For the new year, many people have started a fitness program in a gym or committed themselves to an exercise plan only to back out after a few weeks. Usually this happens because they don’t know how much exercise they need to lose weight. At times, the number of workouts seem endless, it can sometimes seem like too many to count. Before long, you feel it’s time to rest. Furthermore, knowing how many days to work out can be confusing, especially if the amount of time you are training doesn’t align with your lifestyle – work, family, hobbies, etc…
Whether your goal is to exercise until you lose a few pounds, get stronger, gain muscle, or any other fitness goal, worry not. Here are some training tips you can use to determine how often you should exercise.
How Frequently Should You Work Out for Weight Loss?
Determining how much or how often you should exercise to lose weight largely depends on your goals and how quickly you want to see results. Ideally, you should not lose more than one to two pounds every week, but some people are after weight loss programs designed for faster weight loss. When fitness training properly, you want to exercise with frequency and consistency, but you don’t want to overtrain or make yourself too sore.
Generally, you need to burn more calories than you take in to lose a few pounds. Dieting is also a proven method of losing weight gradually. However, you need regular exercise to see consistent results. Therefore the amount of weight you lose is dependent on how closely you adhere to your diet and the amount of activity you can commit to.
It is commonly believed your diet is responsible for 70% of your progress and exercise is responsible for 30%. While this is true, it is still very important to strength train while losing weight in order to maintain your muscle mass and metabolism. Just keep in mind it takes about 3500 calories to add or lose a pound, so you’ll ultimately need to understand the importance of your diet and food intake when trying to lose weight.
Breaking Down the Workouts
As a starter, you only need two or three days of exercise and gradually you can work your way to five days if it works for your schedule. Ensure your workouts combine cardio, core work, stretching, and strength training. When you lift weights, you improve your lean muscle mass, which boosts metabolism and burns calories even when you are not exercising. Cardiovascular exercises are good for your heart health, and they also burn calories, reduce stress, and boost your mood.
Ideally, you should do at least 30 minutes of moderate to high intensity cardiovascular exercise four days every week, equal to 120 minutes a week. Sometimes you can use a high intensity BootCamp style workout or metabolic resistance training (MRT) session to count as both cardio and strength, but you still need to put in the time.
To break it down, two days of moderate activity and two days of vigorous exercise are recommended if you want to lose fat, and maintain or build muscle at the same time.
Ideally, you should also do at least 40 minutes of strength training three days a week, equivalent to 120 minutes per week. As mentioned before, it’s possible to get the best of both worlds if you push yourself hard and heavy with a face-paced BootCamp style workout.
Examples of strength training workouts that work on several muscles at a time include:
- Lunges with a lateral raise.
- Deadlift with a bent-over row.
- Squats with a shoulder press.
- Pushups and planks.
Generally, you can do squats, pushups, lunges, planks, pullups, dumbbell rows, exercise ball crunches, pushup dips, bench presses, straight leg deadlifts, etc. Your goal should be to achieve at least three days every week of strength training and also incorporate full-body workouts that work on several muscles at a time.
To achieve your body fitness goals, vary your workouts in terms of intensity, do different cardio exercises in a week such as swimming and biking, and rest at least two days a week. Also, try to do one exercise after another without resting to achieve higher calorie burn then rest after a series of activities. Finally, keep in mind how much exercise you need to lose weight is actually up to you, depending on how good you are managing your nutrition and lifestyle habits.