No matter what your fitness goal is — whether you want to gain muscle or shed fat — having a consistent workout routine (like this one!) and eating healthy is the only way you’ll see results. But, what about those people you know who hit the gym on the regular? And, we mean daily. One expert believes exercising every single day isn’t a good idea.
Is It Bad to Work Out Every Day?
NASM-certified personal trainer Guychard Codio, cofounder of New York City Personal Training, told POPSUGAR that, put simply, our bodies need rest in order to heal. “When you work out, your muscles are basically tearing, and they need time to build and become stronger,” Guychard explained. It’s the same concept as injuring yourself, he said. (Note: that’s why you feel so sore after a hard workout — you’re experiencing delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS.) So, working out every day doesn’t give your muscles enough time to repair.
According to Guychard, workouts are better after a rest day, meaning you can get more out of them. “If you’re working out every single day and your body’s not resting, you’re not giving that 100 percent because your body hasn’t fully healed for you to give 100 percent,” he explained. He compared not taking rest days to tanning after a sunburn. “You can’t just go back out into the sun to get a better tan,” he said. “You have to let your body heal first.”
Guychard even went on to say that resting completely might be better than an active rest day depending on the activities you do. To repair sore muscles, active recovery, like walking and yoga, is encouraged and has been proven to help ease the discomfort associated with DOMS. Sometimes, though, a yoga class can be too intense (think of a flow class and all those Chaturanga push-ups) to be considered recovery. Sleep and rest, he said, are most important for letting your body heal.
Though the number of rest days you implement into your workout schedule also depends on your activity level, Guychard suggests taking two to three rest days per week. You can also break up your workouts by muscle group. For instance, you do a really intense leg routine on Monday. Take five to six days off from that specific muscle group, and do other activities the remainder of the week. Ultimately, breaking up exercise with rest days is a good call after all, and listening to your body is key.