As long as there’s still gym’s around, there'll be people telling you what you should do, and how often you should do it. But what works for one person, might not be the same thing that would work for another person. For this article I will cover the basics of how many times the average person should be working out each week.
First lets define what I mean by working out
Working out, in this case, can be anything from cardio, to weight lifting, to playing sports, swimming, etc… The idea is that you’d have a greatly elevated heart rate for at least 30 minutes, and anywhere up to 1.5 hours.
For beginners and people new to exercise
If you’re new to working out, it seems pretty obvious that you don’t want to start by working out 6 days per week. It will always be best to ease your way into it, taking at least one day off in between each workout for at least the first few weeks. During this time you’d ideally be working out 3 days per week. However there are still exceptions to this. If for example you workout for the first time and are extremely sore for the following 3 days, you do not want to workout until that soreness has almost completely subsided. If during the first week or two you only get 2 workouts in, that's perfectly fine. But you should also know that in the near future only getting exercise 2 times per week simply will not be enough.
When you’re no longer a beginner
By now you’ve been working out regularly for a little while and going 2-3 times per week. Some days the soreness will be worse than others, but other days you’ll find that you’re able to workout on back to back days. Now is the time when you should aim to workout 4 days per week, but if you only hit 3 that's still pretty good! By this point your cardiovascular system should be improved and you should be able to workout for 45min-1hr at a time (taking breaks of course in between).
When you’re finally in better shape and the soreness is never as bad
Sweet you made it here, and that's great! You’ve been working out steadily now for a couple months and you notice that you’re less exhausted at the end of each workout, and there is very rarely soreness the following day so you’re able to do more back-to-back days of exercise. Now you should be getting 4-5 days per week of exercise no problem! Remember, exercise doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re lifting heavy weight 5 days per week, but that you’re heart rate is elevated for 45min-1hr from any activity listed above.
“But I don’t have time”
Bullshit... if your health is a priority, make time.
So lets recap…
2-3 days per week starting out is perfectly fine, and you should expect to be sore for a couple days after each workout. After about a month or so 3-4 days per week of exercise should be your new goal. You’ll occasionally still feel quite sore the next day and you should take that day off. Finally, a few months down the road, you’re now aiming for 4-5 days per week of exercise.
6 days per week is pushing it (because you’re not giving the body enough time to repair and recover in this case for most people), and 7 days a week is an absolute no-no. There is no need for that, so take a rest day once in a while, and your gains will thank you.
Pretty basic stuff here for the most part, but still very important information especially for those of you who are just getting started on your health and fitness journey and have no idea what to expect.
If you’d like to discuss anything further, you know I am an open book, and would love to chat!
Thanks and until next time, keep it healthy!
Owner and Head Trainer
Fitness Fusion Easthampton