Just Wondering, How Much Exercise Is Too Much?
Nike Master Trainer Kirsty Godso weighs in.
Quick question: what is the right amount of each workout we should all be doing? Not-so-quick follow-up question: is there a foolproof calculation or ratio (and particular types of workout genres—HIIT, weight training, yoga, pilates, running, et cetera) that equate to a healthy and strong body? Short answer: No.
You see, what we’ve come to realize is that there is no cut-and-dried universal formula to get you the same results—partly because of goals, mostly because we all function a little bit differently. And Nike Master Trainer (and Cov-alum) Kirsty Godso is here to tell us exactly why. But don’t worry, she has some easy-to-follow tips so you can craft the best plan for your fitness goals.
# of Times a Week You Should Work Out
“The first thing you need to look at is, what is your training goal? This will have a big influence on the ratios of each type of training you’re doing. Generally speaking, to get the benefit of any type of training, you need to be including it in your weekly routine 2-3x per week. For weight training this is particularly important!”
The Workout You Shouldn’t Overdo
“HIIT training is undeniable in terms of results, however it’s incredibly important to not overdo this type of training. You should do a maximum of three HIIT workouts a week in order to capitalize on the benefits of this training. Too much HIIT training can lead to adverse effects, and you will often start to experience increased fatigue and delayed muscle repair. If you’re doing true HIIT workouts where your heart rate is in an anaerobic zone for approximately 85 percent of the workout, your body can continue to burn calories for anywhere up to 36 hours. This is why it’s important to allow your body appropriate time to recover from these workouts and not continuously train this way back-to-back.”
“Most of us could benefit a lot from adding more mobility work and/or yoga into our weekly routines! You can add simple mobility work into your daily workouts by foam rolling, dynamic stretching, and using a lacrosse ball for as little as 5 minutes. Then, a dedicated regeneration session such as a yoga class once a week is golden.”
Workouts You Should Consider (That You Might Not Have)
“This comes back to your personal goals, but I strongly believe that everyone can benefit from weight training. It really enhances your performance and has great aesthetic benefits, too. HIIT training is incredible in the right doses, however, everyone is different, so it’s good to find out what works for you, what challenges you, and what makes you feel good! And mobility, whilst often underrated, is the key to being able to fully utilize all of the strength, speed, and power training you’re doing, so don’t forget to make time for it. Training ideally should never be a chore. It should be challenging a lot of the time, but still something that you want to make time for.”
Switch It Up (But Commit)
“For both mental and physical reasons, it’s great to have variety in your weekly schedule, but be calculated about it. With the huge variety of boutique fitness offerings out there today, increasingly we see people having sporadic relationships with multiple types of workouts. It’s great to be moving in any way, but be mindful that if you have specific goals, you want to have a more consistent schedule.
“If you’re following a weight-training program, you want to refresh this every 4-6 weeks depending on how frequently you’re doing the workouts. Our bodies start to get familiar and adapt to the training we’re doing, so it’s good to switch up your program to keep your muscles and mind challenged.”
“Whatever time or number of days you’re training, always remember that even if we’re on a plan, it’s important to listen to your body and be honest with what you’re feeling. Sometimes we’ll have to deviate from the scheduled programming to allow for extra recovery, work, and other life events.
“Don’t undervalue the importance of rest days. Giving your body time to recover and adjust to the work you’ve been doing is just as important as doing the work itself. If you struggle to sit still, use your rest day to focus on your mobility or do some low-intensity activity such as walking or casual sport with friends.”