I love exercise programming.
It's probably one of my favorite past-times tbh.
I geek the f*** out on it.
My background is in Kinesiology and have been coaching at home, in gym, all over, for 15 years.
For fat loss, exercise is 20% of the equation.
For building muscle, it's about 60% of the equation.
For overall health, it's 100% nutrition and 100% training.
For all of the above training side of the equation, there is an optimal amount of exercise you'll need.
You see, your body adapts to the stressors you put upon it.
But if you put too much, you'll see zero results or even worse, start back tracking.
And let me clarify, the exercise I'm talking about here is one that you're pushing at a rate of perceived exercise of 7 or more out of 10 for 45-75min.
10/10 = i'm about to pass out and/or puke
1/10 = i'm not doing anything
✅ Exercise boosts your mommy metabolism
✅ Helps optimize your hormones
✅ Regulates blood glucose levels
✅ Promotes insulin sensitivity
✅ Build or maintain lean muscle mass
✅ Increase bone density
✅ A ton more those are just off the top of my head
So if we exercise more, doesn't that mean more of these results above?
There are several reasons for this, and I'm going to take you thru each one.
Law of diminishing returns - there's an optimal amount of exercise your body needs to create an adaptation (increased metabolism, muscle, decreased cortisol, etc). Any less, you won't create the optimal stimulus. Any more, you'll see less and less adaption.
Recovery must be DOUBLE the exercise stimulus - recovery is your body's ability to restore itself and adapt between bouts of exercise. Even if your training and nutrition are perfect, if you're not recovering you WILL NOT see results. If we're working out more than 4x/week, it's just giving our body more things to have to recover from. We call this "junk volume."
Spiked ghrelin and leptin levels - exercise stimulates ghrelin (the hunger hormone). As you exercise more, the more then hormone spikes. Leptin (fat storing hormone) will become low with too little recovery.
Inflammation - Exercise causes inflammation acutely. Too much exercise will illicit a chronic inflammatory response. In an inflammatory environment, your body is focused so much on taking the inflammation down that it will divert energy away from physiological processes responsible for metabolism, hormone optimization, etc.
Cortisol - Just like inflammation, cortisol also spikes during and post workout. Too much exercise will cause chronic cortisol secretion. Why is cortisol important? Cortisol effects fat storage. Charles Poliquin refers body fat around the midsection as "cortisol belly." Most people who store the fat in their midsection also have high cortisol levels.
So what's the optimal amount of times per week to exercise?
What's the second best?
So train between 3-4x/week depending on what's realistic for you.
Every other day will be the most optimal for results.
If your goal is toning, as long as your nutrition is dialed TF in, strength and/or hypertrophy training will be the best.
If you goal is solely fat loss, focus on more metabolic exercise.
As you get more years of experience with your exercise, you'll need to optimize recovery more and more and more to continue to see results.
Take these into account, but make sure your workout routine is:
✅ Something you enjoy
✅ Something you push hard (7/10 rate of perceived exertion or more)