By Katie Watson

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A common question that is asked a lot is “Do I need to exercise every day to see results?” The short answer is no. The long answer is it depends. It all depends on several factors, the two biggest being 1) what is your ultimate goal and 2) how much time you can give yourself to accomplish it.  You may not need to exercise at all!! WHAT! I know what you’re thinking, here I am a fitness writer and I’m telling you, you don’t need to exercise!  But hear me out. 

exercise every day

Your training program needs to match whatever your goal is. The most common goal I hear is “I want to lose weight.”. What do they do? They start running. And they run every day. After a few weeks they’re burned out and frustrated they’re not seeing the results they expected.  You do not need to exercise in order to lose weight. In fact the majority of fitness goals will ultimately come down to nutrition rather than exercise. Proper nutrition is everything

Training to Lose weight

Let’s look at what proper training would be for the average person who has a goal of weight loss. This goal requires a person to be in a calorie deficit. Which means the primary focus will be nutrition. Any form of added cardio or strength training will only help accelerate weight loss by creating a larger energy expenditure (the amount of energy a.k.a. calories your body uses) and therefore, creating a bigger deficit (more energy used than the amount of energy in the form of calories going into the body).  This means, if you don’t love exercise or cardio, work graveyards and are tired, a busy mom with very little time or motivation, or even perhaps you have an injury that prevents you from being able to exercise, you can still reach a weight loss goal by paying close attention to your nutrition. NO exercise needed. 

exercise every day

Marathon runner

If you have a goal to run a marathon, then yes, this will require more physical training. It will require a gradual increase of the distance and the frequency the training occurs to build up the endurance needed. This particular goal will also require special attention to nutrition to make sure those muscles are provided with the proper macronutrient ratios to sustain energy in the muscles for the duration of the distance. Unlike a person who is trying to lose weight, more frequent training sessions will be required from a marathon runner.

Strength Training/ Building Muscles

If you have a goal to focus on building muscles then you’ll want to do less cardio and more strength training. When you build muscle you’ll need to totally fatigue the muscle group and allow proper recovery before working the same muscle group again. If it has been six months or more since you have maintained a consistent strength training program you’ll want to consider taking what’s called a deload week every four to eight weeks. A deload week is when you take it easy. You let your body rest by either not doing any intense workouts, decreasing the number of days you workout or decreasing the workouts all together.  Just like we need a mental break regularly, your body needs a physical break too. It cannot build strong muscles if it’s over worked. Recovery is vital to being able to build muscle as is proper nutrition! 

exercise every day

Nursing Mothers

You just had your sweet baby and have the go ahead from your doctor and are ready to lose that pregnancy weight! Well, if you are nursing, this can be a little tricky but not impossible. There are many great benefits for both you and the baby for nursing. If you plan on continuing to nurse, paying very close attention to water intake and nutrition will be extremely vital in making sure you keep your milk supply while still trying to lose those pregnancy pounds.

There’s so much I could say about nursing and exercising but I think I will need to save that for another article. 

Overall General Health

If you are interested in improving your overall health but don’t need to run a marathon or become a bodybuilder, a simple training program of just two to three days a week of strength training is enough to improve your overall health. Always paying attention to nutrition! If you don’t want to count calories just yet, a great place to start is by focusing on eating more vegetables in your diet and drinking more water! Eating more veggies will help decrease cravings, help you feel fuller longer, promote healthy digestion, improve skin and hair, support your immune system and provide you with vitamins your body needs. 

If you don’t want to count calories just yet, a great place to start is by focusing on eating more vegetables in your diet and drinking more water!


We’ve heard that good sleep is important. It is important for your mental health and your physical health. Most people are chronically tired because of the lack of good sleep. And it’s not just the hours you spend sleeping. Have you ever slept eight hours at night and still felt tired the next day? The quality of your sleep matters. Quality sleep is one of the best ways to allow your body to recover properly from exercise.  During sleep the body is able to be more efficient in bone remodeling, building muscles and relaxing the nervous system without all of the other functions that being awake requires. Take a nap! Set an alarm to go to bed at a decent time. Download a sleep hypnosis app to help improve the quality of your sleep. 

exercise every day

Make sleep a priority. If you have gone several days without adequate sleep, then skip the gym for a longer slumber, and don’t feel bad about it. Remember, many of us just need two to three days of gym time anyways. Your body will perform better if given what it needs. 

So to come back to the question “Do I need to exercise everyday to see results?” the answer is not necessarily. Make sure the training program is appropriate for the goal at hand to get you the results you want. 

If you found this article helpful or have questions, comment below.  For more encouragement and tips follow me on Instagram @taylorkat2018.

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  • Alice Prescott

    I LOVE this!!!! I have had to change my workouts with the different stages of my life. As my kids get older and busier, I have less time to do a big workout. So more frequent, short workouts have been my go to lately. But when we have less busy weeks I prefer to do one or two days of intense, longer workouts so I can rest a few more days.

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