How much should you really be exercising?
Avoid the training trap
Some people choose the path of no exercise: I don't think this is the right way. But conversely, some people choose the too much exercise path - and that can be equally problematic. Exercising too much is not healthy at all.
But how much is too much?
To answer this question it all gets back to self-knowledge and the right guidance from a good trainer. Self-knowledge refers to that gut feeling that you are doing too much, but you end up pushing to do more anyway. The thinking here is: 'The more I do, the better the results' and sometimes this is also combined with 'The more weights I do, the stronger and tighter my body will become'. Both of those behaviours may result in injury, lack of motivation in the future or worse - abandonment of fitness altogether.
In terms of guidance, a good trainer should guide you through exercise routines that respect training cycles of recovery (with no exercise), and also cycles of low intensity. One cannot train hard the whole time, it is not sustainable in the long run and the body requires rest and low cycles to adapt to the stress imposed by the high-impact exercise routine you are doing. Believe it or not, the magic happens when you rest, not when you exercise.
So, how often should one train?
In my experience, the figure should be no more than 4 or 5 days a week. Try one or two days with a trainer, a couple of days of very low intensity training and a few days with no exercise at all. I also don't recommend anyone at any level to work out for more than one hour on training days. At most, my clients have homework that lasts just a few minutes. And that's more than enough.
There is a whole trend out there of people doing too much, too hard, thereby making exercise an unpleasant chore. Above all, exercise needs to be fun, relaxed and balanced. I have a motto that my clients always leave their sessions better than when they arrived and I mean it.
So I invite you to check your exercise routine, question your energy levels and determination. If there is no pleasure in it, change it!
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