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No Days Off...

There is a common question when someone starts working out, and often times even with people who have been working out for years: how many days a week should I work out?

What is recommended?

150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or

75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity or

a combination of the 2 intensities AND

Strength training 2 times per week per muscles group

Ideally, split this up over the course of a week. 30 minutes 5 days a week of moderate, 15 minutes of vigorous 5 days a week or some sort of variety. More can be better- that's ok. But rest is needed. No days off... while a cool slogan, is garbage.

What is moderate intensity? 70-80% of your heart rate max

What is vigorous? 80-100% of your heart rate max

So how do we use these recommendations?

First let's address beginners.

For someone new to working out or to a new type of workout, the soreness following a workout can lead someone to skip a few days. Many beginners only workout 2 days a week. To be honest, this is not ideal. 2 days a week can keep you in a constant state of soreness due to the ever-changing exercises. Plus, 2 days a week is hard to get the recommended amount of activity. It is best divided up over the course of a week. Being more consistent can lead to actually help reducing your soreness.

(Side note: if you are a veteran, 2 days a week can be good maintenance so when trying to recover from an injury or going a vacation- get in 2 days and move on! )

An ideal scenario would be workout 2 days, rest a day, workout 2 or 3 days, rest. Repeat. That equates to 2 rest days a week. (Theoretically, Mon/Tues workout, rest Wed, Thurs/Fri/Sat workout, rest Sun.) BUT! Life is never that perfect- we get busy, we feel tired, we have other arrangements. So can the schedule look differently? Absolutely! Our bodies do not recognize Sunday through Saturday, only our minds. So don't get caught up in a "weekly schedule". Think of your workouts as more, 2 or 3 days on, 1 day off. Repeat. Make adjustments based on your needs. Stay consistent. That's the key.

For my veterans, most of you probably don't take enough rest days! Your body builds muscle, believe or not, at night while you are in deep sleep after working out. Your body builds with rest! Those rest days are crucial in improving your muscle mass and keeping your joints/ligaments and all those things that can hurt, healthy! YOU HAVE TO TAKE REST DAYS!!!

So when should you rest?

You should be paying attention to your HRV if you're not. Get a Whoop or download an app that can read it. HRV or heart-rate variability is a measurement of your autonomic nervous system. Once you learn your HRV, you can determine your body's readiness for physical activity and strain. Again, you can plan your workout days and rest days based on your schedule and you should because that seems to help people stick to it! (You know, you're a veteran). BUT, if you wake up one day and have an unusually low HRV, ideally, you should make that day a rest day. If you continue to push yourself, it will catch you. You are leaving gains on the table not allowing your body to recover.

What is a rest day?

That doesn't mean sitting on the couch bingeing Netflix all day; though, should you choose, that's ok too. However, a rest day means take a day away from your normal work-out. Do something else instead: walk, do yoga, take an ice bath, stretch and do some accessory work. Either way, give your body time to recover and maximize those gains!

Questions?!? Comments?? Let me know!

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