As a fitness and health coach, one of the questions I am always asked is “how long should I workout?” I don’t have an easy answer because in reality, it truly does not matter how long your exercise routine is. When it comes to exercising, what is important is quality, not quantity, and that depends on your individual body and lifestyle.
People workout at different paces, with different types of workouts and goals. The best advice I can give is to make sure your workout plan is tailored to your specific needs and that you are working up a sweat and pushing yourself, without overdoing it. I always say sweat your butt off, push yourself further than you feel comfortable, and just keep going!
It helps to plan ahead based on your schedule and the type of workout you want.
If you are the person who likes to meet friends at the gym, catch up on the latest gossip, and answer emails while you’re on the elliptical, you definitely need to plan on spending a longer time at the gym than someone who likes to get in, work hardcore, and get out.
But even if you have an incredibly busy day and can only fit in 10 minutes of exercise, make it the best and hardest workout you can. Your body will still benefit much more than if you had spent that 10 minutes complaining that you didn’t have time to fit in your 45 minute exercise regime. If you have the day off and want to go spend an hour and a half at the gym doing a little bit of everything, that’s fine too.
My 5 workout guidelines
Some people just REALLY want a number. And while I still believe the best workouts are individualized, here are my general guidelines that can help you structure your workouts.
1. Aerobic Activity: Do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity exercise (30 minutes 5x/wk) OR at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week (25 minutes 3x/wk)
2. Strength Training: Do strength training exercises AT LEAST two to three times a week. Try to hit each major muscle group twice a week, but don’t forget to give yourself a rest day each week to recover.
3. If your goal is to lose weight, up the cardio to 300 minutes of moderate or vigorous activity per week.
4. If your goal is to tone up, leave the aerobic activity at the basic guidelines but increase the strength training.
5. Just try not to do the same workout all the time and make sure to let your body rest in order to recover and prevent fatigue. Add variety and find what is best for YOU.
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Need an easy way to start working out? Try these Pilates DVDs to begin your journey and follow Nikki’s guidelines!
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