Question: "How many days per week should I workout to see results?"
Christian Agudelo, ACSM - CPT
Results are generally goal driven. In order to see results, the individual must understand what their goals are and set the expectations around those goals. The frequency of the workouts will vary for each person depending on what they are looking for. Ideally you want to be doing something just about every single day of the week. Whether its strength training, cardio or just some basic activity. For those individuals with specific goals such as weight loss, building lean muscle, improving cardiovascular endurance the frequency of exercise is very important. Most people will see results on a minimum 3x per week strength training program. That also includes adding cardiovascular exercise on either the same day as their strength workout or on opposite days. For people looking to build muscle mass and strength a typical program would revolve around 3-5 days of specific muscle group strength training with cardiovascular exercises built in. Many individuals who have reached their goals or aren’t looking to make extreme changes in their body will gravitate to a “maintianance” type of program. Generally strength training about 2x per week and still adding cardio on the off days. They won’t see major changes right away or as quickly as someone on a 3-5 day per week schedule, but they will be able to maintain a decent level of fitness. As stated earlier, results revolve around goal setting and the motivation of the individual. Each person is different so it is important to have a plan in place and to set the expectations around those goals.
Earvin Bahena, NSCA- CSCS
The number of days per week to workout depends on the person’s goal and their understanding of what is needed to get there. The frequency goes hand and hand to what they want to achieve, whether it is weight loss, muscle gain or they want to “maintain”. Ideally you should be doing some sort of physical activity daily like strength training or cardio to help reach any goal that you have. Someone with the mindset of losing weight should be aiming for a frequency of 3-4 times a week for strength training along with 4-6 times a week of cardio. For someone trying to add muscle, the idea is to focus on the major muscle groups with frequency of 3-5 times a week with cardio built into the program as well. There will be those that want to maintain and stay at their current fitness level and the ideal frequency is about 2 times a week with cardio on the off days. These clients will be able to continue on track as long as they maintain their frequency. Like mentioned before each client’s workout frequency will vary depending on their set goals and it is important to understand what it needed to be done to accomplish those goals.