“Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.” – Tom Landry
Clients and friends alike often ask me questions about their workout schedule and routine. Once they commit to working out, they want to establish a weekly routine that will be sustainable but will still be challenging enough to continue to change their bodies. But how many times a week should I go to Yoga Sculpt? I think I want to try Pilates; how often should I do it? How many days of cardio do I need to do a week?
Before I even answer that question, I always remind my clients that being fit, looking good, and feeling good is a combination of diet and exercise. You have to Eat Clean in combination with working-out. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have a “food cheat” here or there, or an occasional drink or glass of wine, but diet is just as important as exercise. One without the other just won’t get you the results that you want!
Everyone’s body responds differently to certain diets and foods, and fitness is the same way. There isn’t a “one size fits all” routine that will cause every client to feel great and reap amazing benefits. Everyone’s weekly workout schedule does depend on what he or she is used to doing, how much time he or she is willing to commit to their fitness regimen, and what goals he or she has.
However, there are some general guidelines I give to most clients who are looking to get in shape or stay in shape and stay toned and strong. These general rules help clients to avoid plateaus as well as avoid over-training.
Aim to strength train 3-4 days a week.
I recommend that my clients strength train 3-4 days a week. This may mean lifting weights, taking a Yoga Sculpt class, or even doing SPX Pilates on the megaformer (resistance training). Results will be pretty limited if you are picking up weights or using resistance (bands etc.) just one or two days a week, and if you are weight training every day you might be doing your body more harm than good. This is because when you lift weights or use any sort of resistance you are making tears in your muscles so they do need a day to recover.
I witnessed the harm over-training can do first-hand when it comes to weight or resistance training. When training to teach SPX Pilates on the megaformer I was taking class every day at one point, and I found I actually achieved better physical results in my body doing a few less days of resistance training a week and giving my body that time to recover. That way when I did take class the next time, I really could go hard instead of feeling fatigued and just moving through the motions.
If you absolutely love lifting weights nearly every day, you can work upper body one day and lower body the next. That way each muscle group is still having a day to recover in between. I am not as big of a fan of this way of training however, since many of the exercises I do with my clients are compound exercises and work both upper and lower body anyway!
Cardio or stretching (like yoga) can be done every day or the days in between strength training.
If you are choosing to strength train 3-4 days a week, the days in between are a great opportunity to take a heated yoga class or enjoy a cardio workout like a hike, run, or a spin class. Cardio can be done every day if you like, but keep in mind that strength training provides so many physical benefits for your body that cardio alone just won’t cut it!
A rest day can be extremely beneficial.
For those who are strongly committed to their workout regimen, taking a rest day can be difficult! Once you get in the routine of working out every morning, for example, it can be hard to stay in bed that seventh morning. Working out makes you feel so good!
But sometimes a day of rest is exactly what your body needs to completely reap the benefits of all of your training throughout the week. If you strive to take a day off, choose to take care of your body in a different way that day such as treating yourself to a healing massage or chiropractic treatment. This can be beneficial for your body so that you can continue to work hard to achieve all your fitness goals.
Put it on your calendar.
In my experience, very little gets done in our busy lives unless it goes onto the calendar. Your workouts should be treated like any other important task or activity. It needs to get scheduled and you need to execute on that plan. This is where a personal trainer or group exercise classes can help with accountability, in addition to what activities to include and implement in your training regime.
What weekly workout schedule has worked best for you? If you have questions about your training regime, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.