Like most things in fitness, the answer to “how many days a week should you work out” is very vague: it depends.
I know. Not the easy answer you are looking for. But it is the honest one.
When it comes to creating a training program, the amount of time you spend in the gym across a week has everything to do with what your schedule allows.
So really, the answer to the question posed above is a question to ask yourself: “On my busiest week, how many days and hours could I actually commit to?”
Now this answer is going to vary person to person and there is no right or wrong answer.
It is all about what you can firmly commit to and stay consistent with week over week, month over month (because at the end of the day, consistency is king/queen for results).
As long as your program accounts for the amount of days you can commit to, then progress can be made. A good training program can be condensed into one day or spread out across 5 if needed.
Start with the minimum you can commit to. You can always add in more days.
Now look, you are probably here because you are looking for a recommendation without having to go through that thought experiment.
We have you covered.
The dirty little secret of the fitness industry: for the vast majority of us, progress can be made training 2-3 times a week (and hey if you want a 4th day in there because you can, go wild).
Yep. That is it.
2-3 times a week will do the trick for most of us.
I know what you are thinking: “But more is better!”. Not always. In this case, more might actually be slowing progress.
The more we do in the gym, the more we have to recover from outside of it, really dialing in our nutrition, hydration, and sleep. If we are not the best at those to begin with, or simply do not have the time to dedicate to those things, then “more” in the gym might not be the answer.
Instead of “more” in the gym, dedicate that time to focus on your recovery.
Get that extra hour of sleep. Dedicate more time to meal prep. Go for a walk outside.
Even though those activities are not time spent in the gym, they will directly benefit the time you do spend in the gym, allowing results to come at a faster rate.
So all of that is well and good, but what is the take home here?
Find something that works for you and a schedule you can be consistent with.
Remember to ask yourself: ““On my busiest week, how many days and hours could I actually commit to?” and go from there, you can always add more gym time if and when your schedule allows.
Above all, just start and commit. No one ever got to where they wanted to go by just standing still.
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