Written by Jamie Bantleman
How Often Should You Workout
There is no set amount of time per week one should workout as it is highly dependent on the subject. If you are someone who has a sedentary lifestyle such as long days behind the desk in an office whilst maintaining poor diet choices alongside a highly stressful lifestyle.
When looking at how many days per week and the intensity that you should be training at you should consider the 3 following points:
1. How many hours of sleep are you getting per night to ensure quality rest and recovery?
You should be aiming between 7-9 hours of sleep per night to ensure you are getting enough rest to allow for recovery between training sessions. Depending on how many sessions per week you are training, sleep at night is vital to decrease cortisol (stress) which will in turn improve your ability to grow lean muscle mass and decrease body fat. A lack of sleep will reduce the chance of improving your body composition, and training more than your body can realistically handle can very easily lead to a negative in terms of fat loss.
2. Does your diet allow you to be receiving the correct nutrients and vitamins to ensure a high level of energy and recovery?
On a daily basis, we should be fuelling our bodies to ensure we can maintain an active lifestyle. To do this, you should be eating a balanced diet that is effective for your body type and your goal. Whether your diet is based around a high fat and high protein with low sugars or if you actually need a high GI load in your diet you should maintain this to improve your ability to train harder for longer. If you are eating poorly and your intake of nutrients is low then you are likely going to have to reduce the amount of expenditure in terms of training levels.
3. Does your day to day lifestyle allow enough time to workout without an increased level of stress?
Cortisol can increase when training levels are high and rest time is too low. Cortisol can reduce the amount of muscle by attacking the cell of the muscle. This causes muscular atrophy. If this occurs you are likely to see a poorer body composition and the aesthetic look although training levels may be higher than before. Day to day life may also mean you have a lot of stress from work, family or other ongoing issues, therefore increasing stress by training on a daily basis may cause bigger problems than before.
The above factors should always be considered before taking part in a training programme as when you are spending time in the gym it must be effective and efficient.
If you are finding that the factors are all in check, you should look to train 2-3 times per week if you are a beginner, 4 times per week for an intermediate trainee and 5-6 times per week for an advanced trainee. Although you can train twice per day for 10-14 day maximum the guidelines above are set in order to continue on a daily basis throughout the year.
You should aim to train do a metabolic conditioning session, upper body session and lower body session when planning in your weekly session if you are simply looking at achieving a better level of fitness and body composition. You can then add in sessions such as an arms session, olympic lifting, extra upper body or lower body and steady state cardio sessions.
What ever the priority is, you should maintain a focus on this, for example if you want to grow your legs, make sure you are training legs more often than anything else.
Training Plan Example:
Goal: Grow Quads and Hamstrings by 5 inches
Time Frame: 6 Weeks
Monday: Legs (Strength Programme)
Tuesday: Upper Body
Thursday: Legs (High Volume)
This would help you get enough rest and recovery, therefore help you achieve muscular hypertrophy. This is a very important factor in how often you should be training.