How many days a week should you exercise? Truth be told, there is not one specific answer to this question. At Jack City Fitness, we see athletes of all kinds. Some of them work out more days a week than others. Some have longer workout sessions than others. After all, there are multiple factors as to how often an athlete should hit the gym, including personal goals, lifestyles, and athletic experience.
If you’re beginning your workout journey and are unsure how often to exercise, we’re here to help. Read Jack City Fitness‘s guide to figuring out a workout frequency that suits your needs, or talk in-person to one of our coaches!
The Factors That Determine How Many Days A Week Should You Work Out
1) Your Fitness Goals
Let’s talk about fitness goals. Your workout (and how often you go) will depend on what you’re aiming for when you hit the gym.
If Your Fitness Goal Is To Lose Weight:
Many of our partners begin their fitness journey as a means to drop a few pounds. These goals are often achieved through a combination of cardiovascular training (especially workouts like HIIT), strength training, and optimizing their meal plans with the help of our nutritional counselor.
On the cardio side of things, we recommend either 75 minutes of intensive cardio exercise weekly (spread across three sessions), or 150 minutes of more moderate aerobic activity across five sessions. However, your specific “magic number” might differ—and we advise finding a good frequency with your coach. In terms of strength training, many of our weight-loss-seeking partners crush a full-body workout with us twice or three times a week. This is on top of their weekly cardio!
We highly recommend taking at least one (but ideally two) rest day(s) while working out for weight loss. This is not a marathon, not a sprint! Even though sprints make a great HIIT workout!
If Your Fitness Goal Is To Gain Muscle:
Everybody is different. As with weight loss, your ideal frequency might look different than your buddy’s— and that is totally okay. Overall, most athletes hit the gym at least twice a week, and ideally three times, to build strength and muscle. In general, our bodybuilding partners engage in both strength and cardio training, with a stronger focus on the former. The cardio side of strength-building workouts often involves short but intense sessions (like HIIT) twice or three times a week.
Please note that these numbers might change depending on your fitness levels and experience, so it is best to work with your coach to find the right amount for you and your goals.
If Your Fitness Goal Is To Move More And Feel Healthier:
Not everybody exercises with huge body transformation goals in mind. Many of our partners join Jack City Fitness because they want to get in tune with their bodies and enjoy movement more. If this is the case, it is best to find a routine and schedule that suits your lifestyle and desires—because hitting the gym even once a week can positively impact your life and reduce risks of stroke or heart attack. As long as you do not cross the threshold into overtraining or obsession, let yourself find your own pace.
2) Your Lifestyle
Your lifestyle impacts how often—and for how long—you can work out. For instance, if you tend to have a few free days a week, long-distance running or cycling might be a great option. If you are balancing a full-time job with family and night courses, something short, sweet, and intense is probably your best bet. For those without reliable transportation, combining customized virtual training sessions with occasional real-life classes might be the ticket.
4) Your Age And Experience
Would you recommend your favorite heart-pumping workout to your great-grandma? Your 6-year old nephew? Of course not—they deserve a workout that suits their specific circumstances! Your chosen exercises work for you because of your unique age, experience, and fitness level. These factors will also determine how often you work out, too.