Everyone, from successful triathletes to mere mortals who just want to tone up and stay active ask the same question.
How many days a week should I work out?
Regardless of the end-goals, any successful fitness routine relies on doing the right things. The thing that many forget is that doing them at the right times is just as important.
On an individual level, it might be a straightforward question to answer. On a much broader scale though; every one of us is different. We are older, younger, less physically active or more so. Furthermore, we all have different fitness goals.
So, how on earth do you begin to tackle a question with a different answer every time?
How often should I workout and what should I do?
– By following some simple general guidelines that will help you plan a weekly workout schedule that works consistently and delivers results.
For those simply seeking to boost their health and fitness, as many as five days a week is okay. That might seem like a lot but remember, not every day needs to be intense. Just 30 minutes of gentle to moderate exercise can have an impact.
Experience, free time, age and health can all play a role in answering the question ‘how often should I go to the gym’. These factors must also play a role in the goals you set yourself.
Is working out 4 days a week good?
Working out 4 days a week is also a big commitment, but remember not every workout has to be a long one. The smart advice here is to set smaller, achievable goals and build from there.
For example, it might be far better to set a goal of working out 3 days each week, for around 45 minutes each session. This might be far better than, say struggling to fit in 4-5 sessions each week and getting stressed and discouraged due to lack of time.
If 3 x weekly workouts work well for you, try 4 and see how it goes. It is natural to want to build on great progress. Remember though, it is also natural to feel discouraged when we set goals that suddenly feel like a bit too much, too soon.
Is working out everyday ok?
If you are finding it hard to answer the question ‘How many days a week should I work out?’ try to avoid just plucking a number out of the ether.
There is no one size fits all answer here, just a very important combination of influencing factors:
What are your short term fitness goals?
Are you focusing on one thing, cardio for instance, or strength or a general combination of the two? Does your fitness goal come with time limits?
What does a workout look like to you? If it’s based around a healthier lifestyle, with low impact ‘casual’ workouts, then perhaps a daily workout is realistic.
If you are hitting the gym daily though, pushing yourself hard with little or no rest in between, ask yourself, is that sustainable?
Is it going to be a busy day/week/month?
Those time limits or important dates you have in mind (or in diary, on the front of the fridge etc) how adaptable are they? We all work late; we all have weeks with a lot on, such as family commitments or busy periods at work.
How are you feeling?
Setting fitness goals is an amazing thing to do; it can also represent a big change. If you’re feeling sore, tired or lacking motivation then it might be time for a rest day.
How long should workouts be?
Again, this is a question that an experienced personal trainer could fire back after learning the answers to a few simple questions. A broader helpful answer combines good old fashioned common sense with what we know about fitness.
How do you know how hard you should be pushing your limits?
How can you build on your progress in the most effective way?
For many people, a combination of strength and cardio gives them the versatility they need to do the workouts they enjoy. Strength training increases lean muscle mass, drives metabolism and more efficient calorie burn.
Cardio is of course, amazing for heart health, but it also burns calories, decreases stress and anxiety and boosts mood and mental health.
Moderate cardiovascular exercise can be done five days each week, for around 30 minutes per session; that will deliver a weekly total of 2.5 hours.
Vigorous cardio sessions should generally be done less, aim for three days each week, at least 25 minutes per workout., that’s 75 minutes of intense cardio per week.
For strength and muscle growth, you need to be hitting the gym at least three days each week. How you structure your workout depends on your current levels of fitness.
Beginners might try 2-3 days of full body training each week.
Intermediate level gym-goers could start to split workouts to focus on specific body parts ur lower/upper days.
Advanced fitness exercisers stand the best chance of sustaining 4-5 weekly sessions comfortably and safely, many opt to structure their sessions on a ‘three day’s training, one day of rest’ schedule.
How long does it take to see results in the gym?
Seeing (and feeling) results is the big goal and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, as long as it is tempered with a little patience and the will to avoid cutting corners.
Age, frequency of workout and fitness goals are all factors. However, those new to working out can often see those gains the quickest, embrace it and enjoy it. Smaller margins are the norm later down the line.
When to take a rest day
Knowing how vital it is to rest your body and mind is just as important as having the discipline to work out. Setting that time aside for at least 1-2 days each week will allow you to rest and recover physically. It will also give you a chance to refocus and rebuild mentally.
If you are considering what to do on a rest day, don’t fall into the trap of doing nothing at all. Even if you are taking vital time off from strength and cardio, you can still actively take care of your body and do things to support your fitness goals.
A stroll or cycle to work is ideal, stretches and massage are beneficial too, they all help with blood flow and circulation to aid recovery.
It doesn’t matter if your fitness goals involve becoming stronger, leaner, getting generally fitter or losing weight. Knowing when to take a rest day and how important they are can make all the difference to your fitness routine.
At Hussle, our mission is to let you work out as often as you like on your terms, with a range of Day Passes, Monthly+ Passes and memberships that work for you without the contracts. Drop by our website and have a look for yourself!