Weekend Warriors: Is It Healthy to Work Out Only 2 Days A Week?
For those of us who want to get ripped, or at least shed a few extra pounds, we know we need to be consistent. There’s no supplement or shortcut that can make up for a missed workout. Some of the world’s greatest athletes prove this time and time again with their relentless dedication. NFL player Ray Lewis trained up to 10 hours a day in his prime. Mariusz Pudzianowski, the World’s Strongest Man champion for 5 years, maintained a rigorous workout and diet regimen. But what if you just can’t find the time to be that committed? Is it enough to be a weekend warrior?
What is a weekend warrior?
A weekend warrior is someone who only exercises once or twice a week and usually during weekends. Their schedule is just too jam-packed to accommodate gym sessions Monday through Friday.
On one hand, it’s great that these warriors are still carving out space for fitness. But our current culture dictates a more aggressive commitment to get the results we want. Can we sculpt the body of our dreams with just two workouts a week?
The cons of being a weekend warrior
There’s good news and bad news. Let’s tackle the little bit of bad news first.
One of the greatest benefits of exercise is the release of endorphins, those feel-good chemicals that boost your mood. People who work out regularly during the week get to reap the benefits of endorphins every day. This helps them manage stress more effectively and avoid risk factors for anxiety and depression. Weekend warriors might have a tough time navigating the week without them.
Also, as a weekend warrior, you may have a higher risk of injury since you aren’t performing your preferred exercises as often. This can be avoided with a proper warm-up and cool down as well as foam rolling and stretching.
The pros of being a weekend warrior
Even as a weekend warrior, you can still meet the minimum weekly requirement for physical activity, which is 150 minutes of moderately intense exercise. Also, according to a report from U.S. News and World Report, weekend warriors still reap all the same health benefits as those who work out during the week.
These benefits include a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, and a prolonged lifespan. Simply put, working out, even just two days a week, is far more beneficial than doing nothing at all. There’s still more research being conducted, but it seems a weekend warrior lifestyle is an effective way to stay fit.
Things to consider
If you’re keen on becoming a weekend warrior, there are a few tips to remember:
- Proper warmups and cooldowns are crucial—your muscles have been inactive all week. Don’t assume you can jump back in without the proper preparation.
- Stay hydrated—it’s easy to fall behind on water consumption during your busy week, but this can have a detrimental impact on your workouts.
- Do what you love—if you choose weekend activities that you hate, you’re less likely to stay committed.
- Mix it up—normal rules still apply. Don’t spend your entire week doing cardio to make up for lost time. Employ HIIT for cardiovascular health and work in some strength training to build, and preserve, lean muscle mass.
Ultimately, you should choose the workout approach that works best for your life. But rest assured, if you’re a weekend warrior, you’re no less healthy than the guys who sweat it out during the week.