How much do you work out?

May 2, 2012 · 21 comments

Do you consider yourself a gym rat? Do you think you spend too much or not enough time sweating each week? Turns out, the experts can’t even agree on how much we need so how should we determine our own goals.

Here is a sample of my weekly fitness schedule, keep in mind I am training for an 120-mile relay race (18 of which I will be running myself):

  • Monday: 3 mi morning “booty call” and 45 minute Barre Burn class at Equinox (mild strength training)
  • Tuesday: 4 mi easy run
  • Wednesday: Tempo or Interval Run for Reach The Beach, 1 mi warm up, 3-5 miles at 8 min/mile pace, cool down 1 mile
  • Thursday: 3 mi easy run
  • Friday: Barre Burn Class at Equinox or other Strength Training
  • Saturday: Long Run 6-10 miles easy
  • Sunday: REST!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When I’m not training for a running race, Wednesday is dedicated to Strength Training. I typically will take a class at my gym, do a JCORE DVD or one of my own workouts. try to get at least 2-3 days a week of strength or yoga based cross training. I don’t like to run on days back to back either. Since RTB requires me running 6.5 miles, resting for a few hours, 3 mile run, rest a few more hours, and 6.7 miles to finish, I figure it’s good for training. I’m looking forward to less running when the race is over!

According to NASM, one of the most respected training certifications for personal trainers, you should exercise moderately at least 30 minutes 5-7 days a week or at least 150 minutes a week. If you want to improve your fitness levels, you should up that time to 20-60 minutes a day for 3-5 days a week at about 60-90% of your maximum heart rate. Want to workout less? The harder you work, the less time you need to put in. This is why interval based workouts that focus of pushing your limits are amazing.

If you are obese or overweight, you’ll need to log 200-300 minutes a week of moderate exercise to lose and help keep off weight for the long term.

Bottom line: Get in 20-60 minutes 3-5 days a week if you have lost any weight and want to keep it off. However, do not rely on the time you spend in the gym to lose weight.

I use fitness to prevent gaining the weight I’ve lost in the past.

I love my food as you know and if I stopped working out, I would gain weight. As one trainer I used to work for said to me, “You’re eating too much.” However since I love working out, I can treat myself like I do and stay about the same size. If I trained less, I would need to cut back on my calories.

This is also why many people who don’t workout EVER can remain a healthy weight. Their calories in equal their calories burned in a day. I focus on fitness when I want to eat more (vacation), and focus on food when I want to weigh less (getting in shape for photoshoots).

How much do you workout? Do you consider yourself a gym rat or fitness enthusiast.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amber Bailey May 2, 2012 at 11:17 pm

I am alot like you Sarah, I enjoy treating myself a little and know that I can do this without gaining. I really enjoy the time I spend at the gym or out running, its time to myself and relax after work.

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2 LeeAnn B. May 4, 2012 at 1:12 am

Hey Sarah! I am currently training for the NorCal tough mudder and was wondering what exactly I should be doing. I have been working out 5-6 days a week, 2 of those days are dedicated to running at least 4 miles and up to 6miles +, while 2 other days are for strength training and two other days are for a high intensity crossfit type workout to help deal with the obstacles that are in the race is this an okay plan? Or should I be doing something different? A bit lost! I am new to running races!

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3 Meshell May 2, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Hi Sarah I’ve been watching all your videos lately … Their great! Im getting used to jogging and eventually running but the thing I have the problem with the most is my eating I need to find how to control my eating because I’ve gained weight :( thanks for all you do thanks

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4 Sarah May 3, 2012 at 3:59 pm

The eating thing is hard to conquer. Sometimes exercising in the morning makes people more hungry throughout the day, so maybe try later. Also, make sure you are eating enough during the day so you are not starving at night and binge.

