How To Do Optavia And Exercise? (Questions and answers)

optavia workout plan
My workout on Optavia

The Optavia and exercise guide is a comprehensive resource that provides guidelines on how to effectively combine the Optavia 5&1 weight loss plan with regular physical activity for optimal health benefits.

Working out on Optavia it’s all about fitting exercise into the Optavia diet. You get to learn how to balance the lower-calorie diet with energy for your workouts. This way, you’re not just losing weight, but also feeling great and keeping your body in top shape.

In this guide, we’ll answer all your burning questions. Wondering how much protein you need when working out? We’ve got you covered. Can you even work out while on the Optavia diet? You bet, and we’ll show you how.

We’ll also talk about the ins and outs of “Optavia Active” and help you find the best gyms to complement your new lifestyle. And if you’re wondering when you can start working out or if you can build muscle on Optavia, we’ll discuss all of that, too. We’re here to make sure you can blend your diet and exercise in the best possible way.

This list shows you how to combine exercise and Optavia together.

  1. Use Planet Fitness on Optavia
  2. Check Out The Optavia Active Program
  3. Follow The Optavia EAT System
  4. Start Slowly with Exercise and Optavia
  5. Prioritize Lower Intensity
  6. Choose your activity on Optavia
  7. Play Sports
  8. Do Martial Arts
  9. Get Active Hobby
  10. Support Your Movement Routine
  11. Spend More Time Moving
  12. Listen To Your Body
  13. Have Fun

1. Use Planet Fitness On Optavia

Using Planet Fitness On Optavia means incorporating a Planet Fitness gym membership into your Optavia diet plan. Planet Fitness is well-known for its affordable monthly membership and it’s got a super welcoming environment that’s judgment-free, making it perfect for anyone, no matter where you are in your fitness journey.

Plus, there’s an amazing deal that knocks $120 off your first month On Optavia 5 and 1 plan. So, not only do you get to follow the Optavia plan, but you also have access to an affordable, friendly gym to boost your workouts and amplify your health goals. Sounds like a win-win, right?

2. Check Out The Optavia Active Program

Optavia Active is a health initiative by Optavia that combines physical activity with nutritional support. It introduces new products like Essential Amino Acids (EAA) and Whey Protein Powder to enhance fitness levels and overall well-being.

The Optavia Active program is designed for individuals on any Optavia plan, offering a comprehensive approach to achieving and maintaining optimal health.

3. Follow The Optavia EAT System

Optavia’s EAT (Exercise And Training) system is a three-tiered approach to physical fitness that is designed to be tailored to your own pace. This program is outlined in Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen’s book, “Your LifeBook.”

  • Level 1: Walking and Fitness Program (WFP): This level is designed to build a regular walking habit. You start by walking 20 minutes per day, with a goal of gradually increasing your walks until you reach a total of 20,000 steps per week, in addition to your Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) steps. This level also emphasizes the importance of warming up and cooling down during your exercise sessions. After maintaining this level for a month consistently, you’re ready to move to the next level.
  • Level 2: Resistance Program: At this level, the focus is on incorporating strength training into your routine. You’re encouraged to choose two days a week for your strength training sessions, which should not exceed 30 minutes each. The program includes a 5-minute warm-up, followed by 5 different exercises that work on the same muscle group, with 1 set of 5 repetitions for each exercise, totaling 25 sets. The session concludes with a 5-minute cooldown and stretch.
  • Level 3: Boosting Your Workouts: The third and final level of the EAT system is intended to introduce more intensity into your workouts. This is achieved by incorporating High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) into your routine.

The beauty of the EAT system is that it’s adaptable to your fitness level and can be adjusted according to your progress and comfort. The Optavia exercise guide provides detailed instructions and guidance for each level of this program.

4. Start Slowly with Exercise and Optavia

If you’re new to exercising, it’s important to start slow and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts.

Start with 20 minutes of moderate exercises, such as walking or light jogging, three times per week.

Find the smallest version of your workout that feels good, and make a commitment to do that.

Here’s a photo of when I do bodyweight exercises at the local sports center.

how to exercise on optavia plan
I love outdoor workouts

5. Prioritize Lower Intensity

Prioritizing lower intensity refers to focusing on exercise routines that do not push your body to its maximum capacity, but rather maintain a more moderate level of exertion.

Lower-intensity workouts, such as heart rate zone 2 training, are cardiovascular exercises that keep your heart rate within 60-70% of your maximum heart rate.

For me, doing HIIT workouts on Optavia is fun, but it often makes me feel lethargic and hungrier later if I do them every day.

