Working your entire body five days in a row doesn’t give your muscles and joints a chance to recover if you use the same workout each day. Your body grows stronger as it repairs itself, so taking rest days or changing workouts will help you get the maximum benefit from exercise while decreasing physical stress.
Vary your workouts to let your body recover from exercise
If you plan to work out five days each week, take your rest days during the week, rather than taking two days off on the weekend, to let your body recover. If you plan to exercise Monday through Friday, vary the workouts you do to let your body muscles recover from specific exercises and stresses. For example, if you do bodybuilding on Monday, perform a full-body cardio workout with little or no resistance on Tuesday.
Use weights, resistance bands, a kettlebell or weight machines on your first day, if muscle-building is your main goal. Use heavy weight or high resistance settings to perform upper- and lower-body exercises. Perform three reps of an exercise, taking a one-minute break after the set. Perform three sets of the exercise, then take a break of several minutes before starting a new exercise. Alternate upper- and lower-body exercises
Burn calories with a cardio workout, using swimming, cycling, a treadmill or elliptical or aerobics. For a full body workout, use dumbbells while cycling or on a treadmill, or choose an elliptical with arm poles, like a Gazelle. Raise your intensity to the maximum heart rate you can sustain for 30 minutes or more. Finish with core exercises that move you back and forth, saving side-to-side ab exercises for a subsequent workout. Do crunches, reverse crunches, butt raises and leg lifts.
Repeat your strength workout from day one, or use a rowing machine with a high resistance setting. Alternately, use bodyweight exercises to build muscle, including pullups, chinups, pushups and chair dips.
Perform another cardio workout, finishing with core workouts that move you side-to-side. Add oblique crunches, Russian twists, crossover pulls and bicycle kicks.
Finish with another muscle-building workout using the same equipment from your first strength workout, or mixing it up again. Use a barbell, dumbbells, resistance bands, a weight machine or a kettlebell. Because of its unstable center or gravity, a kettlebell recruits your core during exercises and is a good option to work your abs.
If you plan to emphasize weight loss with your routine instead of muscle-building, start the week with cardio and a core workout, using a kettlebell for next two core workouts. If you don’t plan on muscle building as an emphasis of your plan, use a lighter kettlebell on day two and four to do swinging. Swinging raises and lowers the kettlebell between your legs and up to your shoulders, burning calories while you work your core. It works your legs, back, shoulders, chest and arms.
Use the Smart-Healthy-Living basic workout format for each session.