As for most topics related to our bodies, the answer is always "do whats right for your own body", but considering most people don't know what's right for themselves and also don't listen to their bodies well enough to receive feedback, we'll give some hard and fast rules here as tried and tested at Results Room. Firstly, lets decide what 'workout' means. Your training session (or workout) should consist of at least 30 minutes of exercise in which you're in a sweaty state. This is referred to as a sweaty session. If you spend 60 mins in that state, bang! You just did 2 sweaty sessions. That doesn't count the time chatting at the water fountain, standing in the queue for the treadmill or having a sauna afterwards. It's the time spent actually doing the sweaty exercise.
But hang on you say, I don't like to sweat. I don't even really like it when someone else sweats near me. Well if you don't like to sweat, then you don't like results. Simple as that.
If it helps call it perspiring, glowing, or pore cleansing. Either way you should have your "what the?" face on while doing it.
What's an example of a sweaty session?
For the ideal week you want to be hitting at least 4 sweaty sessions. These will ideally take place over different days giving you 4 great workouts over the week. Depending on your training experience and fitness level you may aim for more than this. Remember 4 is the minimum.
If you are an experienced exerciser looking for the best results you can get you might be comfortable doing 2 sweaty sessions per day (an hours worth) for 5 days of the week which would give you a total of 10 sweaty sessions.
The most productive sweaty session for you to do to get maximum results is one based around a circuit of lifting weights and moving your body at a high intensity. We refer to this as movement-based training. It's the opposite of sitting still at your desk all day, and is what the human body was designed to do.
The movements involved should be compound (meaning they work across multiple joints in your body at once), and balanced. If you push, then you should pull. If you twist one way, then twist the other too. If you crunch forward, you should also extend back. Creating a balanced programme is where a professional personal trainer will get you the best return on your time spent training. Use one!
Other great ideas for getting sweaty:
- Running using quick foot ladders or stairs
- Cycling hills
- Gymnastics/Power yoga
- Boxing bag/pad work
- Calisthenics (body weight exercises)
- Competitive sport
What should you be doing on your other 3 days?
Chilling? Because you've worked really hard, and now you can rest easy knowing that 2 sweaty hours of activity has entered your life that week? No. 2 hours out of 168 hrs in the week isn't great (that's under 3.5% of your total week for those data crunchers out there).
You don't want to undo all your good work by lying around the house or sitting at your desk like a sloth. You want to capitalise on your sweat and maximise your results by keeping active, even on non-workout days. we call these active rest days and will talk about them in more detail in another post.