How Often Should You Exercise Every Week? Plus, 20 CRUCIAL Tips for Effective Diet & Exercise

How often should you exercise each week?

How often should you exercise?

This seemed like an important question to tackle this week. Some people don’t exercise enough, which is a common problem. Then again, some people exercise too much.

Where’s the middle ground?

I tend to fly by the seat of my pants. Whatever makes me feel like my healthiest, strongest self is what I do. And I think I do a pretty good job. But there’s always the possibility of pushing yourself too hard OR not hard enough.

So I did a sh*t ton of research for this post; I’m talkin’, like, 10 different articles. Comparing and contrasting facts, see what each of them had in common, and put together the best info based on what I found.

So here’s what I found.

How Often You Should Exercise Depends On Your Goals

How often you should exercise each week depends on your fitness goals and your life schedule.

One thing is certain: never exercise more than 6 times a week. Over-exercising can be almost as harmful as not exercising enough. But we’ll clarify that a little more later.

How often you exercise per day and per week depends on what you’re trying to do. You trying to be healthy, or you trying to lose weight? OR are you trying to build muscle mass? Let’s talk about this.

Heart Health

AHA (American Heart Association) suggests the following:

  • 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days/week,
  • 25 minutes of intense exercise 3 days/week, or
  • A healthy combination of the two

Personally? I go right for the combination. If you’ve kept up with some of my previous blog posts, you know I’m a HUGE fan of Ali Kamenova’s yoga classes. Mostly because her website and YouTube channel are one-stop shops for interval training and restorative yoga classes.

I’ll usually do 5 days a week: 3 days of the intense stuff, then 2 days rest or restorative stuff. If I’m feeling really sore or like I need to stretch, I may throw in one extra day of Yin or Hatha yoga.

Weight Loss

For this, you’ll want to do about 3-4 workouts a week, a combo of cardio and strength training. It all has to do with metabolism and homeostasis.

When you exercise, you’re interrupting your body’s homeostasis, which is what makes you burn calories and fat. If you rest for too long, your body returns to normal. And if you stick with the same diet & exercise routine all the time, your weight loss will plateau.

To effectively lose weight, you have to consistently throw off your homeostasis in a healthy way.

This means sticking with a workout routine that gradually intensifies with time while eating various kinds of healthy foods.

Building Muscle

This is where things have to get a little more specific because overtraining can be really, REALLY bad for you.

You’ll want to do this 4-5 times a week, but NEVER more than 2 days in a row OR with the same muscle groups.

(You know what this means, guys…give those pecs a break and STOP SKIPPING LEG DAY.)

Set your goals, THEN set your schedule

So it really does boil down to what you want to achieve with your fitness routine. Once you’re clear on that, you can move on to actually scheduling your gym visits.

20 Crucial Tips for Effective Diet & Exercise

20 fitness tips to help you build an effective diet & exercise routine

What matters more than frequency? Efficacy.

What’s the point of quantity if there ain’t no quality? Why would you do anything over and over again if you’re not sure it’s getting you any results?

Well, I went ahead and did some research for this, too. It’ll be one of my longer lists because frankly, I think there are a lot of misconceptions about fitness and working out. And I’ve taken it on to do my part to cut through the crap and present the meat & potatoes…

…figuratively speaking, of course. I don’t eat meat with my potatoes. But you get what I’m trying to say.

So here are the 20 things you should keep in mind when trying to plan an effective fitness routine.

1. Start Small

Do not be up in that gym on the first day thinkin’ you’re gonna bench press like Arnold Schwarzenegger…it ain’t gonna go down like that.

When starting out, it’s better to introduce yourself to the world of fitness lightly. Test the waters with like 10 minutes a day, then increase to 20-30 minutes, like the AHA suggests.Be Consistent

Consistency is KEY. Which is why it’s so important to start small and work your way up. The higher you jump, the harder you’ll fall. And once you fall, it’s hard to get back on that wagon.

So start small and stick with it.

2. Be Consistent

Consistency is KEY. Which is why it’s so important to start small and work your way up. The higher you jump, the harder you’ll fall. And once you fall, it’s hard to get back on that wagon.

So start small and stick with it.

3. Take Rest Days

Especially when you start really pushing yourself, you need to take a day off. At least one day a week where you don’t do ANY type of workout.

From there, it depends on the level of your workout. If you’re doing more moderate forms of exercise, you can have fewer rest days (always taking that 1 minimum). But if your workouts are more intense, you’ll wanna take more breaks.

4. Be Active Between Workouts

Nothing serious. Household chores count. Light yoga or walking counts. You don’t even have to sweat; just don’t be sedentary the whole day.

Moving more makes you want to move more. So staying active in between workouts makes it easier to get up and work out the next day.

5. Get A Workout Buddy or Accountability Partner

Let someone know about your fitness goals besides you. That way, you’ll have someone to help motivate you beside yourself.

It helps on those days when everything in you is saying, “oh, HELL no”, to the treadmill and the weight stack.

And maybe you can convince them to come work out with you sometimes. You can spot each other on the bench, challenge each other on the elliptical…it’ll make things OODLES more fun.

Which reminds me…

6. Make Sure You Actually LIKE Your Workout Routine

Look, I’m not saying don’t push yourself. In fact, push yourself often. But if your routine bores you to the point that you check out in your head each time you do it, YOU WILL QUIT.

So make sure that whatever your plan is, it’s not something you dread doing every day because then it’s like a slave contract you’ve made between yourself and your running shoes.

Don’t do that to yourself.

7. Keep A Chart for Goals & Achievements

Write down your goals, then record when you achieve them. It’ll serve as the perfect reminder for where you were and how far you’ve come.

When you track your progress, you want to keep progressing.

