Trainers say to only do the same workout *this* many days in a row


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Photo: Getty Images/ Thomas Barwick

Trainers are constantly telling us that in order to see results from fitness—whether that’s getting stronger or just getting better at the workout we’re doing—consistency is key. As in three-times-a-week consistent for the best results. Because of this, the fitness team here at Well+Good is currently in the heat of what we’re calling a “triple sweat” challenge. Three editors (Ali Finney, Rachel Lapidos, and yours truly) are doing the same workout (SLT—*gulp*) three days a week for the next three months.

As we began to map out our workouts based on this three-times-a-week principle, we all had the same question: Is it okay to do the same (very intense) workouts three days in a row, or should we be splitting them up throughout the week? “If you are committed to doing a particular workout three times a week, it’s ideal to split it up with a day of complimentary workouts in between, or rest,” says Ackeem Emmons, master trainer at Aaptiv. “Consistency is key with any endeavor. In regards to physical training, it is important to allow your body to rest, and feel rejuvenated before breaking it down again.”

And there are a few other reasons why you should be staggering the way you do things. “It’s better to split up your workouts rather than doing the same thing day after day, because it’ll keep your body guessing,” says Alonzo Wilson, founder and director of training at Tone House. “You’ll work harder and burn more calories.” Plus, he says, rest days are important for operating at peak performance.

But keep in mind: “Rest” days don’t necessarily mean doing nothing. “Depending on your goal, program, or style of training there is tons of complimentary training you can do,” says Emmons. In the case of SLT, which is a pliability workout, trainers suggest supplementing your classes with cardio sessions on your days “off” to ensure your body is getting the well-rounded dose of activity it needs. When you first start out in this type of routine, you should be sure to give your muscles ample opportunity to recover. “As time progresses, and your body gets used to the stress, or load, then I would recommend more days of training or increasing the intensity,” says Emmons.

With HIIT workouts, this type of scheduling is even more important, because it allows your body to fully recover in between sessions so that you can hit the mat even harder when you do head back to the gym. “When creating a thorough program each day should have its own set goal, such as recovery, endurance, or high intensity,” says Rich Velazquez, the COO at Mile High Run Club. “With that said, it best serves the body—and desired result—to have anywhere from 24 to 48 hours in between each HIIT workout. This will ensure the body has ample recovery after each HIIT workout and will be able to perform during the session.”

The bottom line? “There are so many ways to stay active, without overtraining. Remember to train smart, then hard,” says Emmons. Duly noted. Now, we need to go make our schedules for next week.

On your true off days, try one of these 6 yoga moves for speedy recovery. And if you’re a pilates person (like I, apparently, am now) you should give Selena Gomez’s favorite infrared version a try. 

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