How To Train For Best Results

Dec 14, 2011 by

How to workout for best results


I have been getting a lot of emails asking me a very similar question that goes something like this:   ” I don’t understand, I work out 5 – 6 and sometimes 7 days a week, why am I not seeing any muscle definition? “. After answering numerous emails i just decided to write about that to answer this question and to help you understand how to get the best results from your workouts.

The first thing I am going to tell you might come as a surprise – If you are working out 5 -7 days a week, you will never see any muscle definition on your body.  The reason for that is our body builds muscle when we are at rest not when we workout, so if you are not resting your muscles will break down and NOT grow.

If you understand how the body works, you will understand that you shouldn’t be working out more than 4 days a week with strength training, sometimes 5 but that only include a day extra for moderate cardio only ( unless you are a professional athlete there is absolutely no need to strength train more than 4 days a week ).

When we train with enough intensity we create micro tears in our muscles, the body recognizes the tears and begins to rebuild it. If all you do is tear tear tear, guess what – the body cannot repair therefore build,  and you will come to a constant state of overtraining ( trust me I’ve experienced this in the past ). We need rest, otherwise you will see no results.


How Train For Best Results

If you want to never get stuck with your training and build muscle the proper way you need to train in cycles 6-8 weeks and then rest for about a week. I think 6 weeks is a good number with 8 you will really be pushing it ( if you are an athlete then 8 weeks is fine ). If you always working out without not having that week off for your body to reset, what end up happening is not only you will hit plateau, but you will loose motivation in training, you will also begin to loose strength and this is how most people give up working out all together.

This is how I’ve been training every week with great results and without getting overtrained.

  • Monday – Semi intense Cardio
  • Tuesday – Lower body ( I always do include a bit of upper body movements as well, this way we burn more calories with every exercises, but I do place the focus on the lower body. )
  • Wednesday – Upper Body ( but still using full body movements in certain exercises – as a unit 😉 )
  • Thursday – Active Rest ( walking, hiking, tennis, is all considered as an active rest. What is not considered an active rest is – walking from the couch to the refrigerator all day, driving all day, complaining all day etc ).
  • Friday – Lower Body
  • Saturday – Upper Body
  • Sunday – Complete Rest


If you don’t like to split your routines into lower and upper body then you can do full body workouts 3 days a week, but you always have to rest the following day. But I did notice that better results come from 4 days a week with split routines.

You can of course choose your own working out cycle this is just an example.

Another thing I would like to point out is this: You should feel energized after every single workout you do, if you don’t feel energized it’s a first sign that you are overtrained. The whole point of working out is to feel great and full of energy, NOT tired and wanting to pass out.

If you did end up overtraining these are the usual symptoms:

  • Lack of motivation
  • Muscle Twitching
  • Restlessness or having a hard time falling a sleep
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of strength
  • Mood swings

If you are experiencing any of these then it’s time to take a full week off and begin your training fresh, and this time the proper way.

But the most important thing to know is that working out is only 20% of your results, the other 80% is all in your nutritional approach. If you are not eating the right foods you are not going to get great results no matter how much you train or for how long. Nutrition is art and if you want those lean muscles and if you want to see your abs, nutrition is where your answers are. So ask your self are you training correctly? Are you getting plenty of rest? Is your nutritional approach matches your training?


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  • Perfect Tatiana, I experienced loss of interest this weekend, I started working out but realized my effort wasn’t in it so I immediately stopped and picked it up the next day.  The problem some people have is that they NEVER are pumped so they always feel like they don’t want to exercise so it’s hard for them to tell the difference.

    • Yes, it usually happens with most people ( the beginners especially ) they have to make them selves to want to exercise. But if you have been working out for a while and you are loosing motivation then its’ different cause exercise is very addicting to the mind, and if your mind tells you to stop a lot of times it’s because the body is tired.

  • Absolutely right. So many people believe that the reason they don’t see muscle growth is that they don’t work out enough, where in reality their bodies already have way too much stress and they just pile more on top of it. 

