How Many Times a Week Should I Go to the Gym?

by Matt Wilson
Last Updated: 12/04/2021
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How many times a week should I go to the gym? At the start of a fitness journey, most people ask themselves this question. But, there is no definite answer to this particular question. 

The number of times a week you exercise is dependent on several factors. The number differs from one individual to the other based on the fitness level and fitness goals. 

However, there are some recommendations on how many times you should work out in order to achieve a specific goal. This article takes you through that in great detail. 

Key Takeaways

  • The number of times you hit the gym per week depends on your specific fitness goals. These could be one or all of these; weight loss, building muscle, and general fitness. 
  • Your frequency at the gym depends on your ability, workout adaptability, likes, dislikes and time availability.
  • Going to the gym is more about the quality than the quantity.

How Often Should I Go To The Gym?

You probably want to spend as little time as possible in the gym and still achieve your objectives. 

Ideally, you should train three to four times a week to attain your goals in a reasonable amount of time. However, how fast you achieve your fitness goals will depend on the type of workouts you do and your diet [1]. 

Exercising four to five times a week seems like a stretch for most people due to time constraints. If you can, it is advisable to squeeze in a workout every weekday.

Ultimately, this boils down to the quality of the workouts you do. If you work out every day and do not push yourself or use the right form, you will benefit less than someone going three times a week and giving their all. 

It is, therefore, important to consult a professional to help you craft your workouts. That way, every minute you spend at the gym will be beneficial to you. The bottom line is sticking to a moderate workout that you can sustain for a long time. 

As mentioned, your frequency at the gym will depend on your specific fitness objective. 

General Fitness

If you are keen on staying in shape and improving your general fitness, you should try and exercise four or five days a week. 

You can structure a workout routine to include two to three days of full-body cardio and 2 days for weight training. The other two days should be your active rest days, where you should incorporate 30 minutes of activity even if you are not working out. 

This could be taking a walk, cycling to the store, playing with your kids, or doing a little gardening. This will allow for a balanced routine that keeps you active all week while still allowing your body to recover between sessions. 

If you have a packed schedule, you can cut it down to 3 days of cardio. But, you might need to go ham with the cardio workouts by incorporating high-intensity interval training to make the most out of your time.

Weight Loss

Losing weight demands more time at the gym while keeping a check on your calorie intake. Ideally, you should invest between 60 to 90 minutes in moderate exercise per day to lose weight. Try to incorporate at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day [2].

You may be tempted to spend all your time on cardio machines or in your aerobics classes. As much as this will help you lose weight, it is important to incorporate two or three days of strength training to strengthen and tone your muscles as you burn fat.

In the beginning, it is easy to go ham at the gym working out all five days. While this will help keep your motivation up, it may lead to burning out and skipping the gym on some days. Instead, consider switching things up and rearranging your exercises. 

If you cannot spare the hour or two for the gym, consider the high-intensity cardio workouts. Also, you can adjust your calorie intake to ensure you are burning more than you take in. 

Building Muscle

You may have your training levels up, but, want to build muscle and increase strength. If this is the case, focus on lifting weights three to four days a week (focusing on different muscle groups each day). 

If you can do strength training for five to six days, you can work out a single muscle group each day. You can train a specific muscle group as much as you want, but it is essential to let your muscles rest and recover. 

Alternate between lower body and upper body strength workouts giving each enough time for recovery between sessions. 

On recovery days, try restorative exercises such as yoga to stretch out the body. You may also consider a sauna to relieve muscle soreness. A walk around the block would also be ideal, especially if your body needs more time to recover and rest. 

It is important to note that muscles don’t grow when you lift weights. They develop strength and increase mass during recovery and as they repair themselves between your workout sessions. This is why you need to think about your rest days as much as your workout days. 

FAQ

Should I Exercise At The Gym Every Day?

You can hit that gym each day; however, this is dependent on your fitness level and your overall goal. It is advisable to rest a minimum of two days every week, regardless of your workouts. Therefore, focus on working out for 3 to 5 days a week.

How Many Hours Per Week Should I Set Aside For The Gym?

It is recommended that you put in 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity or 1 ¼ hour of vigorous-intensity workout each week. It is also advisable to set aside two days for strength training exercises (that last at least an hour) [3].

What Are The Minimum Days Per Week To Work Out? 

Whether your goal is general health or building muscle mass, you should try and work out at least three times a week. A day a week at the gym may not get your training levels up and may derail your progress in achieving your goal.  

The Bottom Line

How often you exercise depends on various factors, including your exercise levels and overall goal. The frequency varies from one person to the other but going to the gym three days per week is adequate. 

Ultimately, how long you spend in the gym is not as important as what you do. 

References

  1. https://globalnews.ca/news/4003165/workout-diet-results/
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/exercise/art-20050999
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28409595/

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