17 May 2018

How Often Should you Workout in a Week?

Fitness and workout advice

Fitness lovers can well empathise with these working out dilemmas – when do you stop working out and how many times to workout in a week?

Consider this scenario:

“Richard? Why aren’t you up yet? You’ll be late for work!”

“Well, basically I’m suffering from exercise-induced insomnia. I’ve been working out far too much. As a result, I can’t sleep and when I get up I will probably be extremely irritable and, quite possibly, angry about really trivial things.”

“You know all this and you still keep exercising too much?”

 “It’s just so hard to stop working out once I really start going!"

As in case of Richard, tossing and turning in bed and getting irritable once you’re up, is an all too common scenario after an intense workout on the previous day. Richard has overdone it. He’s done what far too many gym junkies and fitness fanatics do; he’s got addicted to the point where he’s trained and exercised too hard. Richard has taken fitness to a bad place; an unhealthy and seriously fatigued place.

Fitness overload is real

 Is it possible to workout too much? Absolutely, and if you don’t believe it, train intensively every day for a month or so and see for yourself how you feel. Make a note of your sleeping habits. Keep a check on your emotions and find out if you’re feeling your normal happy self. See if you don’t start getting annoyed about things that didn’t bother you much before and if you’re snapping at people in ways that are completely out of character with your former moderately-exercising self.  

How often should you work out?

Well, that depends on what workouts you plan to do. But as a general rule, three workouts on non-consecutive days is a good place to start. In fact, that’s probably about right for most with a mix of high intensity, low intensity, cardio and strength/toning. A day off is designed to let your body recover after a tough workout. If you don’t allow that recovery and continue to work the same fatigued muscles, that’s when you start running the risk of serious fatigue.

Looking to add a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) program or a HIIT workout to your usual routine? Tabata training should be on your list!

How many times to workout in a week?

The key in deciding this is in knowing how to plan your gym workout and compartmentalising your body, while working on each compartment separately. If you just worked your lower body to exhaustion with weights, don’t do the same the next day. Go for upper body or cardio.

It is okay to workout for more than three times a week. All you need to do is ensure that you mix it up with high and low-intensity workouts. Don’t attack the same areas on consecutive days and give your body time to recover.

How many hours should you workout for?

Anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes depending on the intensity of the workout. The higher the intensity, the shorter your workout should be.

And remember, 30 minutes of high-intensity exercise can burn just as many calories as pottering about for 90 minutes. As can even shorter workouts such as the super high-intensity Tabata program.

Mix in a Zumba group class or even some yoga to keep you energized and interested. One of the biggest killers of fitness enthusiasm is repetition. The more varied your weekly regime, the more likely you’ll stick with it and achieve the results you seek.

Passionate about fitness? Turn your passion into a rewarding career as a Personal Trainer or a Group Exercise Instructor! Check out our Complete Personal Trainer^ Program or our range of nationally accredited fitness courses. Call us on 1300 616 180 to speak with one of our Careers Advisors.

^The Complete Personal Trainer consists of the SIS40215 Certificate IV in Fitness + entry requirement units. Please contact us for further details on the course structure.

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