How often a person needs to train to get results depends on their fitness goals. Losing weight, gaining muscle mass, increasing endurance and resistance each require a different approach to training. Physical exercise has a whole host of important benefits. It improves overall health, helps a person maintain a moderate weight, relieves stress, and can promote restful sleep. This is why exercise goals differ from person to person. Some people may use exercise as a weight loss technique, while others may want to build strength.
It is advisable to consult a doctor before starting any training or weight training program, as they can advise you on how to train safely and minimize the risk of injury.
Frequency of training for weight loss
At its most basic level, weight loss involves solving a math problem. A person must burn more calories than they take in on a daily basis. Here are some of the ways a person can achieve this:
– eat fewer calories each day than she expends
– increase your physical activity to burn more calories
– increase your muscle mass in order to burn more calories at rest.
There is controversy over whether physical exercise alone is enough to lose weight.
For example, some research suggests that exercise can cause the body to compensate by adjusting metabolism to conserve body fat. Exercise always has a role to play in weight loss, but to get the most benefit from it, a person must combine it with a healthy, controlled diet that reduces caloric intake. The researchers also note that continuing to exercise after weight loss may help prevent people from regaining the lost weight. It is best to combine a combination of cardiovascular training and strength training to improve health and burn calories.
Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity during the week. A person can also do a mix of moderate-intensity and vigorous-intensity activities if they prefer.
Here are some examples of moderate-intensity activities:
to ride a leisure bike
Here are some examples of vigorous activity:
hiking, especially uphill or with a heavy backpack
take an aerobics class
doing vigorous work in the garden, such as digging.
Ultimately, a person can get the greatest health benefits by getting at least 5 hours of physical activity per week.
Strength training involves using resistance to build muscle. Muscles can help make the body more metabolically active, which increases the rate at which it burns calories.
Do moderate to high intensity strength training at least two days a week. Here are some examples of resistance training approaches:
Lifting weights: This involves using weight machines or free weights to perform exercises such as bicep curls, bench presses, and leg bench presses.
Use body weight for resistance: Examples of exercises include lunges, squats, and triceps curls. You don’t need any equipment to make them.
Using Resistance Bands: Resistance bands are stretchy elastic bands that increase the amount a person’s muscles work. Resistance bands come in varying degrees of tightness, with tighter ones increasing the intensity of the exercise. A person can perform exercises such as squats, lunges, bicep curls, and tricep extensions using resistance bands.
Anyone who has never exercised and does not know where to start can consult a certified personal trainer. A trainer can advise the person on which exercises are appropriate for their level of health and fitness, and how to perform them correctly and safely.
How often to train to gain muscle
Just as there are different possible approaches to exercise and weight loss, a person can take different approaches to building muscle mass through strength training.
Weekly training programs
Here are some examples of weekly strength training programs and their benefits.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is an approach to strength training that involves alternating short bouts of high intensity exercise with brief recovery periods.
These sessions are often shorter than traditional strength training sessions, and usually last 15 to 30 minutes. The benefits of a HIIT approach to resistance training are that a person can gain muscle mass and improve cardiovascular capacity without spending a lot of time in the gym.
Here is an example of a HIIT workout. The total duration is 20 minutes:
20 seconds of running with knees raised high
20 seconds of jumping in place
20 second burpees
rest for 60 seconds
Repeat 5 sets for a total of 10 minutes.
20 seconds of jumps
20 seconds of squat jumps
20 seconds of push-ups
Rest for 60 seconds
Repeat 5 sets for a total of 10 minutes.
A person can perform this routine 1-3 times a week with at least one rest day between workouts. For example, she can do this workout on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Extended strength training sessions
A review of more than 15 studies comparing strength training approaches involving different numbers of sets found that the higher the number of sets per week, the greater the muscle growth. The researchers concluded that a person should work each muscle group for about 10 sets of 10-12 reps once a week for the best muscle mass gains.
There are two ways to achieve this. The first method is to adopt a total-body exercise routine that targets each muscle group. The second option is to train on a “split”. This means that a person performs resistance exercises on designated muscle groups in one session and then works different muscle groups in their next workout.
Some people use interval training to allow their muscle groups to rest between sessions.
Full body workout
A complete workout program involves working each of the major muscle groups in one session. These muscle groups are the abdomen, arms, chest, hips, legs, shoulders, upper and lower back. This can be done using free weights, own body weight, machine weights, or a combination of the two. These are just a few examples of exercises a person can include in a full body workout. A person will typically perform 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps.
A common approach to interval training is to perform resistance training for the upper body in one session and then focus on training the lower body in the next session.
Interval training for the upper and lower body involves training each muscle group on two days of the week.
An example program might look like this:
Day 1: Upper body day – exercises that work the biceps, chest, mid and upper back, shoulders and triceps.
Day 2: Lower body day – exercises that work the abs, glutes, calves, hamstrings and quadriceps.
Day 3: Rest day.
Day 4: Upper body.
Day 5: Lower body work.
Day 6: Active Recovery Day: Light cardiovascular training, such as jogging, swimming, or walking.
Day 7: Day of rest or active recovery.
If a person trains regularly and increases the weights they use as their strength improves, they are likely to achieve results regardless of their specific training program.
Some people may find that a certain training approach is more effective for their body type.
Exercise programs aimed at improving aerobic capacity and building muscle strength can vary. Often, the “best” exercise program is one that a person wants and can do on a regular basis. With regular effort and increasing intensity, a person should see the desired results over time.