Lately I have been seeing multiple TikTok and Instagram videos of influencers claiming that they workout everyday. First of all, I find that hard to believe. So, should you take a day off from working out?
The answer is a resounding yes. In this article, we are going to discuss why you should take a day off from working out. In fact, I believe that you should take multiple days off from working out every week.
There are certain instances where I think it is ok to workout almost everyday, but you will find that there are caveats. We will discuss this later.
While we are on the subject of schedules, I recommend downloading our app All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play). Our FREE workout plans will ensure that you hit the right muscles and stay on track.
What are your goals?
When you ask yourself, should you take a day off from working out, you first must assess your goals. If your goals are to build muscle, then working out everyday is a terrible idea.
There is such a thing as overtraining. Which is when you exceed your body’s ability to recover quick enough.
So if you are trying to build muscle, it’s not going to happen. This is a mistake that I made early on in my fitness journey. In fact, there were some weeks that I would workout every single day.
It may come as no surprise, but that period of time was when I was my weakest, and I didn’t make any progress. I had no idea that by working out too much, I was essentially reversing the muscle building process.
What about fat loss? Maybe you don’t care about building muscle and you would rather just lose fat. I can totally understand the urge to want to workout everyday in either case.
The problem is that in both scenarios, our mind gets ahead of our bodies. This will ultimately lead to frustration, and this is one of the main reasons that people quit working out. The results are not happening fast enough.
The fitness industry sells us the idea that we can get shredded overnight. But the reality is that it takes a lot of time and effort for your body to change.
We are used to fast results, so we think that by not taking a day off from working out, we are accelerating our progress. That is just our flawed human logic in our current times.
It doesn’t matter what your goals are, overtraining is very real, and it will not do your body any favors.
Choosing the right schedule
We are starting to understand whether you should take a day off from working out or not. But what is the right schedule? What schedule is going to work towards your goals?
Well, we must choose one track. Are we going to lose weight, or are we going to build muscle. A good muscle building program is anywhere from 3-5 days. This depends on your skill level and time commitment.
The majority of the time that I have spent building muscle, I have been on a 3 day per week plan. It was only recently that I decided to switch to a 4 day per week working plan.
So there you have it. If you want to build muscle, especially as a beginner, you need a ton of breaks in between each workout day. This will give your muscles time to grow and recover.
What about if you just want to lose fat? Working out is obviously an essential part of that equation. For this, I highly recommend high intensity interval training. Doing this 4 days per week will ensure that you get the best fat loss possible.
Or, you could even do it every other day. Which would change up your days on back to back weeks. But it would ensure that you always have a rest day in between. If I was trying to burn fat, that is what I would do.
One last thing I will say is that there is a hybrid approach for those that want to maintain their muscle mass but lose fat. It requires 3 days per week of weight training and 3 days per week of HIIT.
Nutrition matters more than you think
It seems like the idea behind working out everyday is the thought that you can outwork your metabolism. Not only is this not going to happen, but it is going to break you mentally. Your body cannot be tricked into submitting to your will.
I want you to be aware of these 2 truths. You cannot build muscle while in a caloric deficit. On the other side of the coin, you cannot lose fat while in a caloric surplus. I wish that I could drill this into the head of everyone who thinks that they can outwork what they eat.
It doesn’t matter how many calories you burn. If you are eating at a caloric surplus and you are trying to lose weight, you are going to have an extraordinarily hard time doing so.
Everything that you do in life to better yourself is going to take conscious effort. You can’t just check off one box and hope that it is good enough.
If you want to build muscle, your body is going to have to be in a constant state of caloric surplus. Meaning that you are going to have to eat more than you think.
What does this all have to do with working out? Your nutrition is going to decide what direction your body is going. Your workouts are going to decide what your body looks like when it gets to its destination.
Don’t fall victim to the “good enough” mentality. If you want it, you can have it. If you are interested in learning more about calories and what to do with them, read my article titled How to Calculate My Maintenance Calories: An Easy Guide.
Main Point: Should you take a day off from working out?
So there you have it. Should you take a day off from working out? Yes, you absolutely should. In fact, depending on your situation, you might want to take off a lot more days than one.
The threat of overtraining is very real. And if you think that it won’t happen to you, just try to workout for a month straight everyday. You will be mentally and physically exhausted, and your body won’t make any progress.
Rest is an essential part of a life altering fitness transformation. And so is patience. Remember to not let your mind get ahead of your body. Too many people expect quick results. This leads to dissatisfaction, which leads many to give up too soon.
Just understand that your journey is going to take months or years, and you will be better off.
If there is one thing that I want you to take away from this article, it is that rest days help your nutrition do it’s magic. The facts that I stated in this article are true about caloric deficits and surpluses.
Your caloric surplus or deficit is going to determine the ultimate outcome of your path. Working out is just something you do to solidify that end goal.
Choosing the right workout plan is essential to hitting your goals. Remember that rest days are good for you. Don’t try to get too far ahead of yourself.