When people want to start working out, one of the most common questions people ask themselves is how often they should work out. There is no clear-cut answer to this question for many reasons. The reasons include people are different, have different fitness goals, workout routines, different amounts of time to work out, and so on. With that said, is working out 6 days a week too much?
Working out has so many benefits. Exercising helps with weight loss. It also helps in building strength and muscles. Working out helps reduce the risk of various cardiovascular conditions like heart attacks. Exercising helps improve overall mood as it releases the feel-good hormones. It also helps improve the quality of life. Even though working out comes with numerous benefits, as highlighted above, working out too hard and too much might cause more harm than gain. Just like everything else in this world, moderation is the key. You don’t want to do too little that you don’t get any results from training, and you also don’t want to do too much that you end up causing harm to yourself.
Is Working Out 6 Days A Week Overtraining?
Overtraining is when a person trains or exercises too much without leaving enough time for rest or recovery. Overtraining is likely to cause soreness and pain on various joints and muscles, and this is a good way to know if you are overtraining. Here are signs that you should look out for to know if you are overtraining:
You Are Too Sore
Most of the time, being sore after a training session is usually considered to be a good thing. It means that you are really getting the most out of your exercises, but this is not all the time. Being just a bit sore is okay, and the feeling should go away in one to two days. If two days pass, and you are still sore, that is a sign that you are going at it too hard (1). This is to say the duration of the soreness should be an indication.
Another indicator in terms of soreness is its intensity. There is the normal soreness you get after a workout where you can still walk, work and do other everyday activities. The problem comes in if you are too sore that you cannot even sit down, walk properly, feel pain even with slight movements, and so on (1). This is your body’s way of saying you are doing too much. When you are training, it is always advisable to listen to your body as it knows best.
That’s not all in terms of being sore. If you feel sore on only one side of your body, one muscle group, one body organ that is also proof that you overworked the particular part of your body. If you overwork a particular part of your body you are likely to injure yourself because of all the strain, pressure, and tension you are applying to that area (1).
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You Are Working Out Too Much
Yes, another way to know you are overtraining is from the fact you are working out too much. Most people plan their exercise routine around their schedules, and this makes sense. A way of knowing you are overtraining is the fact that you see training as a priority over other things. We are not saying that working out should not be among your priorities, but it should not be more important than things like family, work, friends, your mental health, and all that is important. If you find yourself organizing your schedule around your workout program and not the other way around, then there is a need to be concerned (4).
People who are always concerned about working out and always want to work out are referred to as exercise addicts (4). While most people struggle to even get in 30 minutes’ worth of exercise, some people can sleep in the gym. To them, it does not matter if it is raining cats and dogs, if their bodies are as sore as possible, whether there is an important life event like a funeral or marriage, they just want to work out. Being this obsessed with working out is likely to cause a lot of harm. It is likely to cause injuries, exhaustion, depression, and even suicide (4).
Exercise addiction is more mental than physical (4). You can easily tell this as the goal of exercise addicts is not physical, like losing weight or being fit, but it comes from the need to have control in their lives (4). Another common trait of exercise addicts is the fact that they are high achievers, hence they feel that they need to always do more than other people are. If any of the mentioned attributes describe you, then you should know you are overtraining. A good way to stop being an exercise addict is to socialize more; spend more time with family and friends (4).
Your Menstruation Is Irregular
Another sign that you are overdoing it is irregularities in your menstrual cycle (3). This goes without saying, but it only applies to women. Although other things might affect a woman’s cycle, overtraining is one of them. Irregular cycles and even missing your periods for up to three months without being pregnant is a sign that you are overtraining. If you experience this, it is advisable to visit a certified health practitioner as soon as possible.
Changes In Your Moods
Exercising is known to improve a person’s mood. People who are stressed are usually advised to work out as working out produces feel-good hormones and this works to make their mood better. Exercising too much can have a negative impact on your moods. This is where you find yourself anxious about things like not being able to make it to the gym despite there being unavoidable situations and so on (3).
Increase In Appetite
The more you work out, the more your appetite increases (3). Working out requires energy, and people get energy from food. When you work out, you use the energy in your body, and hence you have to replenish your energy by eating more. A sudden surge in your appetite could be a sign that you are working out too much.
How Many Days In A Week Should You Workout?
As highlighted earlier, there is no blanket answer to this question. Many factors go into this, and it all depends on an individual. The 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends 150 minutes of moderately-intense aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intense aerobic activity each week (5). It also recommends at least 2 days of strength training per week. Looking at the 150 minutes per week, you can divide those minutes so that you can be effective at the gym and at the same time get time to rest. It should be noted that a person can do more than 150 minutes per week. The 150 minutes a week are enough if you just want to be averagely fit and lose weight. If you have bigger fitness goals like competing in a marathon, you’ll have to do more (5).
Just because you have greater fitness goals, it does not mean you should work out every day as we have seen that may cause more harm than benefit. Most people dismiss rest, but rest and recovery are quite important to an exercise routine. Training 6 days a week takes away rest time. Most people think that rest will result in a decline in their fitness level and that it will slow down what they are trying to achieve – this is actually a lie. With that said, here are the reasons why rest is important to a workout routine.