    • Sometimes we just have to learn the hard way. I think it’s a human nature in all things we just seem to think more is better and it takes time for us to learn otherwise.

  • Tough cookie

    I totally agree.  But I still need to be reminded from time to time…

    Thank you.  Keep up the good work!

    • Stay Tough 🙂 tough cookie less is more 😉

  • Anonymous

    ??????? ?? ???????? ??? ??????:) ? ??? ??? ?????????? 6 ???? ? ?????? (?????? ???-???? ???? ????????. ??????????-???? ???? ?????????? ? ???. 10 ??? ??? ???????? ????? 20-???? ????????. ?????????? ? ?.?.? ??????? ?????????? ?? ????? 30-40 ???, ????????? ??????? – 5?? ? ?????? ???????????? ??????????,6 ???? ?????????? ?? ?????). ? ??? ????????? ??? ???. ? ?? ??????? ??????? ??????? ?? ? ??? (????? ?????? ?????????? ????????? ??? ?? ?????????,??? ? ??? 2-3 ?????), ?????? ????? ?????????????? ?????????????? ??????????? ??????? ? ?.?. ????????? ??? ?????? ???????? ???? ??????, ?? ???????? ???? ???????:) ?????? ??????? ???????? ??? ???????? ?? ???? ??????:)

    • Da, mne ochen mnogo ludej pishut s takoj ge problemoj. Kogda nastupaet periud plateau nado menyat i dietu i trenirovki. Samoe luchshee eto snachala dat svoemu telu otdohnut kak minimum nedelu, i togda nastupit reset dlya mishs. Tak-ge is s dietoj, esli vi vsegda pravilno i idealno pitaetes to organizm nachinaet privikat i bolshe ne reagiruet na eto. Nado hotyabi odin den v nedelu kushat chto nibud ne ochen poleznoe, i togda v diete toge budet reset.

  • WorkItOutYourself

    Great little article, Tatiana ! I just discovered your website today and I very much like it ! Good job !

    • Hi there :), welcome to LovingFit! Glad you like the website 🙂

  • Hi Christina, 

    You are definitely working out too much.  A lot of people make that mistake.  Usually beginners can workout that much and start seeing results but they will eventually hit plateau and stop getting results.  But if you have been working out for a while you have to keep switching your training style so your body can progress.  And you absolutely have to have enough rest to recover.  Usually I workout 2 days in a row then take a day off, then workout 2 more days in a row.  If your goal is to lean out a bit and loose some fat then you can do 10-15 minutes of cardio after a workout, but not more then that or you will loose muscle.  Also on a Sunday you can have a very light cardio as well for about 15-20 minutes, but not intense.  Light or moderate cardio would be walking, very light jog ( enough to get your heart rate up ), or very light jump rope ( also enough to get your heart rate up but not pumping like crazy ).

    • Blubb

      Dear Tatianna,

      You are my workout guru, that’s why I really need to bother you about my workout routine.
      I’m more of a beginner but do at home workouts on and off my entire life; right now I workout regularely approx. since March.
      I am totally torn between three favourite kinds of workouts:
      1. Ballet Body by Leah Sarago. I have her downloads and you can mix and match them as you like (core, upper and lower body). I think they are very effective, I see great results and always have a boost of energy and good mood afterwards. She’s doing barre and body weight (lots of planks) mixed.
      2. Your kind of workout. I love to workout with bodyweight or some dumbbells, the kind you do or Zuzanna Lights kind of stuff. I always feel like an amazon afterwards, perfect.
      3. Hiit, espec. Tabata for cardio. I usually incorporate a lot of abs work here, because I think otherwise it is a waste of time. I like that they are hard but short.

      I’m not much of a cardio girl, I hate running, elliptical and the like. I never had results from doing a lot of cardio and moderate cardio bores me to death.

