How often should I work out?

This is an ultimate questions of anyone who gets into fitness and wants to see results. How often should train? – Every day? 5-6 days a week? Or may be 3 or 4? Twice a day probably? More is better? A little more? No matter if you are exercising for weight loss, for fun or for better performance – this will still be a question in your mind. At least it is in my mind all the time. I either think I am not doing enough, or my body is telling me I am doing too much, and it is hard to find a perfect balance.

Sometimes you see all these top-class athletes that are working out several times a day, or having only 1 day off in a month, and start thinking if you should be doing the same, I’ve gone though this – running in the morning, strength in the evening – every day, 1 day off a week, 1 day off in 2 weeks…

So here are some of the findings that worked for me:

  1. The most important thing in achieving results is consistency. And once again – consistency. Lifting a barbell once a week and forgetting about it till next month is not gonna get you anywhere. Make it regular, baby!
  2. Frequency of your workouts is directly proportional to your experience. If you are a newbie or picking up a new routine – start slow, probably 3-4 times a week. Once you get used to it and it seems easy  – add up sessions and/or intensity.
  3. Frequency and duration also depend on intensity of the session. Your 20 minute butt-blasting tabata session or interval run will be pretty much equal to 45 min – hour of low or moderate intensity workout. And you know you should not make every workout high-intensity or burn-out is guaranteed!
  4. Recovery is as important as working out itself. We are getting stronger when we are resting, so getting proper recovery between your sessions is absolutely paramount to achieving your goals. This concept was so hard to grasp for me! Every time I took a complete day off I felt like a total loser, I felt guilty and frustrated. I am slowly starting to appreciate the importance of recovery and rest (probably because I’m getting older hehehe), and for now I have found a balance that works for my body: 1 full rest day a week with 2 hard weeks followed by an easy “recovery” week. And no more than 2 days a week are double session days (normally strength/ crossfit in the morning and run in the evening or vice versa).
  5. Don’t try to copy schedules of professional athletes. They exercise for a living. They don’t have 9 to 5 jobs and all they do is exercise and rest, that is why they can afford 3 sessions a day, 6 or even 7 days a week. They train, eat, rest – all day, every day. Well, almost… I am sure they also watch TV, go shopping and poop, but that is absolutely irrelevant to the subject of this post.
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