Since the CrossFit style (high intensity) WODs are so short most of the time, should you workout every day?
No, it isn’t necessary. To see results from this type of fitness you should workout at least 3 days a week, giving it your all each time. For better results 3-5 days is better. High intensity workouts are very taxing on the body. Each person comes in at a different level, age, ability, etc. So we have suggestions for each individual for how much, how often, etc. It isn’t about the time you spend working out, it is about the quality. This is a really hard concept for people to grasp. Even for me.
It took me a good 3 months before I was completely sold. I knew that I was feeling great and getting a good workout. But, I just didn’t see how 20 minutes or less could really be effective. After three months, for me, it was! It was VERY effective, within 8 months of starting I had six pack abs for the first time in my life. Even running marathons didn’t give me an awesome body like CrossFit did. Giving it your all for up to 20 minutes for 3-5 days a week, and eating a healthy, balanced diet is an amazing combination.
To begin this style of working out my personal recommendation for anyone, even a current athlete, is to begin with 2-3 days per week. This allows time for your body to adjust because it is a big adjustment and the soreness can be shocking. For someone who is an athlete or has been working out for years, they can advance to 3-5 days per week quickly. For someone who is very overweight, over 40, or has never really worked out much, I would suggest taking more time to work up to 3-5 days per week. There is no rush to do a certain thing or be a certain way. Everyone is different and has different needs and abilities. That is ok.
Be cautious though. CrossFit style fitness is very “addicting”. You feel amazing being able to workout like that, and the things you will attempt and accomplish!! It can make you want to rush in and go all out 7 days a week. I don’t recommend this, AT ALL. Sure, the Elite athletes might do that. They might even workout twice a day every day, but they are Elite. Most people are not elite and don’t aspire to be…. they just want to look great naked!! 3-5 days a week is good enough for that. Keeping to that limit will help you avoid burn-out, and it will allow you to give your all in the majority of your workouts.
For me, I try for four days a week of CrossFit WODs (not consecutively), adding in some strength specific work a couple of days, and then on my “rest” days I try to go for an easy, relaxed run, or I may do no exercising at all. Running for me is a good, active rest because I’ve been running for years. Your rest day might need to be total, do nothing, rest.
Just try it. You will be amazed.