      Now, my questions for you, my dear guru:
      1. Should I mix Ballet Body and your workouts in one week or should I do one of it exclusively for a few weeks and than switch to the other? What is better for avoiding plateaus?
      2. Does barre style workouts count as strength? Leahs for sure, because they are hard, but what about more moderate barre like Callanetics, Pure Barre or The Bar Method? Or are they more like the perfect workout for active rest days? What do you think?
      3. Right now I’m doing 3-4 full body routines per week, because I need to loose weight and I’ve read, that doing full body workouts burn the most calories. What’s your approach? Should I switch to 4 splits?
      4. Cardio: On which workout days can I do Hiits and/or Tabatas? Does they count as cardio or split/full body strength days?

      I guess, that I am slightly overtraining right now. My goal is to be strong like you (doing push ups and pull ups like you 🙂 ) and definatially be leaner not because it looks better, but because I feel better (had problems with back pain before). I already lost 17 pounds and I am planning on losing a few more. I am a 35 year old female, by the way.

      Thank you so much in advance. Wanted to let you know, that I “Improved my Push-Ups” big time with your programme. Did it in my hiking holidays, where I didn’t need to train my lower body. It was the perfect, short and effective upper body routine for this time and I gained a lot of strength. Thank you.

      • Elaine

        I am wondering about these exact same questions!!!! What is moderate cardio–how long? Would the elliptical be OK? I have a long stride & walking on the treadmill (due to my high arches & wonky foot construction) leads to plantar fasciitis & stress fractures for me.

        • Hi Elaine,

          Moderate cardio is light skipping, light running, elliptical, treadmill, anything that makes you move but it’s not too intense. 15 minutes of light cardio is good.

      • Hi Blubb,

        Sorry for such late response, I’ve been trying really hard to keep up with all the comments but lately I’ve been missing a lot of them.

        You can mix and match all the workouts, any workout that involves strength is strength training, I do suggest you doing HIIT cardio on separate days than Strength training, after strength training you can do just very light cardio 15 minutes, something like fast walking, light running, bike or jump rope.

        All of my workouts are strength training workouts, some of them are HIIT but they are strength HIIT, and most of them also include some kind of cardio moves.

  • Bananatania

    Hello again 😉 just read this article and I want to thank you for your great sharing.
    I can’t believe how much I’m learning by just reading you Tatianna,it so surprising
    to me because.. If I don’t read on health subject,that would mean I don’t read at all..
    and trust me I do read much! So there for I’m suprise that ur information is so fresh
    and new some how to me.Hard to explain but learning im grateful ????

    I also think you have a beautiful pen…
    Keep on sharing,your GREAT at IT ;))

    Bananatania xo

    • Thank you sweetie 🙂

      • Bananatania

        Oh I forgot to ask, how do I put my picture!??

        • You just register with or when you leave a comment you can log in either with your facebook accoun, google account or yahoo account.  Or just register with discus and upload your picture.  
          I keep adding you to white list on the site so your comment can go through without approval, but for some reason I think you IP address is blacklisted on their servers, not sure why :(.  Probably because you are sharing IP address with someone who is blacklisted.

    • Elaine

      Everything that she said, I feel, also!!! Thank you!

  • Hi, it happens, it’s not the internet it’s the IP address, most people share IP addresses with others.

  • Tatianna,
    What a great article! Thanks alot for sharing this!!
    You’ve even made me laught at this “What is not considered an active rest is – walking from the couch to the refrigerator all day, driving all day, complaining all day etc”… loll Love your sens of humour!!

