How Much Recovery Do You Need Between Workouts?

Have you ever wondered how much rest time is really needed between workouts? Working out does create stress on your body – which is a good thing as it challenges your body to achieve new things. But in order to allow those changes to happen, even with the best workout, your body needs a little down time, too. Here's a closer look at why that's the case!


“What people need to understand is that exercise stresses the body, so in order to ensure the positive things you’re seeking you need to allow recovery time,” says Dr. Cedric Bryant, Chief Science Officer for the American Council on Exercise. “Everything needs time to recover, rebuild and rejuvenate before exposed to stress again.”

For example, lifting weights at the gym creates a stress that breaks down your muscle fibers; that’s the stimulus. It’s not until after you’re finished working out that the desired adaptations (increased strength, muscle growth, etc.) can start to occur. While you’re resting, your body begins working on rebuilding those muscle fibers, but you’ll only achieve the desired effects if you allow for adequate rest time.

“It’s during the rest that the positive changes occur,” says Bryant. “Muscles get stressed and adapt to the stress. These are changes that allow you to be able to handle greater levels of resistance.”

And the same concept applies to almost any type of exercise. Those who enjoy cardiovascular activities like running, swimming or cycling should keep in mind that the heart is also a muscle that requires time for recovery, too.

Bryant says that recovery is also important for biochemical processes that need to take place, like restoration of the immune system and strengthening of bone tissue.

So rest is clearly an important part of an effective exercise regimen, but exactly how much do you need?

“A lot of it is really going to be a function of the type of training you’re engaged in, and how fit you are,” says Bryant. “The more intense the training bout, the more recovery time you will need. You really need to be smart about appropriate recovery.”
– via The Active Times

Phases of Recuperation

After an intense workout, your body goes through a few distinct phases in its recovery from that intense activity. Each phase is an important step in achieving your overall fitness goals. So how long should each phase last? Let's take a detailed look at how recuperation works for your body!


How much rest depends on six factors and includes recuperation, exercise intensity, frequency and duration, nutritional habits and stress itself.


How FAST your body recovers (recuperation)
How HARD you exercise (intensity)
How OFTEN you exercise per week (frequency)
How OFTEN, MUCH, WHAT and WHEN you eat (nutrition)
How LONG you exercise (duration)
How MUCH stress you have or are able to manage in your daily life (stress).


Days off
Pleasurable activity
Something other than previously mentioned that is both enjoyable and restful.


Recuperation is the time it takes the body to recover from hard intense exercise. Endurance exercise for 30 minutes or more 3 times per week is great aerobic activity. However, gains can come to a halt should we be forgetting the third phase of and the actual window of opportunity for building muscle: recuperation. An endurance athlete who runs and cycles frequently can actually steal his/her energy away for making muscular gains that is solely based on the recovery process: rests between sets, immediately after your workout, and especially 48-to-72 hours after exercise. To keep making muscular gains cut back on aerobic activities and reserve that energy for the recovery process.


30-to-90 second rests between sets during exercises
2-to-4 hours immediately after exercise
48-to-72 hours after exercise
– via

Do you usually allow rest time between intense workouts?

​This site requires cookies in order for us to provide proper service to you and our customers. See our Privacy Policy: Learn More​​