So you’ve got goals, and you’re fired up to accomplish them.
Will working out a lot help you do it?
The answer is “maybe.”
To give you a more precise answer, we’ll need to dig in and consider a few variables: your fitness level, your goals, and your recovery.
Your Fitness Level
If you’re new to working out, you don’t have to train a huge amount to get results.
Even one session a week has benefits, but two or three will be much better. Four or five might be overwhelming and even counterproductive.
If you’re very experienced in the gym or very fit, you might have to train four or five times a week to get the best results.
The reason for this difference is that your body adapts to training over time, and if you haven’t trained a lot, a little dose of exercise will produce a significant response. When you reach a higher level of fitness, you have to do more work to stimulate the body to make changes.
But don’t worry: You definitely don’t have to work out all the time. The majority of our clients at One Life work out two to four times a week with personal training or group strength classes and they get incredible results.
The next variable: your exact goals.
If your goal is general fitness, two to four workouts a week will be just fine.
But if your goals are more specific, we might adjust that plan.
For example, a top weightlifter who’s looking to compete at a very high level might work out five or more times a week. Some elite fitness competitors will even work out twice a day. But this level of training isn’t required by most people.
Another example: A person wants to reach a certain fitness level by a certain date. Perhaps that client wants to run a marathon or compete in an obstacle-course race. We might add in some extra sessions to ensure the person is ready on race day.
But, again, you can make significant progress toward general health and fitness goals with two to four workouts per week. You don’t need to train every day—and, in fact, you probably shouldn’t. Read on!
Simple sports science: When you work out, you stress the body and cause it to make repairs and improvements. Those improvements increase your fitness level.
But you have to give the body time to make these adjustments, and you have to give it the “supplies” it needs to do so.
So if you do a tough workout, you’ll need to sleep well, eat well, and give your body enough time to repair itself. If you don’t, you’ll slow or even reverse progress.
An example: A very motivated person wants to get fitter, so he trains twice a day every day. He’s a busy parent and doesn’t get a lot of sleep. And sometimes he eats poorly. If he keeps going like this, his body won’t be able to recover from all the training. He’ll be sore and cranky, and performance will deteriorate. He might even get injured.
More isn’t always better, better is better. You must remember that your body actually improves itself after the workout, not during the workout. If you don’t give it the things it needs to adapt to exercise stress, you won’t get closer to your goals.
You want “just enough” training, and then you need the right amount of rest and recovery. In some cases, 24 hours of recovery will do. In other cases, 48 are required. And some people need longer breaks if they’ve just finished a series of very hard workouts that stressed the same parts of the body repeatedly.
A Coach Can Help!
That’s a lot to think about, and it can be challenging to figure everything out alone.
Good news: We have personal trainers with years of experience working with all kinds of people who have all kinds of goals, and we can tell you exactly how often you need to train to accomplish your personal goals. You don’t have to guess.
The best plan is to meet with us and tell us what you want to accomplish and how you’ve trained in the past (don’t worry if you haven’t done any training).
From there, we’ll give you an exact plan that will help you move toward your goals fast. We’ll tell you how often you need to train, how much rest you need, and even which foods will help you recover in time for the next workout.
So take these three things from this post:
- More isn’t always better. Some people need more workouts and some need fewer workouts.
- You must always give your body time to adapt to exercise.
- A coach can tell you exactly how much workout time and recovery time you need to accomplish your goals.