Archive for the tag - frequency

Workout Frequency: How Often is Too Often?

When it comes to workout frequency, more isn't always better.

This morning, I received an email from a blog buddy named Virak who is looking to change his life and release a large amount of excess weight. He’s been going to the gym a lot – and asked me a question that is fairly common: When it comes to exercise, how often is too often?

Like so many things fitness-related, the answer varies from person to person.

Virak is new to his gym routine, and for that reason, I’d advise him to be very modest in his gym commitments. As I’ve said before, getting into shape is much like running a marathon. You wouldn’t start a marathon by sprinting for the first mile. In the same way, diving into a very intense and very time-consuming workout routine almost always results in burnout. I recommend that new exercisers make an initiation commitment of a few days per week for 30 or 45 minutes. Over time, the duration and frequency of exercise can be increased.

So, I’d define “too often” as anything that isn’t sustainable.

We all have busy schedules, and a lot of other commitments besides exercise. Sure, exercise is important – but be realistic with your workout schedule.

The absolute limit for recreational exercise is generally defined as 90 minutes a day (including any warm-ups and stretching), 6 days a week. Longer workouts, thanks to cortisol, often cannibalize results. And, everyone – and everybody – needs at least one day of rest.

Keep in mind, longer workouts aren’t necessarily better workouts. I’ve seen many people spend a lot of time at the gym, but do very little. Most people can get an amazing workout in a short amount of time. It’s really quality and not just quantity.

Moreover, pay attention to muscle soreness. If a muscle is sore from a previous workout, don’t exercise it! Wait until it has fully healed. For this reason, it often makes sense to exercise different muscles on different days. For example, you might be exercising your chest while your legs are sore from a previous workout.

And of course, you can still do other physical activities – like going for walks, playing sports, etc. – in addition to your workout. After you exercise, you don’t need to spend the rest of the day on the coach.

Congratulations, Virak, on your motivation to change your life and your body. We’re all here to support you.

How Often Should You Exercise Your Abs?

Frequency of ab workouts is one of the great fitness debates. There are basically two schools of thought.

One school of thought argues that abs should be exercised everyday. Because our abs are stabilizer muscles, we’re always using them – whether it’s walking down the street, getting out of a car or sitting in a chair. And since our abs are accustomed to this heavy workload, we can train our abs more frequently than we would other muscles.

The other school of thought argues that it’s important to give our abs a day or two to recover. Because ours abs are not fundamentally different than other muscles, we need to let them rebuild and repair – or else we’re limiting our progress and set ourselves up for injury.

I take the middle-ground. I don’t think ab workouts are so much about frequency as intensity. If your ab workout is intense, and if it leaves your muscles feeling sore – then give your abs rest. Never exercise a muscle that is still sore from a previous workout.

Furthermore, for my own workouts, I’ve broken my abs into three parts: obliques (side abs), lower abs, and middle abs/upper abs. One each day, I focus on a different part. If I do my obliques today, I’ll do my lower abs tomorrow – and so on. And if I am sore from a previous ab workout, then I give myself a day of recovery.

How often do you exercise your abs? Let us know in the comments below.

P.S. If you dare, you should try out my 5-minute ab workout!