Instead, I rather do heart rate zone 2 training.

This is a low-intensity cardiovascular exercise that keeps your heart rate within 60-70% of my maximal heart rate.

Here’s how my face looks after doing cardio in heart rate zone 2 on the elliptical.

photo of me after heart rate zone training

According to the study published in the Frontiers in Physiology Journal, “training at this intensity has been shown to increase mitochondria density, speed up recovery, and reduce the risk of overtraining.”5

6. Set Realistic Workout Goals On Optavia

It’s important to set realistic goals (and expectations) for yourself. Trying to do all things at once never worked well for me.

Exercising more can lead to burning more calories, but the British Journal of Nutrition has shown that losing too much weight too quickly can result in a lower resting metabolic rate compared to gradual weight loss.6

Instead, focus on losing one to two pounds per week, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

I know this may seem to feel like a slow process, but it’s a healthy rate of weight loss that can help you keep the weight off in the long run.

7. Choose Your Favorite Physical Activity On Optavia

Choose your favorite physical activity on Optavia refers to the concept of selecting a form of physical exercise that you enjoy and can commit to, as part of your Optavia weight management plan.

This could range from conventional gym activities like using a treadmill or elliptical machine to participating in a yoga class, hiring a personal trainer for customized workouts, or simply taking regular outdoor walks.

The idea is to incorporate a physical activity that not only helps in burning calories and toning your body but is also personally enjoyable, ensuring that you stay motivated and consistent in your fitness journey.

8. Play More Sports On Optavia

You can try and experiment with different sports like golf, hockey, kayaking, basketball, football, tennis, volleyball, or water polo.

Here’s a photo of my buddy, Eric, beating my ass in tennis.

photo of me trying to play tennis

9. Give Martial Arts A Try

Martial arts on Optavia refers to the recommendation to incorporate martial arts into your fitness routine as part of the Optavia Active program.

Martial arts, which can include disciplines such as boxing, kickboxing, judo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, karate, or taekwondo, offer a unique blend of cardio, strength, and flexibility training.

They also foster important attributes such as courage, self-confidence, and respect. By giving martial arts a try, you are diversifying your exercise regimen, engaging your whole body, and developing new skills, all of which can contribute to a successful wellness journey on Optavia.

Here’s a photo of my boxing session done in my local gym.

photo of me doing boxing workout

10. Get An Active Hobby On Optavia

Getting an active hobby on Optavia refers to engaging in a physical activity that you enjoy and that contributes to your overall fitness and well-being.

This is ideal for individuals who may not prefer traditional gym workouts but still want to remain active. Active hobbies could include activities that require physical exertion like gardening, bowling, archery, car repairing, or woodworking.

The goal is to incorporate movement and exercise in a way that is enjoyable and sustainable for you, promoting an active lifestyle that aligns with the Optavia program’s objectives.

11. Be Consistent

Adhering consistently to your exercise routine on Optavia means setting a goal to engage in physical activities that you enjoy, ideally at least 3-5 times a week.

These activities could range from walking to weightlifting, dancing, or other sports. It’s important to note that substantial changes in your weight and overall health won’t typically occur in a short span, like a weekend, but rather over a longer period, often several months.

To maintain interest and commitment, consider varying your exercise routine every 4 to 6 weeks. This could involve participating in a local 5K run, joining a community sports league, or signing up for a dance class.

By keeping your exercise routine diverse and exciting, it becomes easier to stick to it and achieve your long-term health goals.

12. Support Your Movement Routine

Support your movement routine on Optavia is a strategy that involves enhancing your physical activity or exercise routine by creating an environment that facilitates movement and makes it more enjoyable.

This could involve investing in home gym equipment if you’re short on time or prefer to exercise privately. Buying a road or mountain bike can open up new opportunities for outdoor exercise while getting a new pair of running shoes can improve comfort and performance during your workouts.

The aim is to make physical activity a regular part of your lifestyle, making it easier to adhere to the Optavia program.

13. Spend More Time Moving

When ready, start increasing your workout duration, frequency, or intensity.

Here’s a photo from the metro station that shows the number of calories you burn with every step you take.

photo of staris that shows calories burned

It shows that with every step, you can burn 0.21 kcal.

(Not sure if that’s accurate or not.)

If you cannot squeeze in more time for fitness, start walking to work!

Try to schedule a walking meeting with your spouse, or take a 3-minute break every hour to move.

14. Listen To Your Body On Optavia

Listen to your body on Optavia is a concept that emphasizes the importance of understanding and responding to your body’s signals and needs during your weight loss journey.

