How Often  Per Week Should You Go To The Gym

How Often Per Week Should You Go To The Gym

January 6, 2016

How often to make it to the gym.

Tis the season for new resolutions, new gym memberships, and lots of questions. We get this question a lot, “How often should I becoming in?” “Am I doing too many classes? Not enough? I’m not really too sore…” This is a great question, and a notable concern. You want to succeed in your health and fitness goals, but not burnout by Valentine’s day. There are a few factors to consider when deciding on frequency, and maybe you change your frequency in a month – that’s ok! It’s your journey. Keep talking to the coaches and we’ll figure it out together.

OK, let’s break this down. Here are the main considerations: gym experience, how long have you been active, intensity, age, availability, and avoiding burnout.

Let me start with a story: I worked with a woman a few years back. She reported that it had been nearly 15 years since she had worked out consistently. She became very motivated to start working out again at the age of 50. I was pretty pumped to work with her. But, she was too eager. For the first month she worked out twice a day. We had to tell her to calm down, do less. She resisted but eventually complied, but still maintained two-a-days a few days a week. I warned her that she would hurt herself, weight loss takes time. I even turned her away for a training session. She eventually changed trainers. She was noticeably tired, more sore and even becoming indifferent toward exercise. She came in fewer days, and eventually she wasn’t coming in at all. She burned out by the end of summer.

The first thing to consider is what is reasonable for you, and sustainable. Maybe you have the time to come in five times a week, but will you keep that up? Give yourself rest days, especially if you are new to working out. Sustainable training is crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If your classes are super intense, go to fewer classes a week and buffer the other days with lower intensity workouts. If you prefer less intense exercise, do more throughout the week. Intensity and frequency are inversely related: the higher the intensity, the lower the frequency, and vice versa. Please consider this to avoid burnout.

Are you new to this whole working out thing? Or was is once a past life time? You’ve been active, but trying to bump it up notch. If you are completely new, or have taken a decade hiatus, try two-three days a week. You will experience muscle fatigue and soreness, which you may think you can work through, but your brain is actually really working as well. At the beginning of any new program, you are learning lots of new skills and movement patterns, your central nervous system is in over-drive. Your brain needs to recover, too. So ease into it. OR, you’ve been at it for a few months, you feel good and confident. Add a day a week, see how you respond and go from there.

How old are you? As we get older, our recovery mechanisms take a little longer. So if you’re 22 and new to working out, you still may only need a one day rest. But if you’re 50, maybe two days to rest. Everyone will be different, but especially if you’re unsure start conservatively. When you find yourself in the gym consistently for a few weeks (or months) your recovery time will improve. So consider your age, and your experience with the movements.

How much time do you have? This may seem obvious – but your frequency will also depend on how much time you can allot to the gym. However, don’t make it an excuse. Make time for your physical health, set a schedule so you actually maintain it.

We want all of you to be successful in our gym. If you feel overwhelmed, or underwhelmed, talk to a coach. As I said, everyone will be a little different. Start with these considerations to determine a starting point and adjust from there. See you at the gym!