This is a common question we get and this is always gonna be dependent on a couple circumstances. There is not one blanket answer that can be given without doing a little investigating first.
Everyone is different.
Everyone wants different things and have different lives.
There are several factors that can help us to make the best decision on how often we should train.
Now lets discuss!
🏌️♂️What does your lifestyle look like?
This is a big one!
Are you a parent? Do you have a never ending to-do list to take care of daily? What are your daily obligations and behaviors? All of these things affect what we need to do physically to improve.
Because at the end of the day, your lifestyle can make or break your workout schedule. Trying to do more than you can handle will mess with your adherence to the plan.
Adherence is KEY when it comes to making real change in your life! if you cannot stick to it then you should not do it.
📅 Work schedule?
Most do not even factor this in. If you are working over 40 hours per week and trying to train 5 days per week on top of that do you think you will be able to keep up?
How about recovery? Can you really recover with that sort of work load?
This is a big factor in what you are Trying to do. I like to think of my training enhancing my life. NOT taking from it!
Balancing a crazy amount of workout days while also balancing a busy work schedule could potentially keep you from getting results.
🥦How is your nutrition?
Ahhh…. The most over looked thing. Nutrition.
Guys and gals I cannot even begin to tell you how important this is.
Lets lay out a scenario. You are 40 years old, work 40+ hours per week, have 3 kids and a spouse, and you are 185# consuming 1300 calories per day mostly from microwave meals.
You barely drink water. “Coffee has water in it right?” You haven’t eaten a vegetable since 1999 and the last time you sat down to eat mindfully was elementary school.
Is this somewhat like you?
Gosh I hope not. My point here is your nutrition is your fuel to your body. Eating enough of the right foods, and the right amounts is important in helping determine what is best as far as training is concerned.
Eat 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight, balance carbs and fats, eat veggies and fruit, and eat enough of it.
🛏How is your sleep?
When is the last time you slept 7 hours consistently?
You want to train all the time but you do not even sleep? Not a good choice. Sleep first then train when that is in line.
Sleep is where we heal, sleep is where we grow, sleep is the primary driver in performance and life in general.
One scary fun fact: Lack of sleep will cause poor mood, more anxiety, more depression, slower reaction times, and decrease performance even after one day lacking sleep.
Sleep people. It matters in how often you train. 7-8 hours is ideal for most people.
💆♀️What is your stress level?
Stress is another big factor. Being stressed can increase inflammation in the body and decrease performance.
Work, life, kids, friends, and co-workers to name a few can all cause stress.
Guess what else does? Working out.
No need to add so much stress from working out if you have plenty already.
Match your workout schedule with your daily stress and only increase it when stress is under control.
If all of the factors above are taken into consideration with where they need to be then we can use these general guidelines to determine how much you should workout.
Now the factors above are there just for you to gain awareness. Nobody is perfect. But at least knowing what to pay attention to can help a person to make an educated decision on how much they should workout.
Beginners: Clients that have been training consistently for 0-2 years should be considered a Beginner still. These clients are still adapting quickly and are enjoying the quick progress. In general 2-3 times per week is ideal with 4 times per week being ok closer to the 2 year mark.
Intermediates: Clients that have been training for 2-5 years are considered Intermediate clients. 2-4 times per week is most ideal with 5 being ok closer to the 5 year mark.
Advanced and for sport: Clients who have been training for 5+ years, are getting ready for a specific event, or are training for a sport can workout for 3-5 days per week. Not that it is unimportant for all other levels, this level of person should really prioritize recovery factors as they are able to really fatigue their bodies and minds through their training.
Remember that at the end of the day these are all just recommendations. I am well aware that this will not fit for everyone. Use this as a starting point to make the best choices for your training frequency.
Lifestyle factors, sleep, stress, nutrition, and how long you have been working out all help to determine how much you should workout.