When you’re getting into the groove of a workout program, you want to be in the gym as often as you can. Your motivation is high, you’re feeling good and you don’t want to miss a day. But one of the hard things to learn is that rest is just as important as your workout.

Your personal recovery time will depend on many factors: your exercise intensity, the program you are following, your nutrition, stress and your body’s ability to recover. If you’re doing upper body one day and  lower the next, then you can take a rest day and hit the upper body again. However, if you’re doing shoulders one day and then chest the next, you can continue working out 5 to 6 times a week with 1-2 rest days added as needed. A good standard is to give each muscle group 24-48 hours to recover before weight training again.

More specifically, those new to weight lifting should begin a program with three strength-training sessions per week, with any sessions involving the same muscle group separated by a full day off. If you’re more advanced, you can be doing a split routine (when workouts are divided up by muscle groups) and increase the frequency of weight training sessions each week. Split routines target fewer muscle groups per session (1-3) and therefore muscles receive enough rest on the days the other groups are being trained.

If you’re doing HIIT workouts, you should try to do them every other day. Light-to-moderate cardio like running or cycling can be done every day of the week if you want to, since your cardiovascular system doesn’t need recovery time like your muscles do. Stay mindful of the intensity levels of your cardio as well as your nutrition, stress and hydration.

Above all, listen to your body. You know your limits, and your hard work won’t be undone if you take a day off to let your body rest, recover and repair. In the long run, a day of rest will be more beneficial than trying to force out another workout.