LAST UPDATED: December 9th, 2020
The 4 most common questions my clients ask me on their first training are:
1. How can I lose weight fast?
2. How can I build muscles fast?
3. How many sets and reps should I do?
4. How often should I work out per week?
I’ve been getting many questions regarding workout frequency lately, so I decided to share my experience with you.
At the end of this article, you can see a plan of workouts based on how often you are planning to exercise per week.
So, let’s start.
Another common question is:
Is it enough to work out 3 times a week?
The answer: 3 times a week is better than nothing, but to get great results you need to work out at least 4 times a week.
Which brings us to the fact that the number of workouts depends on your goals and abilities.
The 2 main reasons why people start exercising is to lose weight or to gain muscles.
So, how often should you workout at the gym based on your goals?
If you want to lose weight you need to work out 4-5 times a week.
Ideally, 5 times.
But, you need to focus on cardio exercise, too besides on weightlifting.
You should do 3 strength workouts+ 2 cardio workouts.
And by cardio I mean running, cycling.
To gain muscle mass you need to work out at least 3 times a week.
In general, the optimal number of workouts should be 3-6 times a week, depending on your fitness, your body build, and how eager you are to achieve your goal. (1)
If you want to gain muscle mass then you shouldn’t exaggerate with cardio exercises for sure.
One cardio training per week is pretty enough.
What you SHOULDN’T do?
The frequency of your workout is complex since it depends on many factors, but one thing is sure, you shouldn’t work out 7 days a week! (2)
You need to rest at least 2 days a week.
Even though you might think resting is pointless, trust me it’s equally important as training.
Also, the rest between sets is important too.
You can read more about this here.
What are the tips for beginners?
If you’ve never weight lifted then the best thing for you is to train 3 times a week, your whole body.
It’s not that easy to gain muscle mass if you are a beginner and your muscles need more time to regenerate after training.
The most important rules about the number of your workouts:
- Work out at least 3 times a week, no matter what your goal is.
- It’s better to do a few good workouts than many bad ones. This is the most common beginners’ mistake.
- If your goal is to lose weight then you need to increase the number of workouts per week.
Here you can see my tips on how your training should look like depending on the number of workouts per week:
3 workouts per week
- The first day (Monday) – upper body (chest, back, shoulder)
- The second day (Wednesday) – leg day
- The third day (Friday) – whole body
Work out every other day (Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday).
This is important because your body needs one day between workouts to recover.
Also, you can see how to combine muscle groups when you are working out here.
4 workouts per week
If you work out 4 times a week then you can divide your workouts on upper and lower body exercises.
Do your upper body 2 days and your lower body the other 2 days.
- Monday: lower body workout, focus on quadriceps exercises.
- Tuesday: upper body workout, the focus in on chest and shoulders
- Wednesday: rest
- Thursday: lower body, focus on your thighs and gluteus
- Friday: upper body, the focus in on your back
You can add running or any other cardio exercise, for no more than 20 minutes, after each of these workouts.
5 workouts per week
- Monday: chest and triceps
- Tuesday: leg day
- Wednesday: cardio day
- Thursday: rest
- Friday: back and shoulders
- Saturday: cardio day
- Sunday: rest