Q: How often should I work out?

A: The answer to this question really comes down to what your goals are and also what your schedule permits. In an ideal world the research generally supports that it’s beneficial for most people to move 150 minutes per week for health benefit (aka prevention of disease). This can be accomplished in a variety of ways (think 3 50-minute sessions per week, daily for 25-minutes or two 11-minute bursts per day).

But if you’re like me, and you’re looking for more than “prevention of disease” and have some goals in mind then we’re talking about fitness. But WHAT that involves really depends on your goals. If you’re a runner you might run 3-4 days per week and cross train 2-3 days per week (spinning, weight training & yoga are my faves for runners). You would ideally also include at least one day per week of active recovery. This may be a gentle yoga or walk, but it shouldn’t be intense. Rest is the unsung hero when it comes to achieving the results you want in fitness. Don’t take that as license to take a week off (nice try)! But you do need recovery to allow your muscles to respond to the work you’re putting in. And that means recovery.

Here’s the guidelines I give to my clients:

  • aim to move daily for 20-30 minutes – it doesn’t have to be intense (unless you have specific fitness goals that require it)
  • move in ways you ENJOY that also help move you towards your goals
  • have a plan that incorporates a variety of types of exercise & intensity (you can’t go hard every day – that’s a recipe for burnout/ injury)
  • make sure your plan not only incorporates rest weekly but also cycles you over periods of weeks & months to incorporate peaks in your training. Doing the same thing week upon week upon week is also recipe for burnout/ injury

Feel overwhelmed by this? Talk to a qualified fitness professional. We love this stuff. Mapping out training arcs & creating periodized plans is what we’re trained to do.