How Often Should I Exercise?

How Often Should I Exercise

My Personal Training clients ask me this important question all the time. “how often should I exercise“. The second most frequent question has to do with…wait for it…yep, how to lose weight the fastest, specifically how to lose stubborn body fat, especially in the mid-section. While proper nutrition plays a major role weight loss has a whole lot to do with the amount of days per week you exercise.

 

Fritz (pictured above) has a solid program: Two 60 minute personal training sessions per week (Level 9). Yoga two to three times per week.

 

How many days per week should I exercise?

There’s not a single answer to that question because there are some very important factors that come into play. I’ll say right up front that the answer is rarely seven days per week, unless you’re a professional athlete and you’re training every day under the supervision of a personal trainer who has designed a very structured program for you.

For everyone else asking the burning question how often should I exercise I’d suggest a maximum of six exercise days per week with one solid day of rest. A day of rest doesn’t have to be a whole day of just being lazy though, it’s still a good idea to get out and move. On the seventh day you might want to ride a bike, go for a long walk or take a scenic hike at a slow pace. You’ll notice that all of those suggestions are outdoor activities. I’m primarily and outdoor personal trainer in Long Beach CA for a reason – I love being outside and I hope you do too! Especially here in Southern California.

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How Often Should I Exercise

Factors to determine how often to exercise

The best way to figure out how many days per week you should train is to look at the type of exercise you’re doing each day. You’ll also need to take a look at your precise fitness goals.

Why are you exercising? A basic guideline

  • Weight loss: resistance training + cardio up to 7 days per week
  • General health: 3 times per week of medium exertion is adequate for most people
  • Gain mass: pack on lean muscle with weight training 5 times per week
  • Prepare for a distance contest: marathon preparation requires a ramp-up program to ensure safety. Most professionals agree starting with 2 to 3 days and gradually working up to 5 to 6 days of running is best.
  • Prepare for obstacle course or mud run: some people don’t do any prep at all but up to 6 days per week of cross training is an ideal program.

 

Mix resistance training with cardio

If you’re training with me at my Long Beach L9 Boot Camp or Individual Personal Training and you’re still wondering how often should I exercise I’ll probably suggest 4 days per week total. I’d recommend two days of what I call “straight cardio” which is a cardiovascular workout such as running, using an elliptical cross-trainer or a bike (exercise bike or the real thing outside). You’ll get some muscle training from these workouts but the main focus is simple movement and heart strengthening. Your cardio workouts will help your muscles stay loose between your personal training sessions. Those cardio workouts will actually help reduce muscle soreness from boot camp sessions too. Plus you’ll be keeping the most important muscle in your body as strong as possible – Your Heart.

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Training on your own

Going rogue and thinking how often should I exercise can be frustrating. If you don’t train with me or another fitness trainer and you’re doing your own routine I’d have to talk to you and take some notes in order to make suggestions about how often you should exercise. My recommendations will be based heavily on your fitness goals. If weight loss and fat burning are your main goals I’ll suggest my muscle confusion training style. If you are more focused on maintaining results you’ve already obtained on your own the program I’d design would still include muscle confusion but I’d also have you work out in groups such as my Boot Camp in Long Beach CA, as well as one to three maintenance 1-on-1 personal training sessions per week. My feeling on this subject is that there is a perfect program for every person, depending on their own goals and time-line. There’s not a “one size fits all” solution for fitness training.

Feel free to text me directly at 562-787-9400 or use the contact form if you want some additional advice. Best of Luck!

 

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Jed Miller
Multi-Certified Master Fitness Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor, fitness blogger and all around health and exercise nut. In addition to personal training JM has worked in the areas of health club management and corporate wellness program development for leading US pharmaceutical companies.