
What type of workouts?
The type of workouts depends on your goals.
Thus, we will give some examples so you can choose what's right for you:
- I'm obese, I want to lose weight:
- 70% LISS (low intensity steady state) cardio
- 30% light/moderate weight training
- I'm overweight, I want to lose weight:
- 40% LISS (low intensity steady state) cardio
- 20% HIIT (High intensity interval training)
- 40% light/moderate/heavy weight training
- I want to be healthy:
- 50% LISS (low intensity steady state) cardio
- 50% light/moderate/heavy weight training
- I want to build lean muscle mass and get stronger:
- 15% LISS (low intensity steady state) cardio
- 25% HIIT (low intensity steady state) cardio
- 50% light/moderate/heavy weight training
- I want to get stronger:
- 20% LISS (low intensity steady state) cardio
- 80% moderate/heavy weight training
Weight training can also include bodyweight movements. As mentioned earlier, you should include some mobility and stretching work in each workout.
You can notice the pattern here. All goals should include aerobic activities (cardio). It's recommended to do at least 2 hours of aerobic activities per week to have a healthy cardiovascular system.
Tips for boosting your performance
Working out is one part of the equation, you will also need to have the right nutrition and recovery if you want to perform at your best.
Here are some tips to help you exercise better:
- Sleep enough: get your 7-8 hours of sleep. We tend to be sleep deprived and be proud of it. Research has shown that lack of sleep can highly increase the risk of injuries, lack of focus and will make you take bad decisions.
- Work on your mobility: I can't empathize this enough. Good mobility will help you have good posture, help you recover actively and will make you perform movements with the right form.
- Try sauna: research has shown that 20 minutes/2-3 times a week of sauna can be very helpful for recovery but also for preventing cardiovascular issues.
- Learn about mindfulness: meditating or learning what your body is feeling at this exact moment will help you feel less stressed about small things. It will help you focus on what truly matters.
Here is a training plan:
- "Exercise & Fitness": https://www.health.harvard.edu/topics/exercise-and-fitness
- "Single episode of sauna use improves vascular compliance (blood vessels’ ability to contract and expand), reduces blood pressure, and decreases CRP. Study.": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9M8X_bs_fzI&t=2214s
- "Sleep is your superpower": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MuIMqhT8DM