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5 Morgan May 3, 2012 at 12:09 am

First, love the blog. I love reading about people and their healthy lifestyle/love for fitness! So thank you for all the great reads and it’d bits! I do have a question. I am in the market for a heart rate monitor that monitors calories burned, is a podometer and stopwatch. What’s good, what’s not??? Any suggestions or information is appreciated!!! Thanks again for such a motivating blog! You make the one point that I feel a lot of fitness people miss or don’t relay to others….it’s all about lifestyle change!

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6 April May 3, 2012 at 1:34 am

I am a fitness enthusiast but also a gym rat.

I work out 5 days a week – Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday and sometimes on a Tuesday.

I used to be a skinny girl, ate too much bad stuff, grew quite large and before the weight completely took control I found my love of fitness and lost 7kgs. I dropped from 52kgs to 45kgs and then up to 47kgs once I began my strength training.

I strength train twice a week, do light weights 3 days a week and cardio whenever I work out.

I love fitness and I love food!

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7 Ala May 3, 2012 at 2:14 am

I think i am both. I love to workout and in a good week you can find me at the gym 6 times per week (strength training and HIIT+cardio) and I do some additional yoga classes. Having said that I feel discouraged recently. I don’t see any effects. I can’t loose any extra pounds and body fat%. Any advices how can i loose body fat% is this only the diet that I am missing here? Maybe switch just to cardio? Thanks in advance. BTW I love your blog and the videos!!! You are awesome

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8 Sarah May 3, 2012 at 4:02 pm

I was at my lightest when I was lifting the most! Do not fall victim to the cardio bunny trap! People who train for marathons often will gain weight because the cardio makes them more hungry – so if you are not keeping track of calories in/calories out it can work the opposite than what you would expect. I would HIGHLY recommend keeping track of your food. You diet is the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT factor when it comes to losing weight. Fitness speeds it up if you eat the right amount, but if you are eating too much, you will stay the same weight. I use fitness to keep weight off.

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9 Ala May 3, 2012 at 5:10 pm

That soo true Sarah. i am always hungry. I eat healthy but way too much in one sit. Thanks for the tips.

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10 LeeAnn B. May 4, 2012 at 1:14 am

So glad I saw this and so glad I am proud of turning down insane amounts of terrible food after doing so much cardio! =]

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11 Nicole May 3, 2012 at 4:39 am

Hi Sarah!
Like you, I love to eat and enjoy working out. I usually exercise 5 or 6 days a week for 60-90 minutes a day. I think I’m a bit of a gym rat, but I also like to switch it up and workout outside of the gym sometimes. I usually hike once a week, do yoga once a week, and do different circuit & interval training workouts at the gym about 4 days a week. For me, variety is key to keeping it fun!

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12 KD May 3, 2012 at 4:49 am

I don’t like working out, I’m definitely the type of person that would rather give up treats and be strict about what I eat than workout. I like to walk, but that’s about it. Occasionally I’ll do a 15 min intense workout, but absolutely no longer.

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13 Jill @ Jill is Active May 3, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Love this. I typically workout 5-6 days a week, depending on how my body feels. I try to go to the gym Mon-Wed to start the week off strong and then workout 2-3 of the next 4 days. I will also get in my booty call in the morning and it’s usually aorund 20-30 minutes and not THAT intense, so I usually don’t consider it a workout. However, I AM getting my HR up and burning calories!

It’s so true that nutrition is SO much more important to losing weight than exercising. Although exercise is definitely in the equation.

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14 Laura May 3, 2012 at 6:18 pm

i’m like you – i enjoy working out. i like being able to physically see my hard work; it’s very gratifying! for me, every week is different (different life schedule, different workout schedule), but i always try to be active 5-6x/week… maybe even 7 if i’m not busy. the main suspects are always yoga, spin, HIIT, weights, and i’m trying to get into a swim routine too (good AM workout?), but i’m in need of a “refresher” lesson before i take the plunge (literally).

i also really appreciate this: “If you want to improve your fitness levels, you should up that time to 20-60 minutes a day for 3-5 days a week at about 60-90% of your maximum heart rate.”

