Ever wonder how many days a week you should workout for the best results? With all the different information and opinions out there it can get confusing to know what’s right for you.
The answer is going to depend on your goals, your training history, and most of all, your time commitment. Let’s start with the most important one first.
The best workout plan is one you can stick to long term. What’s optimal is not always what’s sustainable. If you have a spouse, kids, a full time job, and a hobby, trying to workout 6 days a week for an hour and a half could be a set up for failure.
Creating a workout schedule that fits into your life and can be stuck to long term is always going to be best. While very high frequency workouts definitely have their place, unless you are a competitive bodybuilder or athlete it’s likely not realistic or necessary for most people.
Even if it can be maintained for a short while there are bound to be times where life gets in the way. Look at your schedule, see what days you have gaps even if they are as little as ten minutes. Then figure out how high of a priority working out and getting in shape is.
Goals and Preferences
Your goals and workout preference are also going to determine how often you work out.
For Weight Loss you may benefit from more frequent days of cardio alternating with strength training. Someone with an aggressive fat loss goal may do something like 3 days of strength training with 3 days of low intensity cardio.
This would be for a person that really enjoys training and has the time for it. Someone with a little less time could do 2 days of strength training with 2 days of high intensity cardio. Both setups could lead to the similar amounts of calories burned although it’s typically easier at higher frequencies.
The lower frequency would have to work at a much higher intensity to create as much calorie expenditure. On the other hand if someone has a goal of weight loss and only one or two days to workout, their best bet would be to focus on diet.
Gaining Muscle and Strength also comes down to preference but takes into account your level of fitness. Someone with years of strength training experience can train at relatively low frequency and make comparable gains as a high frequency approach. Experienced trainees can use very high intensity efforts that take a long time to recover from.
Whereas most times, those new to training have to still master the movements they are performing before working at higher intensity. This typically means those new to training can do better at higher frequencies to practice movements and form the new habit of working out.
In this case training at least 3 times a week and preferably doing some form of light aerobic activity such as walking on days off could be better. Whereas when one gets advanced doing as little as one or two workouts a week can still lead to consistent gains in strength and muscle over time.