This approach encourages you to view your workouts as a means to enhance energy rather than pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion or failure.

When following the Optavia program, it’s crucial to tune into your body’s signals of fatigue and give yourself adequate time to rest and recover.

It’s okay to add more recovery days if training every day feels too intense. Remember, overtraining can lead to burnout and potentially stall your progress.

15. Have fun

When I’m on Optavia, I usually give more attention to doing fun things. (This keeps my mind fresh and helps to unplug.)

You won’t see me in the gym doing the same wokrouts every day. (Yes, I don’t like to get bored.)

I like to play around and do something different. When I feel like doing something different, instead of doing any squats or push-ups, I take a balloon, tennis ball, or big pilates ball and start goofing around.

If I train with someone, I like to chase the ball, run after the balloons, tap the knee, tap the shoulder, etc.

I also like boxing, playing water polo, going to a dance class, or playing frisbee at the park with my niece and nephew.

When Can You Start Working Out On Optavia?

You can start working out on Optavia depending on your current exercise habits and medical condition. If you’re already accustomed to a regular exercise routine, Optavia guidelines state that you can continue exercising from day one.

However, if you’re new to regular physical activity, it’s advised to wait a couple of weeks before starting any exercise program. Regardless of your exercise history, Optavia strongly recommends consulting with your doctor or another healthcare professional before beginning any new exercise plan.

I started to exercise on Optavia right from day one. Although I did feel lethargic during the first week, it didn’t prevent me from doing some light form of movement. According to Optavia guidelines, “If you’re already following a well-rounded exercise plan, you can start right away.”

Is Exercise Essential On Optavia?

No, exercise on Optavia is not essential, but highly recommended. If you follow the Optavia 5 and 1 plan, it does create a negative energy balance, without having to break a sweat in the gym.

I rarely look at exercise as a weight loss tool, but rather as a way to boost my energy. According to a 2017 study by K V Vybornaya published in the Federal Research Centre of Nutrition, Biotechnology, and Foоd Safety, physical activity is responsible for 15% – 30% of calories burned.1

The rest of the calories are used for basal metabolic rate, which is the total energy needed to perform basic functions like breathing, digestion, or blood circulation.

In other words, won’t see significantly better results from extra calories burned with additional exercise.

So Optavia does work without the exercise and if you don’t like to lift weights, there are several ways to stay active.

How Much Exercise You Can Do On Optavia?

On the Optavia Active program, the recommendation is to engage in 45 minutes of light to moderate daily activity. This aligns somewhat with general physical activity guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and WHO, which suggest a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week for adults.

Additionally, these general guidelines recommend muscle-strengthening activities.

For me, exercise isn’t about intensity, but consistency. I rather spend more time doing low-impact workouts, rather than intense or strenuous exercises.

Here’s w photo of me doing pull-ups in the park across the road from my apartment.

how much should you exercise on optavia
Can you exercise on Optavia? You bet!

When I train in the park, I also like to take advantage of everything that is around me. I use outdoor gyms, benches, or boxes to make the workouts more fun and challenging. I also go to Orangetheory once to twice per week.

Here’s a photo of me doing box jumps in the outdoor gym.

photo of me doing box jumps
My exercise while on Optavia

Keep in mind that exercise in the first few weeks on Optavia does not have to be intense. If you’re a beginner, the company recommends following its EAT system.

Where can I find Optavia exercise videos online?

You can find Optavia exercise videos online on the official Optavia website and their associated social media platforms, as well as on popular video-sharing websites like YouTube.

What Are The Benefits I’ve Experienced With Practicing Optavia and Exercise?

I’ve been doing Optavia for over a year and I find that daily exercise, even if it’s only 20 minutes, helps me to combat my stress, suppress my appetite, and give me more energy.

Although I’ve been experimenting with many different diets for many years, I noticed that lifting weights with progressive overload helped to maintain my weight loss results, without losing muscle mass.

Here’s a photo of my recent wokrout when I do goblet squats in my local gym. (Yes, I’m wearing slides.)

photo of me doing squats in the gym

Here are the 6 benefits that I’ve experienced doing Optavia together with a consistent exercise plan.

1. Weight loss

Although following Optavia 5 and 1 plan is enough in itself to lose weight (without stepping foot in the gym), I prefer to train to build muscle mass. I don’t wanna be that lean and skinny guy. I rather have some muscle on me.

