How Much Exercise Do You NEED?

woman doing push ups

So I hear it all the time, “How Much Exercise Do I Really Need to Get in Shape? The more important question is, how much exercise do you actually need to get in shape?

Twenty minutes three times per week? Half-hour per day? And how much is too much? Do you need to sweat it out for an hour or more every day?

Let’s go over the amount of exercise that is ideal for your health, wellness, and ideal for getting into shape.

Let’s first start with the minimum.


Of course, you’re going to have to start from where you are right now. So that means if you are not already exercising regularly, there is no need to go overboard. In fact, trying too much too soon may derail your motivation and become a reason you throw in the towel.

So, let’s say you’re not active quite yet. What if I were to say that you only have to exercise 10-20 minutes every other day at a level you think you can do? Does that sound like a good starting point? (1) I would say, and I am sure you are shaking your head yes as well.

If you’re not training for a competition or an athlete needing to increase their performance, then you can absolutely get into shape, starting with up to 20 mins 3-4 days a week.

My recommendation is always to do a 5-minute warm-up at an easy pace, then perform your workout up to 20 minutes in your fat burning-cardiovascular heart zone. That would be between 60-70% HRZ (Fat Burning) to 85% HRZ (71-85% Cardiovascular). Then end your workout with a 5-minute cool down or stretch.


Now, there isn’t one answer for everyone, as everyone is different. The main rule is, to begin with where you are right now and your fitness level. Take note of your fitness and health goals that you want to accomplish. Then each day and each week, try to increase and improve slowly. This will get you stronger and will help you reach your goals.

Always consider what is reasonably sustainable for you, based on:

  • What is your long-term fitness goal?
  • What are your limitations and roadblocks in your life (i.e., how much time do you have, overworked, recent injury)?
  • What is your current fitness level?

But don’t stop there! 

As you stay consistent in your exercise routine, it will start getting easier. Don’t forget to make it a bit more challenging as you go and always switch things up. Every week do something to push yourself a bit farther than you were before. If you’re strength training, do a few more reps or grab the 5-10 lb heavier weights on the next exercise. If you’re doing cardio, go a bit longer, add inclines, increase your miles, or increase your speed.

A great motivational tool is to log your workouts, keeping up with your stats to see when you hit personal best or milestones. A simple notepad, workbook, or my online fitness app-will do! Just enter your reps, sets, time length, and days you workout. This will help you keep motivated and excited to continue, but it will also help you see where you can squeeze in that extra challenge as you progress.

After several weeks you can stop and evaluate. This is usually where I have scheduled body stats for you to measure and see your progress. Doing this will help you decide to either keep going the way you are, ramp it up, or change up completely. Eventually, you will find yourself getting stronger and more fit!


While exercise is essential for your health, wellness, and longevity, it’s not the only thing to consider. What you eat is going to have as big, or bigger, impact on your shape. They don’t say ABS are made in the Kitchen for no reason.

Some of my favorite quick and simple tips that give you the biggest “bang for your buck” are:

  • Eat more veggies throughout the day.
  • Swap the soda for sparkling water with fruit or citrus.
  • Try to remove any temptations but if you must have, make sure to cut your treats or sweets in half smaller portions.
  • Eat more Whole Foods and less processed food. Keep your meals balanced with Protein, Fats, and Carbs. If you need a guide on keeping your meals balanced, view my A Health Plate blog.
  • Reduce the serving size of your main meals if you are used to eating huge meals. Make sure to eat until you are about 80-90% full.
  • Eat slower and savor it more by chewing each bite of food more thoroughly.
  • Carry around healthy snacks with you when you are on the go.
  • Hydrate. Hydrate. Strive to drink about 68 oz of water daily. That is about 8 (8 oz) glasses of water per day.


You don’t need to exercise like crazy doing BootCamps or CrossFit to get into shape but try to incorporate the following:

  • Start from where you are and don’t go overboard. Listen to your body and take it one day at a time.
  • If you’re a beginner, start with 10 – 20 minutes every other day at a comfortable pace.
  • Log your workout progress to track improvements and keep motivated. 
  • Slowly increase and challenge yourself every week as you get stronger, healthier, and fitter.
  • Don’t forget to eat more veggies daily, add fruit, eat a Whole Foods balanced diet, reduce your serving sizes (mostly treats), drink more water, and carry around healthy snacks.
  • Always talk with your doctor before beginning any new exercise or nutrition program.

You don’t have to keep feeling frustrated or unhappy about how you look or feel. Let me help you transform from the inside out, becoming the best version of YOU! Book a 15 minutes FREE Discovery session to see how I can HELP! 

For more information, view my online fitness training service below or Contact Me!

Always contact your physician before performing in type of exercise or nutrition program.

Published by Erin Wheless Wellness

I am a passionate Health and Wellness Professional who thrives on helping and motivating others into a healthier way of life, improving their quality of life being in a more Zen state of mind, along with helping them obtain a stronger body, mind, and soul through a holistic approach with health, nutrition, habits, mindset, and fitness wrapped all in one excellent package. All of these elements work in perfect harmony. I believe in coaching the body and the mind from the inside out. I want to help them be the best version of themselves and want to help make a difference one small step at a time. Erin Wheless Wellness programs and coaching services are accessible, weight-neutral, body-positive, age empowered, and all-inclusive. Healthy and Happy bodies come in different shapes and sizes.

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