Posted on May 20, 2022 by Harry Edwards

When it comes to exercise it’s easy to feel lost in a sea of information, all of differing quality and sometimes offering completely opposing advice. Specifically questions about exercise, daily activity and movement can all cause huge amounts of controversy as well as information overload. So today we’re going to have a look at some basic pointers to get you moving in the right direction and the right amounts.

Movement – How much do I need to move at all in order to be healthy?

Let’s begin with the bare minimum, how much do you need to move around in a day so that your health doesn’t decline? A sedentary lifestyle is an increasingly potent cause of health problems for people, with fewer physical jobs and the ease of deliveries and online shopping. As such its important to have a rough idea of the baseline for what you need in order to fulfil your body’s minimum requirements. 30 minutes of moderate activity each day is the absolute minimum required to preserve your basic health. This would cover most casual sports, a brisk walk or hike, a yoga class or other similar intensity activities. For a great introduction to yoga, check out this article by Emily. However this is only enough exercise to ensure your body doesn’t splutter out and die on you, this is by no means enough activity to get you into great shape. If you want to get fitter, lose weight or perform at a higher athletic level, you need to be exercising regularly. But what exactly does that entail?

Activity – How often should I be doing exercise?

This is going to depend on your specific goals. Your body needs enough stimulus from a given activity to prompt a physical adaptation, so if you want to gain muscle, you’re going to need to be doing enough resistance exercise to cause hypertrophy. A typical guideline for hypertrophy is aiming to work each muscle group at least twice a week across 2 to 3 sessions a week. For cardiovascular and aerobic fitness, 3 to 5 sessions lasting between 30 minutes to an hour each in a week is a good average to see improvements in your fitness. As for losing or gaining weight, you will need to balance your calorie intake and your energy expenditure. Trying to do one in isolation without properly managing the other will make achieving your goals an uphill battle. However, doing 2 or 3 sessions a week to begin and then gradually increasing your training volume will put your body under a good amount of stress. This will prompt physical change while also reinforcing the motor patterns you are learning, helping you develop your skills and improve your body composition. Doing this in tandem with a properly tailored nutrition plan, and you’ll see progress in no time! For more nutritional guidance, check out these articles here.

Exercise – How often should I be training hard? How should I split up my training?

So you’re a certified gym bunny now, you’ve started consistently going to the gym and pushing yourself. But you’re starting to come away from sessions sore and absolutely exhausted. How often should you be having those intense sessions and how can you most effectively split up your training to maximise its benefits? As a general guideline, 3 heavy weight lifting sessions a week are generally enough for the average person, with much more than this leading to overtraining. However, if you give each muscle group adequate rest, there is no reason why you couldn’t go heavy more often so long as you mix up the working muscles each day and properly fuel and rest yourself to properly recover. This is where training splits and programmes come into play. Some people swear by splits entirely focused on the different muscle groups, for example;

E.G. Mon – Upper body, Tue – Lower body, Wed – Core, etc.

Other people split their days according to the type of movements/exercises involved;

E.G. Mon – Push, Tue – Pull etc.

Finally, some people use a mixed approach;

E.G. Mon – Upper push, Tue – Lower push, Wed – Upper pull, Thur – Lower pull etc.

Of all of these splits, the most popular is definitely the push/pull/legs variety, as it hits all the major muscle groups and maximises the crossover between movements, increasing the stimulus for hypertrophy. For an example of what workouts using this split could look like, check out this article by Kate. However, finding the workout split that gets the best results for you is going to be highly individual and will require some trial and error. Any single one of these will get you fit and strong but your personal preferences and/or your body’s receptiveness to the stimulus will determine what is right for you. So you’re now fully equipped with the knowledge of how much exercise you should be doing to stay healthy and to work towards your goals. However no journey is ever truly done alone, and here at motive8 we want nothing more than to help you achieve those dreams! Come on down to Marshalls Court and start your fitness journey with us today!