Less Is More: Why You Don't Need To Workout Every Day
If you want to make actual progress in the gym, then stop going so much! You’re never going to get the body you want by constantly working out or spending all your time at the gym trying your absolute hardest to sculpt your physique.
Now that I have your undivided attention with that opening statement – let’s get real for a moment…
Seriously, stop thinking you need to create a habitual lifestyle centered around working out 7 days a week. I’m an avid gym goer as well with a strong case of body dysmorphia, trust me – I know how hard it can be to compress that ideology especially when you’ve made fitness and health the focal point of your entire lifestyle.
While you think going to the gym 7 days a week is the ultimate way to achieve your fitness goals, it can be quite negative. Contrary to popular belief, you still need rest days for adequate recovery time for many reasons.
This is why we need to break this down more in-depth…
We need to assess why going to the gym non-stop is not as healthy as you may think it is. Especially if you’re just starting on your new fitness journey – it’s a common misconception to believe you need to go to the gym every single day of the week with no off-time and that everyone who works out doesn’t have rest days.
Working Out Every Day – Necessary or Dumb?
Let’s start by clarifying one thing here. Going to the gym 7 days a week isn’t a bad thing – the main emphasis is on what you’re doing at the gym. If you’re weight training on a proper split and breaking up cardio between days, then you’re in good shape.
However, if you’re someone who is not only weight training but also doing cardio every single day, then please chill the heck out and re-evaluate your training regime.
Being highly motivated to achieve your goals is a great thing but do you know what else is great? Being able to achieve those goals by educating yourself on the importance of muscle recovery and why jumping into a 7-day routine won’t expedite the process any faster.
Credit to all the fellow gym rats though, you can’t help but respect the grind of those who make it their mission to achieve optimal health and fitness levels. There’s nothing wrong with having the desire to show up to the gym every single day and train like your life depends on it.
It’s time to finally put this question to bed… Is working out every day necessary? No, it’s not necessary and there’s scientific evidence that shows overtraining and not giving your body a rest day can ultimately lead to more negative effects.
Cons To Training 7 Days Per Week
The most obvious downside to working out every single day is the simple fact that you’re not giving your body any time to properly recover. When you work out, you’re tearing down muscle fibers. To grow your muscles, you need to allow them to recover before you go and break them down again.
Simply put, if your muscle fibers are still torn down and you’re training them again before they’ve had time to repair; you’re not going to make any progress or it’s going to be minimal at best. This also leads to overtraining, which can be deadly if not properly looked into.
You’ve probably heard of the term, “overtraining”. It’s a very real thing that can lead to Rhabdomyolysis (or rhabdo) in which you haven’t allowed for proper recovery and the muscular cells release a protein in the bloodstream. This can have serious consequences on your kidneys and other organs which can also prove to be fatal.
There is such a thing as “going too hard in the gym”, and prioritizing recovery should be a main goal of yours even if you only have a month until you hit the beach and procrastinated to get in shape all winter long.
Training 7 days a week can also be mentally draining as well as you continue to push toward overtraining. Working too hard and not giving yourself a break can lead to chronic fatigue and exhaustion which can hurt your workouts even more. By having a poor workout, you deal with the stress that comes along with that as well as the complete loss of motivation as you continue to have declining workouts.
You also run the risk of potential injury when training non-stop with no breaks. It’s not worth the time spent being out of the gym with an injury because you couldn’t bear to give yourself a little bit of a break.
How Many Days Should You Work Out?
Genetics, work schedule, exercise program, current physique, active goals, and diet – are all contributing factors that lead to how many days you should be working out in a week. Whether you’re someone who is a beginner or has basic experience, you ultimately need to build out a training program.
It’s very important to figure out, first, how many days you believe you can make it to the gym or a fitness center. Life happens – kids’ sports games, after-school activities, etc. There will always be situations where you need to accommodate to your everyday life and there’s nothing wrong with this. It’s about finding a balance and creating some additional time to focus on your fitness goals.
However, you still need to hold yourself accountable for making time, especially if you truly have a desire to get in better shape. Life is always about obstacles being thrown in your direction but if you’re finding the time to get in the gym and finish your workouts in full, you’re just fine.
Creating a training split that focuses on one or two muscle groups per day is a great rule of thumb and usually, you can create a consistent schedule of going to the gym at least 5 days a week to hit each of the muscle groups. If you’re strapped for time or don’t have enough days in the week, you may want to incorporate a push/pull day schedule which can be broken down to around 3 days a week.
These weight training splits allow for each muscle fiber group to be torn down but also recover before the next time you train said muscle group.
If you’re focused on weight loss, you can incorporate your cardio into your post-workout activities, in the morning, or on one of your rest days. Since you’re not training with weights, many individuals opt to do cardio on their rest days so they can maintain consistency in making it to the gym each day. It’s also a great boost for mental health if you have a good and motivational environment around you in the gym.
Once you develop a routine, easier it is to maintain and stay on schedule.
The Take Home
No matter what goals you’ve set for yourself, it’s important to remember your overall health and properly recognize the educational side of training. Working out every day of the week isn’t necessary, and you shouldn’t have to force yourself to go to the gym all 7 days because you think it’s the only way to progress toward your goals.
Focus on proper weight training and cardio schedule. Allow your body the recovery time you need and enjoy your day(s) off from the gym when you truly need them.
Don’t psyche yourself out mentally thinking you’re never going to get the body you want, or you are losing out on days you can spend in the gym making gains. Recovery, recovery, recovery! Rest days are very much needed so use them and don’t neglect them.
Lastly, no amount of training can outwork a bad diet… Make sure you not only have your workout program down but also your diet. Proper nutrition plays a key role in making sure you have great workouts and sustainable energy throughout the day.
In layman’s terms, if you eat crap food then you’re bound to have a poor workout. Don’t ruin your goals by letting poor nutrition control your training and making things a struggle for you daily.