Do you have the perfect workout routine? Were you told it’s the only one you need to get you in the best shape of your life? There actually is NO perfect plan. A perfect plan is one you can hold yourself accountable to. To show up, give it your best, and enjoy what you’re doing.
The same holds true with the amount of time spent exercising. There is nothing set in stone to say you HAVE to work out a certain number of days in order to see results. Contrary to popular belief, more isn’t always better in the gym. Fact is, you can make improvements whether you go 3, 4 or 6 times a week. If you think that it’s not worth it or a waste of time to only workout 2 or 3 times a week, that is not the case! Better to give what you’ve got then nothing at all!
Just like many things, when tackling your exercise program, it’s best to look at quality versus quantity. To make the most of YOUR time in the gym. Time is irrelevant if you are getting the work done.
This is what I consider when writing personalized gym plans for my clients and it’s what you should consider when planning your gym time. You want to make it work for YOU.
Many clients ask me if the 30 minutes they spent in the gym is sufficient enough. Reality is, as long as you’ve gone through the exercises with full intensity, enough rest in between each set and solid time under tension, it really doesn’t matter how long the workout lasts for.
I’ve written out some examples along with pros and cons to help explain how different amount of training days during should be worked around your schedule.
If you only train 3 times a week then you are going to look at a full body routine for all three days. These sessions may take a bit longer because we are aiming to hit each muscle twice a week for maximal results. While your gym sessions may take a bit longer to cover all the areas, the days off in between should ensure enough time to recover quicker and perform better. A 3 day split is great for busy people.
For me, I personally like to train 4 times a week. I have tried it all, and I feel that when I train 4 days a week, I am able to hit all my muscle groups twice a week with enough rest in between to recover. It was a bit hard for me mentally to go from training 5 or 6 days a week to 4, but when I saw the positive effects it had and that it didn’t change my body for the worse, I embraced it.
I aim for 2 strength days (to get stronger) and 2 hypertrophy days (to build size). I feel so well rested in between days that I am able to lift heavier the next time I go in for a workout and hence, am stronger for my next session. I also completely maximize my gym time as I split the days into 2 lower and 2 upper body routines. Since I am only there 4 days a week I spend a bit more time in the gym as opposed to working out 5 or 6 days.
5 Days a week is great if you don’t have as much time to spare in the gym. Since we are still aiming to hit each muscle part twice a week, a five day split gives a bit more flexibility in areas that need more help. If you want an extra leg session or an upper body session, this allows you to do so without compromising results. It’s also great if you want to take a day off or if you don’t have one of your best training sessions. Working out 5 days a week ensures a bit more flexibility.
If you are a gym rat and like to train 6 days a week you are able to hit each muscle twice or even three times a week. This leads to more volume and faster muscle size and strength gains. In addition, if you miss a day it’s not likely to deter progress. Workouts are a bit shorter so you’re able to get all of the work in without rushing. The downside to this is that you may feel burnt out quickly. You may constantly feel sore from training too much and you may not have enough time to recover in between. I like to split a 6 days routine into strength and hypertrophy days, where 3 days a week you build strength and the other 3 days you build size. At any time for a 6 day week split should you NOT train to failure as you will be back in the gym the following day.
So no matter how many days a week you are able to train, do so with optimal results. Reps, sets and total volume of weight should always be in a progression. Aim to always challenge yourself and push a bit more each week. My preferred method of training is weight lifting. The more muscle you build, the more calories you burn while resting. The more calories you burn, the leaner you will be.
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If you just need a training program head over to my Training Programs page and choose one that’s right for you! There is something for everyone over there!