    • Ha Ha Ha, yeah I am a bit sarcastic LOL, gotto spread some tough love sometimes 🙂

      • loll

        • missraten

          Love the irony too 🙂 thanks for all this info, it’s very helpful! Have a great day! Best, Karoline

  • Pingback: Glam Booty Workout : @LovingFit()

  • Courtney

    Thank you for linking this in the Glam Booty workout, otherwise I might not have found it. I’ve decided that beginning tomorrow I’m going to start following this training program. I’ve been exercising consistently for a little over two years now (I used to not be active at all) and have seen some good results, but I feel like I’ve hit a plateau, or like I’ve been stuck in a plateau for a while. I realize results aren’t instant, but they feel so slow. I used to do HIIT workouts 5-6 times a week, and lately I’ve slowed down the intensity so that I’m still working out 5-6 times a week, but only 1-2 of those are HIIT and everything else is just strength training. But I’m not seeing an improvement in my strength! In fact, I feel like my strength has gone in the other direction. So I think this will be perfect for me, especially because I find myself getting burnt out quickly and talking myself out of training. I need something new. On a positive note, in the last two years I have gone down at least one pant size, and I’m much firmer than I used to be. I feel comfortable in shorts, where I used to shy away from them, and I actually tried on an felt super sexy in a sheath dress this past weekend. I used to hate dresses because I felt like none of them flattered my pear-shape body, but the improvement in my figure has helped me gain confidence that I haven’t had in a long time. So although my training needs to be amped up, I did want to note that I have seen good results. 🙂

    • Hi Courtney,

      If you haven’t taken at least 5 full days off in a while I recommend you do that. In the 5 days that you will take off your body will get fully rested and you will feel like you’ve gained strength, it will also help you to break through the plateau. Then you can start fresh again and the right way this time 🙂

      • Jilleen

        I too am at the same point Courtney is, and I am having trouble sleeping, moody…. most of the symptoms you have described above. The longest time I have taken off from a workout in the past year is like 3 days, maybe 4, and that was a while ago. I work out (circuit/metabolic/interval training) Monday – Friday, with some intense (but short) cardio, then rest Saturday and Sunday, but I don’t think it’s enough. Had I not read this article, I would have kept on pushing myself! Definitely taking a week off next week. 5 days a week is okay (after my rest, of course) with 2 days off on the weekend? It is so much easier to work out an hour during the week than on the weekends for me. Again, thank you for all the information. I love your site!!!

        • Hi Jilleen,

          Yes please take a day off, you’re lucky you haven’t pissed off your body yet, cause when the body gets tired enough it will take a break for you, in a form of injury. It’s very important to listen to your symptoms, lack of motivation is usually the first symptom.

  • Oh, Tatianna! You are so right (as always). I love your decisiveness–it is very refreshing. You are totally right and you’ve convinced me to ease off a bit. Also, your routines are so targeted and effective that I’m usually sore from them, so I can feel the effects more. I DO think I am pretty good at listening to my body, so I can usually notice an injury coming on. But I get very easily addicted to working out and can get depressed if I don’t, so I often lure myself into it when I probably shouldn’t for my body’s sake.

    I like your workout schedule that you post above, and it’s kind of what I’m doing now. My only problem is that sometimes it’s harder to find time for an active rest day if my schedule is very busy. It’s easier to squeeze in a 15 min workout than a 2 hour hike. But this last week I took two complete days off, and I needed it. I think also that I should include a day somewhere where I go on a nice, longish walk–30-60 min. It helps me clear my mind and sometimes even to figure things out, as I know you’ve said it helps you. 🙂

    • I totally understand how you love to walk 30-60 min, I use to do that all the time and it really helps me to clear my mind as well. I need to get back to doing that again, sometimes I would even go for 2 hour walks.

  • Hello! I’ve been reading and loving your site for a while now. I’ve been working out for years not really seeing any results I want and over training was definitely one of the issues. Currently I do yoga pretty much every day – sometimes it’s 20 minutes, sometimes an hour. I would like to start working out properly again and am planning to follow one of your workout plans but I don’t want to cut out the yoga, I love it so much! I wonder if I can keep doing yoga while working out? Or would that hinder my results? I’m mostly just interested in seeing some muscle definition not weight loss… I mostly do power yoga, but I was thinking of doing some light stretchy type on the days I workout and sticking to power yoga on active rests days. Do you think that would work?

  • Alex

    Hey,it’s ok if I train 2 days(complete workout),1 day off?

    Nice post btw..