How Often Should You Be Working Out, Really?

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We all know that exercise is essential for maintaining good health and fitness. But when it comes to setting a workout routine, how often should you be working out to achieve your goals? In this article, we’ll explore the frequency of exercise that’s right for you and provide some guidance on staying consistent.

Finding your workout sweet spot

The ideal workout frequency can vary depending on your fitness level, goals, and personal preferences. Here are some guidelines to help you determine how often you should be working out:

Aim for consistency: Even if you’re not getting into the gym, or are anxious about going, you can at least aim to move for 30 minutes, continuously, per day. There are many ways you can incorporate this — getting off of the train or bus to work a stop earlier, or going for a walk at lunchtimes.

Listen to your body: If you’re just starting out, a couple of workouts per week would be sufficient. As your fitness level increases, gradually increase the frequency of your training. But remember — rest days are crucial to prevent overtraining and allow your muscles to recover.

Set specific, realistic goals: The frequency of your workouts should align with your fitness goals, but should also be kept realistic. Don’t try to jump from 0 to 100 in just a one week. In fact, according to Harvard Health, just two days of strength training per week as a beginner is sufficient to grow muscle. Following this schedule, you should even notice a difference in your body in 6-8 weeks.

The below table by Barbend offers a starting point in knowing how much you should be training, based on your experience and the type of workout you’re doing.

Balancing intensity and recovery

The frequency of your workouts is crucial, but so is the balance between intensity and recovery. Here’s how to maintain this delicate equilibrium:

Vary your routine: Incorporate a mix of cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises into your weekly routine. This not only keeps things interesting but also helps prevent overuse injuries.

Listen to your body: If you feel fatigued, sore, or notice a decrease in performance, it’s time to scale back or take a rest day. Pushing through when your body needs a break can lead to injury.

Prioritize sleep and nutrition: Recovery extends beyond rest days. Adequate sleep and a balanced diet play a significant role in your body’s ability to recover and adapt to exercise.

The frequency of your workouts should be tailored to your individual goals. Whether you aim to lose weight, build muscle, or achieve another fitness objective, consistency is essential. It’s crucial to find the right balance between exercise and recovery to maximize your progress and minimize the risk of injury.

So, remember, the key to success in fitness is finding the right workout frequency that aligns with your specific goals. Whether it’s cardio, strength training, or a combination of both, tailoring your exercise routine to your objectives is the path to your desired fitness outcomes.