Here’s a photo of my progress after doing Optavia for one month.

photo of me doing optavia diet before and after

Doing Optavia and regular strength training helped me maintain my muscle mass while losing stubborn belly fat.

(My gym is 2 minutes away so I can train every day.)

One of the reasons why people lose lean muscle during weight loss is the lack of a strength training routine, according to a 2017 study by Edda Cava from Washington University School of Medicine.2

2. Lower Stress

I often feel better after just a short gym session. As much as I like being lean, I hate calorie deficit because it often makes me think more about the food.

Adding exercise was a game-changer. It helped me to control my emotions, reduce my anxiety, and focus my energy on what is important to me.

I can have many things going on in my busy life (which happens every day). But once I hit the gym and do a full-body workout, all of a sudden, my head is crystal clear and I have new power to deal with these problems.

Here’s a photo of me after the punching bag session (great to reduce stress).

picture of me doing boxing session

3. Higher Muscle mass

You can build muscle on Optavia, as long as you choose strength training as your physical activity and include extra protein.

I recommend lifting weights and doing full-body workouts with compound exercises that cover all major muscle groups like the chest, back, legs, and glutes.

Although I train every day, I spend only 3-4 days per week lifting iron.

4. Feeling less hungry

For most days, eating 5 Optavia fuelings and one solid meal makes me feel hungry. My hunger peaks around 1 pm and that’s when I often go to the gym. I noticed that after my workout (cardio or weights) my hunger levels can stay at bay.

I can easily get back to work, and wait for my meal till the late afternoon.

According to Dr. James Dorling, a Former Research Associate at Loughborough University, exercise promotes weight control, partly through effects on appetite regulation. In his 2018 study titled “Acute and Chronic Effects of Exercise on Appetite, Energy Intake, and Appetite-Related Hormones,” Dr. Dorling states “Single bouts of exercise induce a short-term energy deficit without stimulating compensatory effects on appetite.”3

5. Gives Me More Energy

I’ve noticed after workouts I can do more things, stay more focused, and be more efficient in my work.

This improves the quality of my day.

And, if I can do that every day, that’s a better quality of life. On the contrary, if I skip my workout, immediately my mood changes. I became more sensitive to things that normally wouldn’t bother me.

6. Better sleep quality

Ever since I started doing 45 minutes of low-intensity cardio sessions, my sleep improved (significantly).

Not only I can fall asleep without any issues, but I also wake up rested and feeling energized.

For my cardio, I often do walking or low-impact cycling classes on my Peloton bike.

I try to stay away from high-intensity workouts as these often get my heart rate up, make me more alert and I struggle to sleep.

According to the researcher from the University of Graz, Franziska Matzer Ph., “Physical activity has been shown to have a positive effect on stress reduction by stimulating the parasympathetic response and releasing melatonin and endorphins.”4

Dr. Matzer adds “Those hormones help you feel good and sleep better.” In her 2018 study titled “Combining walking and relaxation for stress reduction,” Dr. Matzer explains “physical activity has stress-relieving potential via lowering systolic blood pressure.”

What Is The Best Time To Exercise On Optavia?

If you’re in a position where you manage your own schedule and you can choose your exercise time during the day, then the afternoon is a winner.

For me, the best time to exercise on Optavia is between 12 pm and 3 pm.

At this time, I have enough energy to perform the exercise, and I don’t have to eat late at night. I usually keep my exercise intensity low and use my workouts as an appetite suppressant.

This way I manage to train every day, without burning out. If I have my lean and green meal in the late afternoon or early evening, around 12 pm I feel the most hungry.

(This is the perfect opportunity to plug in my workout.)

Afternoon gym sessions often energize and push me through the rest of my day, until my main meal. It helps me not to feel so hungry and clears my head from any anxiety. Also, because I eat after the meal, it doesn’t upset my stomach.

Should You Do a Workout In The Morning on Optavia?

Yes, you should do a workout in the morning on Optavia if you’re short on time later during the day and you don’t have any other option.

For the morning, start by adjusting your workout intensity. Try walking, stretching, or weight training with long rest in between.

If doing HIIT or another strenuous exercise, don’t go more than 20 minutes as it may lead to lower energy later on during the day.

I also find that morning workouts make me feel more hungry.

Initially, I feel energized and invigorated, but as the day goes by, my stamina goes down like a sinking ship

Should You Do a Workout In The Evening on Optavia?

Yes, you should do a workout in the evening on Optavia if you don’t have time earlier during the day, However, exercise in the late evening can make you feel awake at night.

It happened to me. And, if I don’t sleep well, the next day I notice poor performance, and a lower willingness to train.

