Well, the answer is: it depends.
It depends on how fast you want to see results. It depends on the type of results you are looking for. It also depends on what you are doing with the rest of your time away from the gym. Are you dialing in your nutrition?
We recommend working out AT LEAST 3x/ Week and up to 5x/ Week in order to see results in a timely manner. Exercising more frequently also helps form a habit by building it into your regular routine.
Think about it this way. If you are working out 2x/ Week, and you add in one extra session to make it 3x/ week – you have increased your frequency of exercise by 50%. If you choose to begin coming 4x/ Week, that’s a 100% increase in your training. You have effectively doubled your training and may see results twice as fast.
Surely this is easier said than done as we all have busy schedules. However in the grand scheme of your week, you are only looking at 3-5 hours out of 168 available hours in a week. Which leads me to my next point…
Even if you are working out 3-5 days a week – you are spending roughly 3% of your time in the gym. If you want to see results – weight loss, improved energy, muscle gain, etc. – then we MUST consider what you are doing the other 97% of your time.
If you want to lose weight and you come to the gym 5x/ week to exercise and burn fat, but do not properly fuel your body via nutrition or spend the weekends eating poorly and drinking alcohol – it will take much longer to lose weight or see improvements in your training performance.
If you want to improve your posture and mechanics, and you spend one hour each day in the gym strengthening your posture, but seven hours that same day hunched over at a desk – then it will take much longer to correct your posture and habits, if it happens at all.
In order to create a new and healthy “lifestyle,” your healthy habits must transcend just your time inside the gym and become a part of your life. This doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect – not at all! Balance is important in creating a sustainable lifestyle and every case varies based on individual goals and priorities.
If you would like to lose 20 pounds, but also want to enjoy your weekends going out for a few drinks and socializing with friends – that is fine! A good game plan for reaching your goal may be to exercise 3x/ Week and follow a nutrition plan that is more disciplined during the week and allows for some flexibility on the weekends.
In this case, maybe we accomplish your 20 pound goal in 4 months. If you wanted to accomplish your goal in 2-3 months, you could workout 4x/ week and follow your nutrition plan through the weekends as well. It’s all about individual goals and what works for you.
So, in conclusion, how often you should exercise to see results is highly dependent on what you want to accomplish and how quickly you want to make it happen. It is also necessary to consider what trade-offs you are willing to make along the way.
Goals don’t just have to consist of losing weight, or changes in body composition. It could be learning a new skill and getting your first Pull Up or Muscle Up. It could be reaching a new One Rep Max Back Squat or Clean and Jerk.
If you still have questions as to how often you should be exercising to reach your particular goal, or want help creating a plan to get there faster – reach out to a coach today to schedule a Free Strategy Session.