Yes, there is such a thing as working out too much.
When you start getting in to a regular workout routine, it can be tempting to swipe that gym membership card every day. You’re feeling a rush of endorphins after each sweat sesh, and you might even be seeing results already. Go you!
When it comes to exercise, you may think the more you do it, the better, but that’s not always the case. While there’s no “right answer” in how often you should work out, hitting the pavement or weights every single day with no rest days in between likely does more harm than good.
Finding the “right” amount of times to exercise each week might take some guess-and-check work. “It’s important to take an active role in your programming and see what’s working for you, and see what’s not working for you,” says Holly Rilinger, Nike Master Trainer, author, and certified fitness trainer in New York City.
Not sure where to start? Most studies suggest a good baseline is 30 minutes, five days a week. Another way to think of it: The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes a week, which you can break up throughout the week as it fits your schedule.
If you have specific health goals, you can tweak that basic 150-minute guideline to fit your needs. “If you have goals of losing fat, then you want to make those 30 minutes a day more intense,” says Rilinger. Learn more about workout intensity here.
But the key here is that stepping up your workout intensity does *not* mean working out every day. “Rest and sleep are the unsung heroes of fitness,” says Rilinger. “Putting in two days of not working out at all—giving yourself a break physically, mentally, and emotionally—is going to get you a lot further than actually doing too much.”
On rest days, you don’t necessarily need to spend it on the couch. You can still do stretches, go for a leisurely walk, and continue eating well. In fact, research shows people who eat well seven days a week—that means no “cheat days”—have better success in keeping excess weight off long-term. Here are more habits of people who successfully maintained weight loss.
How you fill those 30 minutes is also crucial. “It’s important to have diversity in your workout,” says Rilinger. “It’s also important—if you have goals to lose fat or get stronger—to make sure you’re doing the things that are going to get you there.”
For example, a 30-minute walk is great for staying active and keeping joints mobile. (Here are more benefits of walking.) However, if you’re looking to lose weight, develop your flexibility, improve your balance, or gain muscle, you might benefit from more intense or targeted workouts: HIIT workouts, swimming, weight-lifting, running, etc.
Moral of the story? One size does not fit all, but in general, you don’t need to exercise seven days a week. And for your workout days, find out what Holly Rilinger recommends to eat before and after exercise.
Coach, trainer, and 10-year veteran of the fitness world, Holly Rilinger is known as one of the most inspiring motivational trainers in the game.
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How many times a week should I work out?
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there's not gonna be a magic formula here.
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I think it's important to take
an active role in your programming and
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see what's working for you.
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And see if it's not working for you.
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Studies have shown that 30 minutes,
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5 days a week is gonna give
you a nice baseline of health.
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From there, if you have other goals
that involve getting stronger or
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losing fat, then you want to take
a closer look at what this means.
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So, if you have goals of losing fat,
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then you want to make those 30
minutes a day more intense.
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It's also important to take
a look at your recovery days.
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sleep are the unsung heroes of fitness.
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So putting in two days of not working out
at all giving yourself a break physically,
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mentally, emotionally is going to get
you a lot further than actually doing
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A big thing we see is overtraining too.
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People get excited.
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Your starting to see results.
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You want to do more, and more, and more.
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And the truth is if you take
those couple of days off,
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you're going to see more
results in the end.
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I think it's important to also talk about
how you fill those 30 minutes every day.
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It's important to have
diversity in your workout.
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And it's also important, if you have
goals to lose fat or get stronger,
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to making sure you're doing the things
that are gonna get you there.
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So just walking 30 minutes a day is likely
not going to give you the same results.
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As if you were doing HIIT or
doing weight training or
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doing other more intense exercises.
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Get into working out. Dallas, TX: American Heart Association. (Accessed on September 26, 2018 at https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/getting-active/get-into-working-out.)
Wing RR, Phelan S. Long-term weight loss maintenance. Am Soc Clin Nutr. 2005 Jul;82(1):222S-225S.