Also, I try to stay away from exercise after eating. Having a big meal late in the evening does mess up my stomach.

On the other hand, if I don’t eat all day and then train and then finally get to eat, I feel exhausted. So, yes you can do a workout in the evening on Optavia, however, choose your intensity wisely. I may get away with this routine for a couple of days or even a couple of weeks.

But sooner or later, it often catches up with me, so it’s not the best idea.

When I Exercise On The Optavia diet?

I often choose to exercise in the late morning or early afternoon.

If I exercise too early, I may experience a drop in my mood and energy for the rest of the day.

If I train too late, I often have a hard time falling asleep (depending on the type of exercise).

The afternoon is my sweet spot.

Of course, this will totally depend on my workflow.

If I’m all day at work, and the only realistic time to work out is after work, then I try to change my workout plan for something relaxing.

Should I Exercise Before or After Optavia Lean and Green?

Eating your 5&1 lean and green meal after a workout can get you better results and help to reduce your appetite.

Eating your main Optavia meal right before a workout isn’t recommended.

Here’s a photo of my Saturday meal, I cannot imagine going to the gym after eating this burger and fries.

best time to exercise on optavia

According to a study published British Journal of Nutrition in June 2013, “During digestion, our body moves the blood away from the muscles and keeps it around the stomach and intestine area.”7

This is popularly called the rest and digest effect.

Exercising during this time pumps the blood away from the stomach back into the muscles and can lead to digestion problems.

“Exercising before eating leads to better fat oxidation. After exercise, the body increases insulin sensitivity and muscles absorb the majority of the glucose,” states the article.

So there is a big difference between doing Optavia before or after a workout.

For the best results, you want to eat after a workout.

Can I Exercise Twice a Day on Optavia?

No, you should not work out twice a day on Optavia if you’re doing a 5 and 1 plan becasue it provides only 800-1,000 calories per day, which is not enough for 2 workouts.

I tried to work out twice a day on Optavia 5 and 1 plan, but it didn’t bring me any extra benefits.

Instead, I felt tired and full of muscle soreness and I needed to rest for a couple of days.

On the other hand, when I’m physically active and do a lot of NEAT like light walking or stretching, it actually enhances my results and speeds up recovery.

(I also feel fewer food cravings.)

So it can be done, but be careful.

Choose the right movement with the right intensity.

I find that I prefer to stay with low intensity and be more consistent, rather than do high-intensity cardio sessions.


1 (Vopr Pitan) Vybornaya KV, Sokolov AI, Kobelkova IV, Lavrinenko SV, Klochkova SV, Nikityuk DB. Vopr Pitan. 2017;86(5):5-10. doi:10.24411/0042-8833-2017-00069

2 (Advances in Nutrition) Cava E, Yeat NC, Mittendorfer B. Preserving Healthy Muscle during Weight Loss. Adv Nutr. 2017;8(3):511-519. Published 2017 May 15. doi:10.3945/an.116.014506

3 (Nutrients Journal) Dorling, J., Broom, D. R., Burns, S. F., Clayton, D. J., Deighton, K., James, L. J., King, J. A., Miyashita, M., Thackray, A. E., Batterham, R. L., & Stensel, D. J. (2018). Acute and Chronic Effects of Exercise on Appetite, Energy Intake, and Appetite-Related Hormones: The Modulating Effect of Adiposity, Sex, and Habitual Physical Activity. Nutrients10(9), 1140.

4 (Stress and Health Journal) Matzer F, Nagele E, Lerch N, Vajda C, Fazekas C. Combining walking and relaxation for stress reduction-A randomized cross-over trial in healthy adults. Stress Health. 2018;34(2):266-277. doi:10.1002/smi.2781

5 (Frontiers in Physiology) Stöggl, T. L., & Sperlich, B. (2019). Editorial: Training Intensity, Volume and Recovery Distribution Among Elite and Recreational Endurance Athletes. Frontiers in physiology10, 592.

6 (British Journal of Nutrition) Ashtary-Larky D, Bagheri R, Abbasnezhad A, Tinsley GM, Alipour M, Wong A. Effects of gradual weight loss v. rapid weight loss on body composition and RMR: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Nutr. 2020;124(11):1121-1132. doi:10.1017/S000711452000224X

7 (British Journal of Nutrition) Farah NM, Gill JM. Effects of exercise before or after meal ingestion on fat balance and postprandial metabolism in overweight men. Br J Nutr. 2013;109(12):2297-2307. doi:10.1017/S0007114512004448

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