The first thing to consider when determining how often you should workout is: what works for you right now? This is often the most overlooked factor.
Consider your current phase of life
Do you have more time you can allocated to working out or is your life right now super busy? If you just became a new parent or started a new job, you may not be able to workout as often as you once did. Do not aim for what someone else is doing because you saw it worked for them. Do what will work for you.
What is realistic?
Once you analyze your current phase of life, deicide what is a realistic amount of times for you to workout each week that you can maintain.
Too often, people think more is better but that's not necessarily true. You do not need to hit the gym 6-7 days a week to see results. You can make amazing progress going 2-4x week with proper programing. Don't underestimate the power of starting small.
Where are you now?
How many workouts are you getting each week right now? Don't aim for 5 days a week if you're struggling to get 2. It's important to set realistic expectations. It only causes stress and makes you feel bad if you aren't maintaining what you set out for yourself. This often leads to feeling discouraged right away. When the task at hand feels impossible to reach, it often results in quitting before you've even started.
Whatever goal you have, its important to view your actions to get there as a lifestyle change. Reaching a physical goal takes time. It usually takes much longer to reach than we think it will. Its not only going to take a few weeks of workouts or even a few months. Often physical goals can take many months and even years to achieve depending on where you are in your journey.
Once you achieve the goal, do you plan to maintain your progress? If so, you must continue putting in the work. For this reason, It's important to view your routines and habits as a lifestyle change. You can't cheat your way there.
Now that you have analyzed how many days per week you can maintain, how much time do you have to complete your workouts? Be honest with yourself. You don't need 2 hours per workout to see progress. You can get amazing results with 30 minutes to 1 hour at a time.
If your reading that and thinking its already too much, do what works for you. Maybe you don't have 30 minutes, but you do have 10.
Do what you can, It all adds up. If you did 10 minutes/day x 4 days/week= 40 minutes of activity. If your starting at 0 imagine what an extra 40 minutes a week could do for you? Something is always better than nothing.
1x per week: This may not seem like much but if its all you can fit in right now, you can still get stronger, improve your mobility and overall physical health. Of course progress going once a week will be slow but slow is better than not trying at all.
2x per week: This is a great goal. With full body workouts, you can stimulate various muscles groups more than once a week which is needed for growth. You will see slow but steady progress going 2 times per week.
3x per week: You will see faster more steady progress going 3 times per week rather than 2. Stick with full body workouts in order to see maximum progress.
4-5x per week: You will see faster progress going 4-5 times per week. At this rate you can split your workouts a bit differently in order to increase variety and make sure your not over working yourself. Some common workout splits at this rate/week= split into upper body/lower body or push days/pull days. These splits can allow you to spend more time on different areas and increase the variety of exercises in your program.
6-7x per week: Working out this often has its benefits though it depends on your program. If you're including mobility and some light-moderate cardio along with weightlifting, you will see faster and very steady progress. If you're only weight lifting heavy 6-7 times per week, I would argue that it's not necessary and could do more harm than good as you don't have enough recovery time.
You want to make sure with any program that you allow enough time for your body to recover. This is where rest days are really important. A rest day doesn't mean laying on the couch all day, but it could mean going for a light walk, or even doing mobility exercises.
The purpose of rest days is not only to recover, its also so your body can adapt. If you're only just recovering from your lifts, you're going too hard and need to take it down a notch so your body can adapt to the stress and get stronger.
Ensure your success
To ensure your successful, be as consistent as possible. Consistency is key to change. The best way to stay consistent with your workouts each week is to plan when and where. At the start of each week, make a plan for when you will do activity and be specific.
Ex. I will do (30 minutes) of (type of activity) on (this day) at (this time) in (this place).
Someone who has a plan for the week is way more successful than someone winging it. By scheduling & writing down the what, when & where, you are much more likely to follow through.
Not sure where to start? Looking for a coach or program? Don't hesitate to reach out.
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