Is It Okay To Not Work Out On The Weekends?
April 30th 2019
Find out whether or not working out on the weekends is detrimental to your progress. There are usually two categories of lifters - your casual lifters and people who follow a program. If you follow a program, your workout schedule has been decided. There are no ifs, ands, or buts. If you committed to a workout program that is four times a week, you will go to the gym four times a week. There are no negotiations. However, for the less serious lifter, is it okay to not workout on the weekends?
Not working out on weekends for strength training
The amount of time you are in the gym does not directly correlate to how much progress you will make. Not working out on the weekends is the wrong question to think about; you should be more focused if you are getting closer to your goals or not.
Scenario 1 - You are on a program
If you are on a strength training program, like Greyskull LP or Starting Strength, you will have your answer met already. If you decide to do these three times a week program, you will only work out three times a week. Results vary depending on your consistency and determination.
So, if you decide to do a Monday, Wednesday, Friday workout, guess what? You do not need to workout on the weekend! It is as simple as that. If you want to do recreation sports or activities, nobody is stopping you. You make your own life choices, regardless of what I say. Whether they help benefit your life or fitness goals, you will need to decide on whether or not it is worth it.
Scenario 2 - You are on a flexible “feelz” program
For these lifters, you do not have a “strict” program. You kind of go to the gym whenever you want. You measure your progress by the amount of time you spend in the gym or the number of days you go to the gym.
This is where the mental gymnastics can come to play. You may think that if you go to the gym more, you will make more gains? If you think logically about it, this should be how muscle growth and progress comes, right? Not exactly.
A lot of the time, less is more
You can make more progress if you go to the gym less. There, I said it. But there is a catch. You must be committed to a structured program that forces you to improve. Whether you make improvements daily or weekly, those small details are not important. What is vitally critical is that you take both your time in and out of the gym seriously.
This means that you will exercise and work out intensely in the gym. You will give it a very good effort. While you are outside of the gym, you are making sure you stay hydrated, fed and not stressed.
Take the time to plan what you will be doing for the next year at least. It is very easy to get distracted. This is one reason why many weight loss programs fail. In order to avoid this common pitfall, lifters need to be smart about your programming. If you do not want to program, that is also fine. I have personally tried two programs I linked above during my 6+ years of strength training, as I write this article. Currently, I have a 2x bodyweight squat as my most notable iron cred and a close 2.5x bw deadlift (currently, I am around a 2.4x bw deadlift; not for long soon).
So, here are some steps for you to decide what you want to do in a year:
Decide on a single goal
We all have many wants in our lives. We were born to desire things we do not have. However, that is not always a smart decision to chase those things. To truly get what we want, we must pick only one thing. Pick something and write it down.
How many days a week will you train?
After you decide on a goal, how many times a week can you dedicate to your goal? If you are strength training, most strength training programs are typically 3-4x a week. If you are bodybuilding, many hypertrophy programs are 3-5x a week. If you are doing calisthenics, many bodyweight programs are usually 5-7x a week. Then, you get into hybrid programs where we try to tackle different goals at the same time.
If you are unsure about how often to workout, I invite you to start off with three times a week and then make another assessment of your progress after 3 months. After 12 weeks of training, you will have training data to reflect upon and make improvements to. It is one thing to analyze your workout but when you overanalyze and begin to not take action, that is a bigger problem.
Take the leap of faith and see how your training is affecting you.
What if I just want to do enough to stay healthy?
Not everyone wants to strength train. And that is perfectly okay. However, if you complain that you do not have the fitness goals you desire, you have nobody to blame but yourself.
With that said, there are a ton of people who pay for gym memberships who just do a few machines, do some cardio and call it a workout. Sure, that may be good since you are moving.
However, the answer on whether or not you should skip weekend workouts if you are not strength training is that it depends. You can “skip” the weekends if you have worked out during the week. The biggest question for you is this - are you improving?
Are you improving?
The biggest metric for progress is improvement. Are you improving in the gym? Are you getting faster, stronger, leaner, sexier?
Far too many lifters go to the gym for years only to look the same after decades of being a gym rat. It is almost embarrassing. Whether or not you were honest with yourself about how many times you will visit the gym, this is one reason why having a strict workout regimen is highly recommended. Not only does it keep you focused on the daily workouts, but if you are able to stay consistent for months and years, you will always improve. You are challenging yourself to be better and because you showed up, you have succeeded.
So, it is really not a matter of whether or not you should go work out on the weekend. It is more about tactical planning and strategizing on whether or not you can reach your goal with or without the need of a weekend workout.
You know yourself best. Your workout program should dictate whether or not you should go working out on the weekends. If you do not have a program, I would highly suggest that you check out my two strength training program reviews that I linked above. If you need further assistance, you can contact me here or on any of my social media.
It is easy to feel guilty that we are not doing enough. For a lot of people sitting on the coach, maybe you do need a nudge or two in order to start getting back into shape. If you are busy, it further complicates what you are doing. Learn to listen to your body while staying focused on your path towards achieving your fitness goals.