Should I work out every day?

This is a question I hear often, especially from people who are trying to lose weight. If working out three times per week is good, then working out every day must be even better, right?

Well no. Not really.

Are you relieved? Disappointed?

When you engage in strength training and focused cardiovascular exercise, you are breaking down muscle fibers. It sounds bad, but it’s actually good. You are causing microscopic tears to your muscles, which your body then repairs by laying down additional muscle fibers. This results in more muscle tissue and, thus, a stronger muscle.

Here’s the thing though. If you are working out every day and breaking down muscle every day, you aren’t giving your body a chance to do those crucial repairs. And it needs repair time. Ultimately you don’t get the full benefit of your workouts and you may not feel particularly energized.

The best idea is to plan one or two active recovery days each week. Both of those words are important, by the way. By “active” I mean engaging in activities that don’t stress your muscles too much, like a walk or some gentle stretching. Spending those days doing nothing, isn’t the idea. Move your body some on those days, but keep it easy.

What I try to do is to spread my recovery days out fairly evenly, usually one halfway through the week and the other at the end. Lately I’ve only been taking one recovery day, but I just started a new and challenging strength training routine, so I will probably bump it up to two. Here’s what my schedule looks like for next week:

Monday: Cardio (intervals)

Tuesday: Strength Training (total body focus)

Wednesday: Cardio (intervals)

Thursday: Active Recovery (stretching dvd)

Friday: Strength Training (lower body focus)

Saturday: Cardio (intervals)

Sunday: Active Recovery (walk at the lake)

If you have questions about exercise or if you’re wondering whether something you heard is a myth or actually true, Nikki and I are here for ya. We’d love to make this blog a source of the health information that is most valuable to you. So, feel free to submit your questions in the Comments section below or you can click through to our website to send us an email if you’d rather not share your question with everyone.

Thanks for reading!