When you begin a fitness routine you may ask yourself how often should I exercise? Do I need to workout on a daily basis or is it enough to do 3 workouts a week? How many times a week should I do cardio and how many weight lifting sessions? How much rest should I get between one workout and the next?
These are the questions that we’ll cover in this article. By the end of it you will know how often you should exercise and how different training methods differ in this regard.
How Often Should You Workout To Lose Weight
There are two sorts of exercises that you should do in order to lose weight: cardio workouts and strength training. While you can lose weight with just cardio or strength training, it would be better to combine the two.
When you do strength training you’re developing your muscles in a destructive-building process: during your workouts you’re actually creating small tears in your muscle fibers. These tears are then healed naturally by your body during rest and result in a stronger, healthier, and sometimes bigger muscle tissue.
Without rest the muscles cannot heal themselves; the tears cannot mend. This is why it is not recommended to do weight training sessions day after day. You can train different body parts one day after the next, but not the same.
Some people do 6 strength training sessions per week, using a split-training routine in which they train different muscle groups in each successive workout. This is very time consuming and it is usually done by people who are training for an athletic event of some sorts or eager to build a lot of muscle tissue — or gym addicts. This is often counter-productive as you’re not giving your muscles sufficient time to rest.
A better and more time-efficient routine would involve doing 3 total body workouts each week, during each of which you train your whole body. This allows you more time for rest and also gives you the ability to do stronger workouts due to that rest.
I use a total body workout routine and do 3 strength workouts each week. I find that this doesn’t consume too much time and still gives me a solid and intense overall routine.
Cardio differs from strength training as it can be done every day. Indeed, people who train for a marathon may run over 10 kilometers nearly every day. For people with less ambitious cardio goals, however, this may be unnecessary and even detrimental. It may place too much strain on your joints and tendons and it isn’t required to lose weight. Doing 2-3 intense cardio workouts each week is quite enough to get a great looking body.
In my 30 day guide to lose 10 pounds I talk about a 5 day a week workout routine comprising 3 strength training sessions and 2 cardio workouts. Two days of rest are included each week, though it is possible to squeeze in an additional cardio workout.
Intensity Vs. Frequency
One of the things you need to consider is that the more frequently you train the less intense your workouts may be. I say may because the intensity of your workouts depends on your mental state as well as on your energy stores. However, it shouldn’t surprise you that it will not be easy to do a high intensity workout day after day.
Intensity and frequency both are important for weight loss. However, it often pays to drive up the intensity and reduce frequency in order to get a bigger metabolic boost and to keep your entire routine time efficient.
A similar thing occurs when you need to consider the actual length of each of your workouts: you can do short and very intense ones or longer ones with a lower intensity. Both forms are effective, yet one is certainly less time consuming.
Note: there is a limit to this. Doing one workout a week is not good, even if this is a very intense workout. In fact, such a routine may lead to injury. Three workouts a week is a bare minimum.
Gradual Buildup and Rest
When you consider how often should you exercise you need to take into account your current fitness level. If you’re just starting out you need to build it up gradually. Make sure you’re comfortable with a certain fitness regimen before you push yourself harder.
Rest must be a part of your routine. A weekly rest day (or two) is highly recommended.
The Bottom Line
Your training frequency should fit your lifestyle. You need to strive for a high intensity routine that does not consume a lot of time. Training should be done often and it should be done in a structured way, allowing your muscles to rest properly.
Workout regularly and with a gradually increasing level of intensity. This is how you will burn off more body fat.