How much should I be exercising for results?

How much should I be exercising?

The answer to the question “how much exercise” can vary depending on the age of the person asking, their current goals, their current fitness level and sometimes how much time they have. However, I do have some general guidelines I like to follow.

If you are interested in making a big change to your body and greatly improving your health, you need to be exercising 4-5 hours per week. This is where you’ll need to be in order to see the big physical changes you’re after.

If you aren’t currently exercising at all then four to five hours per week probably sounds like way too much exercise…and it can be at first! The trick is to ease into exercise and over a period of time get up to those 4-5 hours per week.

Let’s look at how we can progress from just starting with exercise to eventually be able to exercise four to five hours per week. Plus I have a fun workout for you!

I usually get Beginners moving their body for only a couple hours per week to start. Short and frequent sessions mixed with lots of flexibility and mobility movements are the key. As they adapt to those new movements we can start increasing time and intensity. In this stage, we want to build regular exercise habits.

Intermediate exercisers can push themselves quite a bit harder so I recommend frequent 30-minute sessions per week for around three or more hours per week of total exercise.

Advanced exercises (where I want to get you) can handle a much higher volume and intensity. I recommend 45-60 minute, intense sessions, 5-6 times per week. As you progress into this category you’ll learn how to be very efficient with your time. You’ll get a lot done in those 45-60 minutes!

To simplify this,  look at each category as a percentage of your day.

Beginners – Aim for 1% of your day dedicated to exercise Every day. This equates to around 15 minutes
Intermediate – Aim for 2% of your day, 5-6 times per week. Around 30 minutes.
Advanced – Aim for 3-4% of your day 5-6 times per day.  45-60 minutes per day.

How long you stay in each category depends on how diligent you are with your exercise. If you are new to exercise or have taken a long break from moving that body I recommend you start at the beginner stage.
I want you to move into the intermediate phase fast though so I have a challenge for you!

The Jadeway Exercise Challenge

If you are a beginner and you’d like to start exercising, or you are just getting back into exercise this challenge is for you!

For the next 30 days, I’d like you to try and dedicate at least 15 minutes (1% of your day) per day to exercise. I call this “The 1% Rule”. The 1% can be a mix of things – weights, power yoga, boot-camps, hiking etc. The key is to get that body moving! If possible keep track of your activity in a notepad or smartphone app. This will help by making yourself much more accountable. When you’ve finished the 30 days you’ll easily be able to transition into the Intermediate category. Plus if you’ve written everything down you’ll have a roadmap of exactly how you achieved your results…and trust me you will see and feel results if you do this challenge!

Let me know how you are doing with the exercise challenge in the comments below…I’d love to hear about your experience along the way.


Now that we’ve discussed how much you should be exercising (to see and feel a change in your body), we should discuss how intensely you should be working when you exercise. When I say exercise I tend to mean actual “focused exercise”. When I’m out walking my dog I don’t count that as exercise. It’s great for me but it isn’t intense enough to categorize as exercise. If I was “power-walking” with my dog that would be a totally different story and I could definitely count that as exercise! The same goes for something like biking. If I’m on my cruiser bike, cruising the beautiful Vancouver seawall I won’t count that as exercise. It’s great for me but it’s not challenging enough to help me (or most people) make the physical change they are looking for. When I’m out on my road bike focusing on challenging myself, that’s totally different.

You need to ask yourself those important questions – Is the movement hard enough? Would I categorize this activity as exercise or is it just movement? If you want to see a change in your body the movement you do will have to challenge you! If it doesn’t challenge you it will help you maintain your current shape but not change it.


Before we get to the workout let’s quickly touch on one other important thing.
Exercise is fantastic for you. In fact, it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself. However, we must understand that in order to make a physical change we must first apply “stress” to our body. For example, many of us go to the gym and we use weights to break down our bodies muscle tissue. We do this so our body can adapt to the stress we’ve applied and in return make it respond by building us up stronger in order to handle that stress (or greater stress) at another time. It’s very important to know that you don’t get stronger, faster or leaner in the gym or while exercising. This actually happens after you’ve applied the stress of exercise and are away from the gym relaxing (reading a book, sleeping etc.). Only with the proper recovery (sleep, water, and nutrition) will you actually see the results you are looking for.

This is actually where a lot of people have issues seeing results. They apply a stress to their bodies with exercise but aren’t taking care of themselves very well (lack of sleep, too much coffee, too much sugar, alcohol, not enough water etc.) and in return aren’t seeing the results from all their hard work. Usually, at this point, the mindset is to “add more exercise” because they currently aren’t seeing results. This is where the downward spiral can begin. Now we are over stressing the body and not recovering from it. Typical symptoms can be fatigue, low drive for the gym (and sex drive), you can get injured easier, catch more colds, get depressed and yes even GAIN fat!
Not cool I know!

Hopefully, now I’ve completely scared you into getting your sleep, drinking lots of water and eating healthy, low inflammatory foods.

The Workout

Now that we’ve gone over some guidelines on how much to exercise, the intensity to exercise at and the importance of recovery lets get to the workout I promised!

For this workout, you won’t need much equipment. I used some steps at the park near my house and a medium strength exercise band to do the whole workout. If you don’t have steps or an exercise band I’ll give you some alternatives you can use. Move from one exercise to the next with little-to-no break in between the movements. Then take a small break at the end of the circuit.

Outdoor Exercise Band Circuit

1. Stairs Sprints – Sprint up and down the stairs for around 5-6 times each way. Aim for 2-3 minutes of cardio. If you don’t have stairs nearby you could always run sprints in the park or use a skipping rope for a few minutes.
2. Push-ups – I used a step but you could use a park bench or do full pushups on the grass (10+ push-ups)
3. Step-ups (alternate legs) – If these aren’t possible try walking lunges (10-15 reps per leg)
4. Exercise Band Squats and Rows – (10-15 reps) Bent over dumbbell rows is an alternative
5. Exercise Band Wood-chop – (10-15 reps per side) Dumbbell wood-chop is an alternative
6. Band Shoulder Press – (10-15 reps) Dumbbell overhead press is an alternative
7. Optional movement like Band Bicep Curls – (10-15 reps) Use dumbbell as an alternative
*Optional additional exercise – Crunches or Sit-ups – Aim for 20 reps
Take a small break (30-60 seconds) and repeat the full circuit again for a total of 2-6 times, depending on your fitness level.

Beginners should aim for around 2-3 rounds of this circuit,
Intermediate 3-4 rounds and Advanced 4-6 rounds of this circuit

Here is a video of me with my manly pink exercise band demonstrating the exercises.

If you have any questions regarding the workout feel free to ask them on my facebook page.
Also, don’t forget to “like” my Facebook page for more free workouts

Before I go I want to leave you with this thought.

In order to see and feel the greatest results, at some point you must learn to love eating healthy, exercising and taking care of yourself.

Have a healthy day my friends!
Jade McClure – Vancouver Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach


Jade is a Vancouver Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach with over a decade of helping people get fit and healthy.

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