If you are contemplating starting a workout routine, you probably wonder how many times a week should I work out? And what should you do to get the results you are looking for? Unfortunately, there is no single answer to that question. It all depends on your fitness experience, your personal goals, and of course, the time you have available during the week.
The best workout schedule for you might look considerably different from someone else’s workout plan. While you might be tempted to model your workout routine after someone who’s been training for years, It’s not super-helpful to do so. You have to find what works for you and your body.
If you are new to the fitness world and don’t have specific goals—say, you’re looking to increase strength and endurance—some guidelines can help you develop a comprehensive workout schedule.
In this article, we’ll go over what you need to know about how often you should work out and how to make a habit out of it.
How Many Days Should You Work Out?
Since there is no universal workout schedule formula, your magic number of days depends on your current fitness experience and goals.
For example, if you have zero workout experience, you will probably see substantial results from two days a week. But if you used to work out multiple days a week and are looking to pick it up again, two workout days a week probably won’t cut it. Working out two days a week won’t challenge your body enough to make progress.
If you are striving to improve or maintain your fitness efforts, in general, three to five days a week will do the trick. Of course, if you are just getting started and have never exercised a day in your life, aim for two workouts a week and gradually increase when the time is right.
How to Turn Working Out Into a Habit?
Start by setting a realistic goal for how many times you are going to work out each week. Shooting for a bit of movement each day, even if you are not actually working out, can also help you get into the habit of being active. This can be anything from a 10-minute jog or a set of stretches.
Another important consideration is deciding exactly when you’ll work out. Take a thorough look at your schedule and figure out when you can add in your workout. For example, if your mornings are usually hectic with no time for breaks, it’s not realistic to plan on working out in the morning. If that is the case, opt for an afternoon or evening workout.
Also, listen to your body. Some people are more active in the morning, while others, not so much. Pairing your workout schedule to when you feel your most active can help you turn it into a habit and stick with it.
Weight Loss: How Often Should You Work Out?
Determining how often you should workout to lose weight depends on how fast you want to see those results. Many people opt for programs that are designed for the fastest results.
But it’s not only about working out – you need to burn more calories than you take in. That’s why dieting is so important. Dieting is an effective way to lose weight but to maintain that loss – you need to work out.
How much weight you wish to lose depends on the amount of exercise you’re willing to put in and how well you stick to your diet plan and workout schedule. If you are committed to seeing real results, you need to commit to working out four to five days per week. Yes, that much!
If you have never worked out, you need to work your way up to four days. Start with two or three days a week and slowly increase it to four or five days. Design your workouts to include a combo of the following:
- Core work
- Strength training
For the best results, a good workout program should consist of strength training and cardiovascular exercises. Lifting weights is a great way to increase lean muscle mass. Doing so allows you to boost your metabolism and burn calories at a higher rate, even when you’re inactive.
Cardiovascular exercises aren’t just crucial in maintaining optimal heart health. Cardio exercises can:
- Help burn calories faster
- Improve your mood
- Reduce stress
Generally, your workout program should have either:
- 30 minutes of semi-intense cardio exercise at least four days a week
- 25 minutes of strenuous aerobic exercise at least three days a week
If you are on a deadline and want to lose weight quicker, opt for two days of moderate cardio activity and two days of strenuous aerobic exercise or high-intensity-interval-training (HIIT).
Opt for two to three days of strength training. Add full-body workouts that concentrate on compound exercises. These are movements that work multiple muscle groups at a time. Some compound exercises include:
- Deadlift with a bent-over row
- Lunges with a lateral raise
- Squats with a shoulder press
- Push-ups and plank
Other fundamental exercises to add to your strength training program include:
- Straight leg deadlifts
- Push-up dips
- Overhead presses
So, how often should you work out? Depends! Figure out your goals, then work on your schedule. Make your health a priority, and remember to take it at your own pace. Pick the exercises that best fit your schedule, your abilities, and your goals.
Design a well-balanced plan by including weight training, stretching, and cardiovascular exercises for an all-encompassing program. Take it slow, increase the intensity gradually, and try to stick with the program.