Cardio

How Many Days Should You Workout May Surprise You

Plus, a sample one-week workout plan for fitness gains.

By: Rebecca Jacobs

Heads up. There’s a good chance many of us are either over-exercising, or not exercising enough. So, how many days should you workout per week? Hint-there’s not one straightforward answer that works for everyone. But, we’ve got answers and some tips on how to make the most of your workout days to see some serious fitness results. 

Here’s How Many Days You Should Workout Per Week 

When it comes to how many days you should be working out per week, it’s not cut and dry. There’s not one workout formula that’s going to work perfectly for everyone every single time. But, what we do know is that there is such a thing as working out too much, or not working out enough. 

The goal is to have a balance that’s challenging enough to give you results, but not a workout schedule that’s so fatiguing, you can barely get out of bed the next day. 

Ok, so how many days you should you be working out per week? Since studies show that regular physical activity (like 30 minutes of exercise each day) to be beneficial for health, we’re breaking down how to get some activity in each day, that’s challenging but not overkill. 

Oh, and always remember to be realistic with yourself. If daily exercise just isn’t going to work for you, that’s totally cool. Pencil in times you know you’ll be able to get some activity in during the week, even if it only means you can squeeze in a 30 minutes sweat sesh three times per week. You can always move your day up from there, while of course keeping moderation in mind, and not completely fatiguing yourself. 

What Should Your Workouts Look Like Each Day?

So we get that moving the body daily is important, but what exactly should you be doing? You want to mix things up a bit, to prevent fatiguing one muscle group, or going ham on the cardio to the point where you’re too exhausted to exercise the next day. A nice well-rounded balance is key here. 

Here’s what a one-week balanced exercise schedule looks like to avoid overdoing it. 

Cardio (3 times per week) 

Cardio fans, you’re in luck, because regular aerobic exercise is the perfect way to stay healthy. However, we have to be careful not to push ourselves too far. There’s a balance between a challenge and then doing too much. Try to stick to 30 minutes of some sort of cardio three times per week. Maybe jogging is your thing, or cycling is more your pace. 

Looking for a new challenge? Try a treadmill interval challenge for 30 minutes, where you sprint for 40 seconds, rest for 20. No matter what type of cardio you do, be sure to do something you enjoy, and you’ll be more likely to stick to it. 

Strength Training (2 times per week) 

Add some power behind those cardio days by building up your strength. Twice a week, pick up the weights and do a 30-minute strength training workout. Plus, stepping away from the cardio twice a week to work on strength training will only benefit your metabolic rate anyways. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate (hello calorie burning.) 

Try targeting various muscle groups like arms, legs, shoulders, back, chest, and core to really get a full-body burn. Try weighted lunges, regular old dumbbell curls, and weighted sumo squats. Add some body weighted exercises in there too by dropping and doing 15 push-ups or a one minute plank, and 20 tricep dips. Repeat for 30 minutes for a calorie-burning strength-building workout. 

Active Recovery/Stretching (2 times per week)

And we can’t forget about active recovery days. This is where your body will get a chance to rest from the other more challenging fitness days, while still building strength and flexibility. Consider yoga, Pilates, or even brisk walking on your active recovery days, making sure you’re getting some good stretching in too. Try to focus on 30 minutes of solid active recovery twice a week. 

Find the Challenge & Be Consistent

While we don’t want to over-exercise, getting regular exercise in on a daily basis, if possible, is going to help us get results. Find the challenge in your workouts, without overdoing it, and stay consistent. Consistent, challenging workouts that you show up for each day is going to be the secret sauce to helping you see results.