Most of us know that exercise is good for us! Aside from keeping us fit, healthy, mobile and strong, exercise is effective in preventing diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and arthritis. But as always, too much of a good thing usually isn’t a good thing, and the same applies to exercise. So if there’s a risk of overtraining, how often should you work out? Let’s find out.
8fit answers: How often should you work out?
The answer to this question depends on your current level of activity. To know how often you should work out, it’s a good idea to assess your current fitness level. Are you an absolute beginner, or do you have some experience?
If you’re just getting started, it’s a good idea to start slow and work your way up. For example, if you’re quite sedentary, you could begin with one or two days of exercise per week, and work your way up to three days.
Ideally, this would eventually increase to three to four days of exercise, which is a beneficial amount to add to your weekly routine in our opinion. Through the 8fit app, we encourage users to work out four times a week — which, by the way, comes with a workout plan when you sign up for 8fit Pro.
How much is too much training?
As we mentioned earlier, everyone is different. An athlete who has played sports much of their life will have a higher threshold for training than someone who is a complete beginner. Factors like these make a significant difference in deciding how often you should work out. As a general rule, we should try to move our bodies at least thirty minutes a day, through walking or cycling.
Although each person’s training threshold is different, the effects of overtraining remain the same. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, then it’s likely that you’re overtraining.
Persistent muscle soreness
Weakened immune system
Mood swings and irritability
Increased frequency of injuries
Elevated resting heart rate
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and aren’t sure if it’s due to overtraining or something else, we highly recommend seeking medical advice from a doctor. It never hurts to stay on the safe side!
Regain your balance
Have you been overdoing it? If so, don’t worry. You can get yourself back on track. Check out our tips for how to bounce back after you’ve overworked yourself.
1. Rest and recover
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: a good night’s sleep is a must. If you want your muscle fibers to repair correctly and in turn build muscle, proper rest is critical. When we sleep, we replenish our energy stores and let our bodies recover. This allows us to continue exercising, get stronger and see better results. Are you also in the mood for a nap now?
2. Maximize rest days
Talking about rest, we also recommend making the most out of your non-workout days. That means recharging, eating good food and taking it easy. Use this time to let your body and muscles regenerate. Restorative stretching can help with this, as well as some well-deserved self-care.
When we say “good food”, we don’t necessarily mean takeout. We’re talking about nutritious, delicious and nourishing food (like the meals from the 8fit recipe book). And, when we say rest, that doesn’t mean you have to stay on the couch all day long. Instead, you can be moderately active by taking a leisurely stroll or a relaxed bike ride through the park.
Your rest periods are also a good time to hydrate. It’s important to make up for all the hard work you did. To hold yourself accountable, try keeping track of all the water you drink. Water isn’t just key in maintaining a healthy diet, it also helps your body flush out byproducts of exercise between training sessions.
3. Take a break
If you feel that you’re dealing with the symptoms of overtraining, it might be a good idea to take a week off. We suggest doing this every three to six months, depending on the intensity and frequency of your fitness program. You only need to do this if you’ve been following your exercise program intensely and for an extended period of time.
It may seem counterintuitive, but recovery weeks are essential. Taking a seven-day break not only replenishes the body’s energy stores, but it also allows your ligaments, tendons, and muscles to repair and prevents injuries. Even more importantly, this time-out can do a world of good for your mental wellbeing. If you’re feeling close to experiencing a burnout, taking a break may restore your motivation and keep you from losing interest in your fitness regime.
4. Scale back
“No pain, no gain?” That’s not our cup of tea. Exercise should be challenging, but it shouldn’t cause you physical pain. A good workout should leave you feeling energized, refreshed and accomplished, not writhing in pain. If you’re working out too hard or too often, you may want to scale back.
Instead of pushing yourself to your limits six days a week, lower the number of workout days to three or four and make them count, like by doing HIIT (these 8fit workouts are great). For the other days of the week, stay moderately active by walking or cycling.
8fit for everyone
Are you still feeling unsure about how often you should work out? For guidance, every step of the way, sign up for to the 8fit app. You’ll get workouts tailored to your fitness level and an extensive collection of HIIT exercises. Plus some cool surf-style training and yoga courses that are suitable for everyone from beginner to enthusiast. So whatever you’re into, you’ll undoubtedly find something to fit the bill.
Train smarter, feel better and get results!