How Often Should We Exercise?

For most people, the biggest barrier to fitness is not having enough time to work out. But the good news is that you don't need to train seven days a week to see great results. Doing three workouts a week should be sufficient to achieve your work out goals.

Exactly how many sessions you do depends on a number of factors. One thing that should influence training frequency is what sort of workouts you're doing. A hard fully-body session may mean that you need to leave at least 48 hours between sessions in order for your muscles to recover. If you're focusing on a particular body part each workout, you may be able to train the following day if you work on a different body part.


One common mistake is to think that the more workouts you do, the stronger and more muscular you will become. In fact it is while you are resting, rather than while you are working out, that your muscles get bigger and stronger. If you stress your muscles before they have had a chance to repair themselves this may cause over training, where you lose strength and muscle mass and feel lethargic.

Some muscle groups take longer to recover than others. Larger muscle groups, particularly those with a comparatively higher percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibres, such as the hamstrings, may take longer to recover than smaller muscle groups such as the calves.

Doing big compound lifts such as dead lifts also places more of a stress on your nervous system than smaller lifts, such as biceps curls, so you will need longer to recover. You should also take longer to recover from intense sessions, where you do low reps of heavy weights, than you do from endurance and stability sessions, where you do high reps of light weights.

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