How Often Should You Work Out or Go to the Gym?
You’ve got your workout routine planned, and you’ve set your goals. It’s time to actually hit the gym. But you may be wondering how often should you workout and when? It’s a question asked by beginners and seasoned gym-goers alike. Determining how often you should be working out isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of situation.
You already know the significance and benefits of regular gym workouts, but it’s time to set your weekly workout plan and decide how often you should be exercising per week.
Importance of Fitness Goals:
Before determining your ideal gym frequency, it’s crucial to establish clear fitness goals. Are you aiming to build muscle, feel healthier, or improve overall strength? Your goals will guide your training frequency and intensity of your workouts. Remember, setting realistic and achievable goals is key.
Benefits of Regular Gym Workouts:
Regular gym workouts bring a wealth of benefits that extend far beyond physical appearance. They improve cardiovascular health, boost metabolism, enhance mental well-being, and increase overall strength. According to the CDC, physical activity can also improve brain health, help manage weight, and reduce the risk of diseases. So, by hitting the gym regularly, you’re not only enhancing your physical health but also your overall well-being.
Cardio exercises are essential for maintaining a healthy heart as well as improving brain, joints, and muscle health. Cardio exercises are also great for a weight loss journey. It’s recommended to aim for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week.
So whether you’re a beginner or a fitness enthusiast, incorporating cardio exercises into your routine offers a plethora of benefits. Some cardio workouts to include in your routine are:
- Running or Jogging: Lace up your shoes and hit the road or treadmill for this classic cardio workout.
- Cycling: Hop on a bicycle, indoors or outdoors, and enjoy the benefits of low-impact cardio exercise that strengthens the legs and improves cardiovascular fitness.
- Swimming: Dive into the pool for a full-body workout that is gentle on the joints and offers excellent benefits.
- Jumping Rope: A simple yet highly effective workout that can be done anywhere, it engages multiple muscle groups. and elevates heart rate.
- Dancing: Dance-based cardio workouts like Zumba combine fun and fitness in one energetic session.
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT involves alternating short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest or lower-intensity activity.
- Stairs: Take the stairs instead of the elevator to engage the lower body muscles and get a quick cardio boost.
Strength and resistance training are game-changing in the world of fitness. Like cardio, strength training has many benefits beyond building muscle mass. It can also improve balance and flexibility, increase stamina, encourage weight loss, decrease the risk of injury, and more. It’s believed that 30 minutes to an hour of strength and resistance training is enough to reap the benefits.
Strength Training Exercises
The beauty of strength training is that there is an exercise to work out almost every muscle in the body. Some exercises to include in your routine are:
- Squats: This powerhouse exercise targets the lower body muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Start with your feet hip-width apart, lower your hips back and to a sitting position, and push through your feet to get back to standing position. You can do squats with body weight or add extra resistance using dumbbells, barbells, or a squat rack.
- Bench Press: The bench press is a classic upper-body exercise that targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Lay on a flat bench, hold the barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, lower it to your chest, and then push it back up to the starting position.
- Lunges: Lunges help target the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes while also engaging the core to improve stability. Standing with both feet together, step with one foot forward, lower your body by bending your knee until it’s at a 90-degree angle, and then push back up to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite leg.
- Bicep Curls: These exercises isolate and target the biceps. Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing forward, and elbows close to your sides. Curl the weights upward as you contract your biceps, and then lower them back down.
- Glute Bridges: This is another great lower-body exercise that targets the glutes and helps improve hip stability and strength. Lay on your back with your knees bent, feet together and flat on the ground, and arms by your sides. Press through your heels to lift your hips off the ground until your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees. Squeeze your glutes at the top, then lower your hips back down.
Flexibility and Stretching
Flexibility and stretching exercises are often overlooked but are crucial for maintaining proper joint mobility and preventing injuries. Prioritize stretching and warm-up exercises to prepare your muscles for the workout and cool-down exercises to promote recovery and flexibility. Dynamic stretching before a workout and static stretching afterward can be beneficial.
Yoga, Pilates, or dedicated stretching classes can also help improve flexibility and promote relaxation. You can do these as part of your workout routine or on a separate day dedicated to them.
Setting Your Gym Schedule
The best way to determine your training frequency and how often you should hit the gym is by assessing your time constraints. Consider your daily schedule and determine how many days per week you can realistically dedicate to the gym. Also, determine how much time you can set aside to work out on those dedicated days. It’s better to have a consistent routine rather than sporadic workouts.
You can also use the information above regarding recommended times for different types of workouts to determine how often you should work out based on your goals.
Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to workout frequency. It varies based on individual circumstances and preferences. Listen to your body and adjust your gym schedule accordingly.
Maintaining Accountability and Motivation
Starting or continuing a fitness journey can be exciting. However, over time you may find yourself lacking motivation, or you might encounter challenges that test your commitment to hitting the gym. That’s where accountability and motivation come into play. Let’s look at some ways to help you stay on track
- Set Goals and track progress: Establish short-term goals and track your progress. Start by setting clear and specific fitness goals. Whether building muscle, losing weight, or improving overall health, having a well-defined target helps you stay on track. Don’t forget to celebrate small and big milestones and use them as motivation to keep pushing forward.
- Mix It Up: Avoid falling into a rut by varying your workouts to target different muscle groups. Alternate between cardio exercises, strength training, and flexibility workouts.
- Join Group Fitness: Group fitness classes can provide structure and motivation. Attending classes that align with your goals and preferences and participating in group workouts can help you stay motivated and on track. Not to mention, you’ll be able to find a supportive community of other individuals with similar interests and goals.
- The Gym as a Recovery Space: Don’t limit your perception of the gym to workouts. You can embrace it as a place for recovery and relaxation too. By incorporating recovery practices into your gym routine, you’ll enhance your overall well-being and create a positive association with the gym. Incorporate activities like stretching, foam rolling, and using the sauna.
- Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to your body. If you’re feeling fatigued or experiencing muscle soreness, consider lighter workouts or rest days. Rest and recovery are important for avoiding injuries and optimizing fitness performance.
Find a Schedule that’s Best for You
Finding your ideal training frequency is a personal journey. When you’ve set your schedule, Chuze Fitness is here to support you every step of the way.
We understand the importance of exercise and every individual’s unique fitness goals and journey. You can find a community at Chuze to encourage you as you embark on your journey with fitness classes, various amenities, and locations across the country.
Find a location near you today to become a part of the Chuze family!
CDC. Benefits of Physical Activity. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/
Cleveland Clinic. The (Many) Benefits of a Cardio Workout. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/the-many-benefits-of-a-cardio-workout/
American Health Association. American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults
Better Health Channel. Resistance training – health benefits. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/resistance-training-health-benefits
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Evidence mounts on the benefits of strength training. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/strength-training-time-benefits/
Ani is the Vice President of Fitness at Chuze Fitness and oversees the group fitness and team training departments. She’s had a 25+ year career in club management, personal training, group exercise and instructor training. Ani lives with her husband and son in San Diego, CA and loves hot yoga, snowboarding and all things wellness.