Creating a workout schedule that's engaging, effective, healthy and doable can seem like a monumental task. After all, if you're not a fitness enthusiast or expert, it might even be difficult to know where to begin. So, to get started, you probably need to figure out what's a healthy workout schedule. Of course, what's healthy for one person, may not be the best choice for another. The proper workout schedule for you can depend on how old you are, how active you've been, what (if any) conditions you have, the kinds of activity you enjoy doing, and so much more.
That being said, there are some baselines that apply to all people. "A healthy workout schedule should be guided by a general framework of at least two to five hours of combined sculpting and cardiovascular activity each week," allongée founder Jillian Dreusike tells Romper by email. "For those that are just beginning a fitness regimen and are looking to make a real transformation to their bodies an overall health, the general framework is something that one should build up to over a period of around 60 days."
Long story short — don't jump all in right away and think you'll be able to rock out intense workouts every single day if you haven't been regularly exercising. Bar Method master instructor and trainer Kiesha Ramey-Presner tells Romper that she recommends clients make it to class about three days a week. If you try to do too much too soon, you'll set yourself up to fail. "Make sure that you create a schedule that’s sustainable for you when you start out, because most people who fail at fitness do because they create something that’s entirely unrealistic," personal trainer Julianne Soviero tells Romper.
Once you've settled on how often you'll need to schedule workouts, make sure you leave enough time for adequate warm ups and cool downs, which will help you avoid potential injuries. In an email exchange with Romper, personal trainer Jennifer He suggests going a step further. "Foam roll before you warm up, as it is a good way to loosen your muscles and prepare you for the workout," she says. Foam rolling can be a bit uncomfortable, but many trainers recommend it as a way to take care of your muscles.
Weight training and cardio are both important parts of a healthy workout schedule, as well. Soviero says that weight training builds muscle, which allows your body to burn more calories even when you're not doing any activity at all. Additionally, Dreusike says weight-bearing activities can help with bone density, which is especially important for women due to the increased risk for osteoporosis as you age. Don't commit to one specific set of exercises for too long, however, or your body may adjust to the movements, rendering them relatively ineffective. Soviero recommends switching up your workout routine about every four to six weeks so that the movements always stay fresh.
Beyond active workouts, rest is an important part of any healthy fitness schedule. "One important point that I stress to all clients, across the board, is the value of rest and recovery," Emily Hutchins, founder of On Your Mark Coaching and Training and sleep and recovery expert for Bear, tells Romper by email. "We put our bodies through a lot on a daily basis, and good sleep is essential to muscle recovery." While incorporating regular rest into your routine is essential, so is recognizing when you may have overdone it and need to squeeze in a little bit extra recovery time. Soviero says impaired range of motion or noticeable inflammation are both signs that you should slow down and trade a major workout for a walk or yoga class.
Again, this is just the base-line for building a healthy workout routine. If you want something more personalized for your goals, seek out the help of a personal trainer or certified fitness instructor.