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Are you struggling to find the right balance when it comes to working out? Perhaps you’re wondering how often you should exercise to reach your fitness goals or improve your overall health. The truth is, the ideal workout frequency varies for each individual and depends on several factors, such as your current level of fitness, goals, and overall health.
In this article, we’ll explore the things you should consider when determining how often should you work out for optimal gain, including what types of workouts you should do and how often.
Things to Consider About Workout Frequency
Before diving into the specifics of exercise frequency, it’s essential to consider some key factors. These include your fitness level and workout goals.
Your Fitness Level
Your level of fitness plays a crucial role in determining how often you should work out. If you’re new to exercise, you may need to start slow and gradually increase the intensity and frequency of your workouts. On the other hand, if you’ve been exercising regularly for a while, you may be able to handle more intense and frequent workouts.
Your Workout Goals
Your workout goals will also influence your optimal workout frequency. Are you trying to build muscle, lose weight, or improve your overall health? Each of these goals requires a different approach, and the amount of exercise you need to achieve them will vary.
What are Cardio and Strength Training?
Now let’s take a look at the two main types of exercises – cardio and strength exercises.
Cardiovascular exercises, also known as cardio, are exercises that increase your heart rate and work your cardiovascular system. These include exercises such as running, cycling, swimming, jumping rope, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
Cardio exercise is essential for improving cardiovascular health and burning calories. Moderate and vigorous aerobic activity, such as cardio workouts, circuit training, and moderate-intensity activity, can help you burn fat, keep your calorie burn high, and improve overall fitness.
Strength training, on the other hand, involves using lifting weights or resistance to build muscle and increase strength. These include exercises such as weightlifting, bodyweight training, push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, deadlifts, bench presses, and resistance training.
How Often to Do Each Training
Now that we know what types of exercises to do, the next question is how often to do each type of training. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week, plus muscle-strengthening activities at least two days per week.
For cardiovascular exercise, it’s generally recommended to work out three to five times per week, with at least 30 minutes per session. However, you can adjust this based on your level and goals. For example, if you’re training for a marathon, you may need to run six days a week.
For strength workouts, it’s generally recommended to work out each muscle group two to three times per week, with at least one rest day in between sessions. Again, you can adjust this based on your level and goals.
Workout intensity is a key consideration for achieving your fitness goals, whether it be weight loss, muscle growth, or maintaining weight loss. To build lean muscle mass and promote muscle hypertrophy, resistance training and full-body workouts are important to work multiple muscles and target both upper and lower bodies.
Compound exercises, which work for multiple muscle groups, are particularly effective in building muscle and burning more calories.
What Does a Balanced Cardio and Strength Exercise Schedule Look Like?
A balanced cardio and strength exercise schedule will vary depending on your level and individual goals. However, a general guideline is to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio exercise and two strength training sessions per week.
Here’s a sample weekly schedule for each fitness level:
|Monday||30 minutes of cardio (e.g., brisk walking, cycling) and total body strength training|
|Wednesday||30 minutes of cardio and lower-body strength training|
|Friday||30 minutes of cardio and upper-body strength training|
|Sunday||30 minutes of cardio and total body strength training|
|Monday||45 minutes of cardio (e.g., running, elliptical) and total body strength training|
|Wednesday||45 minutes of cardio and lower-body strength training|
|Thursday||Rest day or cardio upper-body sessions|
|Friday||45 minutes of cardio and upper-body strength training|
|Sunday||45 minutes of cardio and total body strength training|
|Monday||60 minutes of cardio (e.g., HIIT, rowing) and total body strength training|
|Wednesday||60 minutes of cardio and lower-body strength training|
|Thursday||Rest day or optional yoga or stretching session|
|Friday||60 minutes of cardio and upper-body strength training|
|Sunday||60 minutes of cardio and upper-body strength training|
In general, it’s important to prioritize physical activity for health and well-being and to find a workout routine that is sustainable and enjoyable for you. Doing the same exercises for the same body segments may do more harm to your body. Best to mix your daily routine like a Monday upper body, Tuesday lower body, Friday lower body or cardio, Sunday rest, etc.
By incorporating compound movements, strength exercises, cardiovascular training, flexibility, and mobility exercises, such as yoga or stretching into your routine, you can burn calories more effectively and promote muscle gain and maintenance.
It’s important to note also not to risk overtraining. Rest days are crucial for muscle recovery and injury prevention, so make sure to include them in your weekly schedule.
Is It Good to Workout Every Day?
Working out every day isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s also not necessary.
If you’re new to working out and your body isn’t used to it yet, don’t push yourself too hard. It’s important to get enough rest and go easy on yourself for at least a week before trying an exercise routine that involves high-intensity or heavy lifting.
If you’ve been working out regularly but feel like there’s still room for improvement in terms of how much weight or duration of time you can handle in one session—or if something feels off with your body—then try switching up what days/times of the week you work out so that there aren’t any days when things just don’t feel right (i.e., nausea).
How Many Days a Week Should You Workout?
This is a question that can be difficult to answer, as there are so many factors involved. For example, if you have a lot of other responsibilities and commitments in life, then it may not make sense for you to commit more than 3 days per week. However, if your goal is simply to get stronger or leaner and maintain weight loss (or both), then working out 4 times per week would be sufficient.
The best way I’ve found for determining how many days per week I should work out is based on my personal goals: If my goal was simply losing weight without gaining muscle mass or improving other aspects of my life such as strength-training skills or endurance running abilities, then three times per week seemed like enough time spent exercising—provided that each session was relatively short (30 minutes at most).
Is Working Out 3 Days a Week Enough?
When it comes to working out, no rule says you have to do it every day. If you feel like exercising three times a week is too much for your schedule, then that’s fine! But if you find yourself starting the day with an early morning workout and ending with a late-night cardio session, maybe consider cutting back on some days so that they don’t get canceled completely.
You will be able to keep up with your goals by setting reasonable expectations for yourself. For example: “I want my abs to look good in six months” isn’t realistic—unless someone has already seen them and told me they were beautiful (which I doubt).
Instead, try something like “I’ll be able to see my six-pack soon.” Then when time passes and nothing changes except our expectations go up again because we haven’t kept up on our workouts…that’s when we should start feeling guilty about not sticking around long enough!
Is Working Out 30 Minutes a Day Enough to Lose Weight?
According to the American Council on Exercise, you need to exercise at least three times a week for weight loss. That means you’re looking at about 30 minutes of physical activity per day if you want to keep your body lean and toned over time.
If all you do is go for a walk around the block after work (or even better, take advantage of some nearby trails), that’s not enough! You need more than just walking—and there are plenty of ways that can be done without making yourself feel like death while doing so.
Important: Get Enough Rest and Go Easy on Yourself
We can’t emphasize this enough but it’s important to get enough rest and go easy on yourself. Take care of yourself, and you’ll be able to exercise more often. This can be difficult when you have a busy schedule and no time for a personal trainer.
If you’re feeling stressed out or fatigued, it’s probably best not to work out right away—but don’t skip meals or forget about water as well (especially if it’s hot outside).
While it’s important to challenge yourself with vigorous activity and strength sessions, it’s equally important to let your body recover on rest days. Over-training can increase the risk of injury and may result in losing muscle, so it’s important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard.
Ultimately, the frequency and duration of your exercise depend on your goals, fitness level, and lifestyle. 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week would do. However, elite athletes or those looking to build muscle may need to increase resistance training frequency and workout days to see muscle gains.
There’s no hard and fast rule. The most important thing is to do what works for your body and your goals—and if that means keeping it simple with a few workouts spread out over the week, great!