8. Carbs Are Your FRIEND

Food is FUEL. Always think of it as that first, pleasure second.  

And carbs help fuel your workouts. Not chips and bread, obviously. Healthy carbs, like fruits and whole grains, combined with a good helping of protein, are ideal.

So don’t cut carbs…just eat the right ones. And plenty of them.

9. Dress the Part

My dad used to give me so much sh*t about going to the gym in dingy sweatpants and a nasty t-shirt.

At the time, of course, it got on my last nerve. But now I get what he was talking about. Even when you’re gonna be a sweaty mess, you still wanna “dress for success”.

I mean, part of the reason why I work out is to feel good about myself…to feel strong, healthy, and confident in my body. So I should dress the way I wanna feel.

Now, I always wear leggings or shorts, a sports bra, and a camisole to workout in (depending on the season, of course). If I’m jogging or walking, I’ll wear a pair of ankle socks with my running shoes. This is what makes me feel sexy, lean, and fit while still being comfortable.

10. Become a “Morning” Person

Ugh, I KNOW…I hate it, too. But if you can knock it out in the morning, you’ll get it out of the way and you’re less likely to skip it.

Plus, when you wake up in the morning, your body is fresh and ready to go (provided you got enough sleep the night before). So you’ll have plenty of energy to give that workout.

Now, am I saying that you need to get up at the crack of butt if your day doesn’t usually start until 10 or 11? Hell naw.

But I AM saying that you should figure out how long you wanna workout + how long it’ll take you to shower and get ready for the day, then set aside that time.

11. Don’t Skip More Than 2 Days

When you work out, you put your body through high levels of stress to throw off homeostasis (your body’s natural equilibrium). It’s during this time that your body changes, fitness-wise: you lose weight, you build muscle, build endurance, etc. You always wanna rest to allow your body to do it, BUT never for more than 2 days in a row.

When you rest, you allow your body a break from the stress. But too much of a break brings your body back down to where it was before. And you know what happens when you go a full 2 weeks without working out? You lose EVERYTHING.

Stick with your workout.

12. There is NO Such Thing As “Spot-Reducing”

Sitting and doing a bunch of crunches and nothing else ain’t gonna do nothing for you. The best workout is a full-body one.

So over the course of a week, do a little of everything.

13. Make Sure Your Diet & Your Routine Are A Happy Couple

They are married, till death do you part. As in, these two are married until YOU croak.

You can’t have one without the other. They’re like  2 peas in a pod.

14. It’s A Lifestyle, Not A Quick Fix

Whatever you do to get fit, it needs to be something that you continue & build on ALL THE TIME.

There is no miracle diet, no magical workout that’s gonna get you down to a size 4 and keep you there without continuity. If it’s not something you can sustain for the rest of your life, do yourself a favor and don’t even pick it up.

Strive for healthy, not perfection.

15. Stop Telling Yourself What You “Can’t” Eat

Even junk food is fine in moderation. Don’t tell yourself, “nah, I don’t eat that stuff”. Because you’re setting yourself up for a battle…one that you will lose.

You’ll cave and eat even more than you would have if you’d just told yourself, “you know, maybe just 1 or 2”.

A cheat day is a great way to rev up your metabolism. And you’re more likely to stick with a healthy diet for the rest of the week IF you know you can have that cookie eventually.

So let yourself “cheat”. Have a cookie.

16. Figure Out What “Healthy” Is For YOU

I don’t mean to be cliche about this, but you are the only you there will ever be. Which means you are never gonna be like someone else.

It’s good to have aspirations, but do NOT compare yourself to anyone else or your past self. Look to the present and future and figure out what makes you feel the best in your body right here and now.

You may never have a body like Marilyn Monroe or Michelle Obama…but that’s ok. You have YOUR version of healthy; find that and learn how to love it.


Reference # 14. If you couldn’t do it for the rest of your life or it makes your doctor wince, it’s probably not a good idea.

That may sound kind of hypocritical since I’m vegan and it’s a growing trend. BUT there are PLENTY of articles that support the health benefits of going vegan, it HAS worked for a lot of people, and I’m not having a hard time maintaining it. So I stick with it.

Seek out diets (or rather lifestyles) that have sufficient evidence backing them. Then try those and see what works for you. Don’t do anything extreme.

18. Reward Yourself for Goals You Reach

CELEBRATE your accomplishments. You deserve it. And it’ll encourage you to accomplish more.

19. Weight Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number

I don’t f*cks wit the scale; we ain’t friends. Why? Because I’d obsess about the number rather than how I feel in my own body.

The way I see it, let your doctor weigh you and tell you if you have cause for alarm. And if you’re already concerned, visit your doctor and ask them about it. But don’t obsess over the number on the scale; that can lead to all kinds of unwanted habits.

Dats jus me, doe.

20. Challenge Yourself

Ok, so after being nice to yourself and not overdoing it, make sure you’re still pushing yourself.

When you think you can’t do any more reps, that’s when you should do one more. Then try for another.

That moment when you think you can’t run any further? Sprint the last few feet. That’s how you’re gonna make progress.

And once you’ve done that, pat yourself on the back, because you did it!

Takeaway? Push Yourself, But Don’t Overdo It

If there’s anything I want you to take away from this post, it’s that it’s all about balance and moderation. Go for the challenge, but don’t do too much.

Your fitness routine & diet should fit well with your life and your needs. But you always wanna make sure that you’re fitting your life around your health, too.

After all, your health is your wealth. If you ain’t got that, what do you have?

If you liked this post, please comment, share, and follow me on social media!

Sources I used:—Tips-for-Long-term-Exercise-Success_UCM_307979_Article.jsp#.WqHuwejwaUk

Written by Ada


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