Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How Many Days a Week Should You Train?

 Exercise means different things to different people because everyone's goals may vary. If you are trying to lose weight, you tend to focus more on cardio, and if you are trying to tone up, you tend to focus more on strength training. But whatever your goal is, it is important to recover both short and long term.

The age old question has always been how often should you work out to meet your individual goals? It s not an easy question to answer because it completely depends on what you are trying to achieve. However, the best way to look at it may be to ask yourself how often you should rest. 

There are two different types of recovery: short and long term. Short term recovery is right after you exercise; those hours where you're refueling and getting your muscles to start repairing the wear and tear you out them through. Long term recovery is a periodic rest plan that should be built into your workout plan so you don't overwork your body. I'm pretty sure you mostly get our short term rest, but do you get long term rest? How often do you take a rest day? In fact, what does a rest day mean to you?

To be honest, if you train fairly intensely every day, you should have about one day a week where you do not do intense exercise. This is pretty difficult for some people as taking a day off sometimes messes with your caloric plan for that day. But if you continue to tear down your muscles and joints without giving them a chance to recover, you may not actually be building strength and tone the way you want to. Basically, exercise tears down muscles and rest repairs them. That's why it is important to have both.

If your exercise schedule consists of a mixture of moderate and low-intensity exercises, taking a day of might not be as important. Think about it. If you walk, cycle lightly, or do lower intensity cardio most days a week, and do strength training maybe once or twice, your body is already resting and so complete days off may not be as important as someone doing high-intensity exercises.

All in all, I believe it is important to keep the body constantly moving about 5 days a week. If that means going at high-intensity for those 5 and then taking 2 complete days off, or going at moderate-intensity for 5 days and then low intensity for 2, or mixing up your cardio and strength days so you only do strength 3 days a week and then cardio for 3, it should allow your muscles enough time to be active and enough time to relax. The most important thing is that you are meeting your caloric goals when you combine with your diet, keeping yourself active, and also giving your body time off.

Cheers Eights & Weights!

Photo credit: RunAngelRun.co.uk


  1. i just started going to the gym and my workout includes, spinning, step and the treadmill am seeking to tone up and loose some weight and intend on going thrice a week. i also include some weights. am i on track?

  2. Hi Uduak,
    Yes, you are on track. How many days do you do weight training and for how long? Spinning, step, and the treadmill are all cardio exercises to help you lose weight, while the weights will help you tone up. Don't forget the diet part!


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