How Much Should I Work Out?
“How often should I work out?” “Do I need to be sore to get stronger?” “How many classes until I can do a handstand?” “How do I move like that??”
I get asked these kinds of questions all the time, and they’re all good questions.
In any given workout/self-practice, you’re trying to honor your body. Listen to your intuition. Work in a way that supports wherever you are in that moment. Only do movements that do not cause you pain and move at a pace that feels safe on that given day.
You should leave a workout feeling energized, not drained. For me, the sweet spot is some muscle fatigue, but plenty of energy left over to go about my day. Aiming for workouts that increase your energy, rather than deplete it, is the goal.
If you work out this way, you can practice as many days a week as feels right for you. Maybe you like the rhythm of a daily practice. Maybe it’s best for you to go hard one day then have a few days off to recharge.
Slowly increase the intensity, pace, duration, or amount of your workouts over time, however you organize your practice. If your work-outs are making you feel tired or so sore that the rest of your activities feel difficult, you’re working out too hard or too much. If you find that you are not progressing the way you want to, push a little harder in your next workout and see how that feels.
One of the most important parts of practice is listening. Listen to the cues your body gives you before, during and after a workout. Do things feel hard? Easy? Smooth? Disconnected? Fun? Boring? Does this feel the same as yesterday or the day before? Intuition and self-observation are both skills that can be developed. And the more you consciously listen to your body, the deeper your intuition will become. Advancing those skills will lead to a healthy, sustainable self-practice that will move you towards your goals, whatever they might be.
Your practice doesn’t even need to be about progress. It could be about maintenance, reducing pain or the mental clarity that comes from movement. Whatever you want from your movement practice, honor how you feel each day and frequently check in with yourself. Self practice is about doing what is right for YOU. You are complex, ever-changing and capable of advancing your practice in whatever way you want.
Prioritize enjoyment so that you want to continue moving. Be kind to yourself and find joy in the practice.
Be safe, be well,