Is Working Out 6 Days A Week Too Much: Importance Of Rest In A Workout Program
Here’s why you should incorporate rest into your workout plan:
Muscles Grow When You Rest
Constantly being in the gym lifting those heavy weights won’t be effective without giving your body rest time. When you lift weights, there are tiny tears in your muscle fibers. This is the reason a person is usually sore after working out. The soreness normally lasts a day or two. Those muscle fibers can only repair when you are resting (2). The process of repairing those muscle fibers is what makes you stronger than before. Without letting your body rest, the muscle fibers are not able to repair and hence your muscles are not able to grow.
It is important to know that this does not only happen in strength training, as resting the muscles is also important even if you only do cardiovascular exercises. An exercise like running will break down various fibers in the leg muscles, and rest will help increase your muscle endurance and strength.
Answering the question as to how long a person should rest, you should rest until you are not sore anymore. This may take one to two days, but it all depends on the intensity of your training. The harder you go at it, the more rest you require. The harder you train, the more rest you will need.
You can also rest while still being active, and this is an approach most people use. To do that, you just don’t work out the muscles that you did the previous day. The way to go about this is to switch up your exercises and the body parts they target. For example, if you worked your upper body on Monday, you can work your lower body on Tuesday. This gives time for your upper body muscles to recover while still being active. In terms of exercises, you can choose to do a high-intensity workout on one day and choose to go for light exercises that you actually enjoy the next, so that it feels like you are having fun and not working out. A good example of this is going swimming.
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Rest Prevents Injury
When you over-exercise, you increase the risk of getting injured. This applies to all sorts of exercises from cardio workouts to strength training exercises. Resting prevents overuse of muscles and joints (2). If you work out every day, you are constantly exerting pressure and stress on certain body parts, muscles, and joints. Not resting means you will continue exerting pressure on those organs to the point where they cannot take it anymore, and this will cause injuries. When you are injured, you can’t work out anymore until you heal and this affects all the progress you had already made. When injured, you end up taking more time off than you would have if you had only rested. Injuries are your body’s way of forcing you to rest.
Increases Your Performance In The Gym
Most people usually don’t want to rest as they think resting will make their progress or gym performance decline and this is not true. It takes about two weeks of being inactive for a person to notice a decline in their progress (2). This means taking that one day off or two days will not affect what you have been doing. In any case, resting gives you time to re-energize and strategize so that you can be a beast when you come back to the gym (2). Resting also prevents you from getting burnout, and this is the last thing you need (2).
Rest Promotes Quality Sleep
Overtraining can have a serious impact on your sleep patterns. You may find yourself experiencing insomnia or other unhealthy sleep conditions. This is from the fact that overtraining keeps you in a constant state of restlessness (2). You are always on high alert, and this even increases your heart’s resting rate. Resting helps decrease the constant alertness and takes your heart rate to normal levels, which makes it possible for you to enjoy a good night’s rest.
This proves that resting is just as important as training in a workout program. Just like there is no exact answer for how many days you should work out in a week, there is also no exact answer for how many days you should rest in a week. It comes down to the type of exercises you are doing, the intensity of your exercises, how your body feels, and what health experts tell you to do.
The Bottom Line
Is working out 6 days a week too much? If you are working out these many days without taking enough rest then it is too much. If working out this much affects your normal life, things like your job, spending time with your family, being able to concentrate on other things then it is too much. As we said earlier, the key is moderation and hence you need to find that balance where you are still working out and resting enough.
If you still think working out 6 days in a week is the way to go for you then you should try to make it safe for yourself. A good way of doing that is by having short workouts, this means you don’t overstrain your body and hence you have enough left in the tank to exercise from Monday to Saturday. You can also keep changing the body parts you target so that you don’t train a particular body part too much that you injure it. You can also take up exercise activities that are fun and feel like rest. Swimming is a good example of this. You can also take up dancing or playing a fun sport.
If you are still contemplating whether working out for 6 days in a week is too much, you may need to visit a health practitioner as they are the best people to give you the best advice concerning this predicament and they can also help you design a workout program that is healthy and one that works for you. After everything is said and done, you should always listen to your body because your body has the final say. Your body being sore is your body telling you that it needs rest. Getting injured is your body’s way of saying it can’t take it anymore.
Is working out 6 days a week too much? If you are working out these many days without taking enough rest, then it is too much. If working out this much affects your normal life, things like your job, spending time with your family, and concentrating on other things, then it is too much. As we said earlier, the key is moderation, and hence you need to find that balance where you are still working out and resting enough.
If you still think working out 6 days a week is the way to go for you, then you should try to make it safe for yourself. A good way of doing that is by having short workouts, this means you don’t overstrain your body, and hence you have enough left in the tank to exercise from Monday to Saturday. You can also keep changing the body parts you target so that you don’t train a particular body part too much that you injure it. You can take up exercise activities that are fun and feel like rest as well. Swimming is a good example of this. You can also take up dancing or playing a fun sport.
If you are still contemplating whether working out 6 days a week is too much, you may need to visit a health practitioner as they are the best people to give you the best advice concerning this predicament. They can also help you design a workout program that is healthy and one that works for you. After everything is said and done, you should always listen to your body because your body has the final say. Your body being sore is your body telling you that it needs rest. Getting injured is your body’s way of saying that it can’t take it anymore.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
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