Lately, it seems like new workout programs are popping up left and right, and they always promise the same things: buns of steel, six-pack abs, and toned thighs.
The infomercials on these products usually show these super intense workouts; then, some ripped fitness “expert” says, “If you do this workout six to seven days per week you will look like me!”
Now, would working out in this specific way provide you with results? The answer is yes; but a more important question you should ask is, “Will working out in this way put me at risk for injuries?”
The answer to that question is a resounding, “Yes!” There is no point in getting “ripped” if you end of with an injury that takes you out of the game for two months. Additionally, many of the people ordering these programs and exercise tools have never worked out a day in their lives.
Another negative that comes with working out six or seven days per week is the time commitment. Dedicating this amount of time is tough in general. Add in a husband, wife, significant other, kids, pets, work, and a social life, and your workouts no longer seem sustainable.
We are not saying that your workouts should be easy or that they shouldn’t require some dedication. They should be hard, but you don’t want them to be so hard that you get injured or just simply end up dreading working out.
You should do workouts that leave you feeling energized. If you want to get fit while also spending less time at the gym, here is something important to remember:
When it comes to working out, sometimes, less is actually more.
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Why Less Is More
The most important reason the “less is more” strategy to fitness works so well is because it allows you to become fitter and stronger without wearing your body down. Excessive wear and tear will keep you from being fit for a lifetime.
Now, you might be wondering, “How much is too much and how little is too little?” The answer to this is going to be a little different for everyone but here are a few things that likely apply across the board:
Kill The Cardio
Cardio can really kill your workouts if you do too much of it.
Rather than doing cardio five to seven times per week for an hour at a time, cut back to one to three times per week for about ten to twenty minutes. The cardio many fitness experts recommend is interval training.
Interval training is a safe way for you to train at a high intensity. Working out in this way will allow you to work out for shorter periods of time without sacrificing the results you want.
Interval training is essentially a mix of high-intensity cardio training coupled with bouts of low-intensity training.
Studies have shown interval training is better for burning belly fat, reversing Type 2 diabetes, and improving cardiovascular fitness than a sixty-minute continuous jog.
Our second recommendation is to make sure you are strength training. In our opinion, this is the most important thing you should do consistently.
Specifically, you should be lifting heavier weights for a low number of repetitions (think six to eight reps).
This recommendation is for both men and women. If you are a woman, please don’t worry about bulking up! This simply won’t happen to you.
You should be doing two to four, twenty to thirty-minute strength training sessions per week.
Something else to point out is you can couple your cardio and strength training together. Essentially, this means you can get fitter and stronger with only two-or-three sixty to ninety minute workouts per week.
Remember, when it comes to working out, quality has much more of an impact than quantity.
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Frequently Asked Questions
If I only have three days to exercise, should I do full-body workouts instead of upper/lower splits?
This ultimately depends on your goals, but, generally, a full-body workout three times a week is a great idea! Check out this article for more info.
What are overuse injuries?
Via the Mayo Clinic, an overuse injury is “any type of muscle or joint injury, such as tendinitis or a stress fracture, that’s caused by repetitive trauma.” Overuse injuries are usually caused by errors in training frequency or errors in technique.
When should I see my doctor for an overuse injury?
If your injury does not go away after a few days of rest and the RICE method, you should consult your doctor.
Can you recover from overuse injuries?
In some cases, yes. However, overuse injuries can quickly become chronic if left untreated.
Are you ready to start a new workout regimen but need help with figuring out training frequency so that you can avoid overuse injuries?