How Often Should I Go to the Gym?
Time to read 7 min
Time to read 7 min
How often should you go to the gym? It seems like a simple enough question, but the answer can vary from person to person. Your fitness goals, level of experience and the amount of time you're willing to commit will shape what your ideal exercise routine should look like.
Whether you've just bought a gym membership or you've been keeping active for a long time, this article will run through the basics of creating a balanced workout routine that works for you.
As you've probably figured out by now, there's no specific number of times you should be going to the gym every week. Rather than conforming to an arbitrary number, you should be tailoring a workout routine to your specific goals and making it realistic and achievable.
When people start lifting weights, it's common to want to work out as often as possible to see results quickly, but that often ends up backfiring. Unrealistic fitness goals often lead to burnout and can end up killing your motivation. That's why it's important to work smarter and not harder while you're still new to the whole fitness thing.
As a general rule, you should be going to the gym 3 to 5 days a week, with your training sessions lasting about 45 minutes. If you're just starting out, however, starting off with 2 to 3 sessions a week and slowly increasing your frequency is a good way to begin.
That's one way of approaching the gym. But if you have a very specific goal in mind like weight loss, muscle gain or just general fitness, your ideal number of training sessions will look a little bit different. Keep reading and we'll run through them all below.
Your workout routine is going to look a little bit different depending on your overall fitness goals. Someone looking to lose weight, for example, is not going to have the same routine as someone looking to pack on muscle mass.
Don't forget about your diet either! Diet plays a massive role in working towards a specific fitness goal, and again, it won't look the same for everyone. So let's dive in to the three main types of fitness goals, and how they all look in practise.
Gaining muscle goes hand in hand with the gym, but what exactly is the optimal routine to maximise muscle growth?
Three to four gym sessions a week is optimal for building muscle. If you're new to weight lifting, however, you might want to start with two days a week and slowly build from there. Studies show that two days of weight lifting a week is still enough to build muscle.
You should aim to work two major muscle groups during each session, and never work the same muscles two days in a row because they need time to rest. Common muscle groups to work together are back+biceps and chest+triceps.
If you want to build muscle mass then don't forget to eat either! Protein rich foods like eggs and lean meats should be a staple of your diet, and you'll need to eat plenty if you want to pack on some kilos.
Losing weight is a common goal for gym-goers. If your goal is weight loss than your routine is obviously going to be dominated by cardiovascular exercise, but what's the right amount?
Before setting up your routine, think about what shape you're in and set some achievable goals. The aim isn't to run until you throw up. That feels horrible! Rather, ease into a routine that you'll actually end up sticking with.
Here's what the American College of Sports Science found in their studies:
150-200 minutes of moderate physical activity per week: Helps prevent weight gain
150-250 minutes of moderate physical activity per week: Modest weight loss
250+ minutes of moderate physical activity per week: Significant weight loss
To summarise, 150 minutes is equal to about two and a half hours a week of exercise. So this is a great place to start. That can be split up to 20 minutes a day over seven days, 30 minutes of exercise over five days, or four 40 minute workouts in the week.
Again, start off slow. Cardio can be very unforgiving if you're not fit, so slowly build up your endurance and don't go for runs with the goal of wrecking yourself. Keep things realistic as your body adjusts to long cardio sessions.
Don't forget about dieting either. To put it simply, you lose weight by burning more calories than you consume. So don't put all this time into your health if you're just going to neglect the diet part.
So what if your goals aren't necessarily losing weight or building muscle, but just keeping fit and healthy? A mix of cardio and strength training is a balanced way of achieving both and keeping your exercise routine varied.
You should aim to go to the gym five times a week to increase your general fitness, with a mix of cardio, weight training and resistance training. If you'd prefer to gain muscle rather than improve your cardio, this might be a case of three weight sessions a week and two cardio sessions a week. Or, you might prefer three cardio sessions and two weight sessions.
Rest days are an important aspect of any workout routine, both on the physical and mental side of things. You've probably heard a million times by now that muscles grow while they rest, so don't forget to rest!
Overtraining won't just burn out your body and overwork your muscles, but it can really kill your motivation as well. Grinding out an overbearing workout routine will quickly make training feel like a chore, so keep things manageable.
As you start a fitness routine, your rest days will probably be once every two days. Once you've built up your conditioning and stamina, you can bring your rest days down to about 2-3 days a week.
If you're one of those people who have ants in their pants and always needs to keep moving, try incorporating some light activities into your rest days like a leisurely walk, stretching or yoga.
The gym doesn't have to be a chore. There are plenty of ways to keep exercise fun and prevent it from turning into a grind.
Here are some ways to keep yourself feeling engaged:
Change it up: Sticking to the same, boring old routine will make your gym sessions feel pretty repetitive. Adjust your program every now and then to keep things fresh. There are loads of different exercises for each body part.
Get some fresh air: Who says you have to stay inside the gym to exercise? If it's a nice day, go the nearest park for your daily run. Better yet, get on a bike or hit up the local pools if running is starting to lose its appeal.
Get a workout buddy: Some people like zoning into a workout by themselves, while others work better with a friend egging them on. If you and a friend share similar fitness goals, going to the gym together is a great way to keep things fun and motivate each other.
Defining your goals and setting up a realistic program is a solid way to kick off your fitness journey. Remember to have fun and stay consistent with your workouts, and you'll be looking and feeling better in no time.
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So how often should you go to the gym to see results? The answer depends on your overall goals and fitness level. As a general rule, going to the gym 3 to 5 times a week for 45 minutes will eventually produce results. If you're just starting out, however, we recommend going twice a week and building up your fitness from there. As the saying goes, you can't outrun a bad diet. So make sure that you're eating healthy as well if you want to see results anytime soon.
Many people wonder if we should go to the gym everyday. While regular exercise is important for long-term health, there is definitely such thing as too much. Working out every day won't give your body any time to recover or build muscle, and can quickly lead to burnout. Setting yourself realistic goals is the best way to stay motivated and actually stick to a routine. Going to the gym every day can be pretty exhausting and we don't recommend it.
So is 3 days gym enough to start seeing results? Yes, 3 days is fine if your goal is to keep reasonably fit. As a general rule, exercising 3 to 5 times a week for about 45 minutes is a reasonable workload. It just depends on your goals. 3 gym sessions a week is perfectly fine, but you might eventually wish to take your fitness to the next level. Once you've conditioned yourself and feel ready to take the next step, you might want to increase your routine to 4 or 5 sessions a week.