One of the most frequently asked questions when a new client comes to train is “how many times a week should I work out?” A question so simple to answer may be slightly more complex than you think. Lots of factors may influence training frequency. These may include training age, chronological age, quality and quantity of sleep, hormonal status, family stress, work-related stress, money-related stress, diet, nutrition, etc. These are only what may directly affect the client, we also have to include the client’s desired fitness goals. Is it fat loss, mass, and strength, rehabilitation, or general physical preparedness? Once the client and trainer determine the client’s lifestyle factors and fitness goals, the trainer can formulate an optimal training frequency.
Training Goals & Frequency
For ease of determining training frequency, let’s assume we are in a vacuum and no outside stressors play a significant role. So how many times a week should we train?
For general physical preparedness and rehabilitation, optimal training frequency is recommended to be 2-3x/week with at least 24-72 hours of recovery between major muscle groups worked.
For strength gains, 2-4x/week is optimal while mass may need only 2-3x/week for an extra day of recovery.
Lastly, fat loss. Fat loss responds well to a training frequency of 3-6x/week. The more frequency of training, the higher the caloric expenditure and EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), and the higher the chances that fat loss may occur.
It’s Time to Get After It!
Training frequency is just one of many pieces of the puzzle. Things change and come up. Life isn’t perfect and will most likely not go as planned. But as a client, if you can stick to these guidelines as closely as possible, then you will achieve your goals more efficiently. Don’t know where to start, come by and have an initial consultation to determine what will work for you!
MS, CSCS, USAW, CFL2