Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Quantity Versus Quality

It's a common misperception that you should "work out hard" every time you hit the gym or suit up for your favorite athletic activity. The actual truth is that exercise frequency is more important than intensity or volume when it comes to getting in shape and creating good health.

Studies confirm that shorter, more frequent workout sessions have more powerful and lasting results than longer, once- or twice-a-week workouts.

Exercising even just ten minutes a day beats an hour only once a week.

The most strategic way to capitalize on this proven theory is a training style called periodization: on a weekly basis, vary your workouts between hypertrophy work, endurance work and strength work.

For instance, during a training week, this would be an ideal routine:

  1. MONDAY: a pure weightlifting session
  2. WEDNESDAY: an interval session with lower volume weight training
  3. FRIDAY: a variable pace endurance workout outdoors (get the added health bonus of fresh air!) or on a cardio machine with lower volume weight training

On TUESDAY and THURSDAY, take active recovery days consisting of moderate to easy cardio.

Be sure to schedule two days in a row each week with very light or no exercise to allow your body to thoroughly regenerate.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lark, great article -- and it reminded me of a question I've had for a long time, about resting. You said that it's important to schedule two days in a row to let your body regenerate.

    I don't always have time to do a full workout at the gym. So sometimes I do just legs, or just upper body, or just core. Do I have to allow 2 days in a row for my whole body to rest, or is it enough to allow 2 days in a row for my legs to rest, and maybe 2 different days in a row for my upper body to rest, while I work out other body parts?

    Thanks in advance!