I feel like some girls think that showing up to the gym and being an elliptical zombie will help you lose weight. i mean, maybe you will at first, but not for long! you gotta sweat/work your ass off to lose weight!

thanks!

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15 alice May 3, 2012 at 7:15 pm

hi sarah,

first: i recently started following your blog and videos and i LOVE them. imagine how excited i was to then find out you’re also a boston girl :)

question: in the last two months, i’ve started running. not too much. max 9 miles a week (3 x’s 3mi runs) but usually less. my problem is: it’s been two months and i’m still seeing a lot of soreness in my calves the next day. sometimes so much that I can’t walk properly.

i want to be able to build up my distance and frequency, till i’m running about what you run now, but it seems impossible at this point!

do you remember how long it took your body to build up to running everyday? any tips?

thanks and GL in Reach the Beach!

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16 Helena May 4, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Hi Sarah!

I’m really scared: Soon I will start an office job, where I will spend 8 hours a day seating on a Desk. I have always been in activities where I am standing a lot, and from what I see in my calorie counter… seating so long won’t help. Is there a workout or exercising accessory that I could do or use while I’m on my desk?
I saw many balance balls, stretch bands and stuff to do while you are seating, any idea which one could be good? Or how I can improve my calorie burning while I’m seating? Thanks a lot for your help :)

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17 Holly May 5, 2012 at 5:51 pm

There are seats that are part stability ball part office chair. Just google the Cando Fitness Stability Ball Chair.

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18 Janet May 4, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Sarah, this is SO helpful, seriously. It’s tough to take a pragmatic look at yourself and just realize how much you are or aren’t working out, are or aren’t eating. For me, I work out a lot but I don’t sleep much so I don’t think I push myself hard enough a lot of times when I work out. A lot of times it’s just an accomplishment for me to get to the gym if I pulled an all nighter with work. I’ve heard that lack of sleep can F with your metabolism, and I think that could be what happens to be but more than anything I think it just prevents me from really pushing myself at the gym the way I could. I think it makes me hungrier as well.

Thanks for your honesty and all that you do with the content over here!! Keep it up girl. Also, glad to see you enjoying vacation. You deserve it!!

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19 Holly May 5, 2012 at 5:48 pm

I’m a total gym rat. I try to be in the gym 5-6 days a week for at least an hour, usually 2. I am a cardio bunny, but it works for me. I do a bit of strength training, but excessive weight training shapes my body in a way I don’t like. I’m the rare easy-gaining women.

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20 Eva @ Committed2Nutrition May 8, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Hi Sarah!! Recently have come across your blog. I love it! I used to live in Boston (Southie) but last summer moved back to lower fairfield county CT where I am from :) I do miss Boston, though! Anyway – I am a Zumba instructor, teaching about 4-5 classes a week on average. This is a lot of cardio. Before I taught zumba, I swore by 20-25 min HIIT intervals on the treadmill or ArcTrainer and that was it, and weights were a must, ALONG with a a superb diet. I actually started putting on a few lbs when I initially started teaching Zumba because I don’t think my body was used to all the cardio.. however, I started to eat more carbs after I taught, as in every time after I teach zumba at night, I come home and eat a bowl of Cereal (kashi most often…but sometimes I mix in some corn flakes) with almond milk (unsweetened), blueberries, & almonds…and weight has fallen off. I don’t know if it’s something about replenishing glycogen since I am burning so much? I also think it’s easy to “undereat” when you are doing so much cardio, too, and thus your body retains weight & water. All I know is that eating more carbs has resulted in me losing those initial unwanted pounds and I look leaner and more toned than ever. Just thought I’d share as maybe someone else has a similar experience? Thanks!
-Eva

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21 Alex October 14, 2012 at 5:07 am

Hi sarah! Quick question… If im wanting to slim down at least 30 lbs, not bulk up because im already a bigger boned girl, would you reccomend just strictly cardio all week???

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