How many times a week should I workout?
As many as you can.
Well actually, there’s more to it.
If you really want to see changes in your body and feel better, the more times a week you can squeeze in a workout the better. Even if you can’t make it into the studio – do a plank, your Fab 5 Series, or do some push-ups at home. Want to go for a run but short on time? Do intervals. Quarter mile sprint followed by a 2 minute jog, and repeat 4 times.
I always say….
*Once a week is better than nothing
*Twice a week and you will maintain your muscle and strength gain
*Three times or more and you are building: adding strength, increasing endurance and flexibility
Now what about training the same muscle groups two days in a row?
Or what about the idea that off days are better than lighter days?
Daily training with varying levels of intensity is better than sporadic training. Repetitive and intense to moderately intense muscle work increases the strength of muscle synaptic connections and may even form new synapses. These new connections make your muscles work just a little harder each time, which means that your body will be more comfortable doing the same effort over time. So the next time you are going for a personal record or performing a really challenging exercise, you have the extra push you need to get there.
As for the question of whether to spend a every other day resting completely rather than doing light exercise – pick a lighter workout.
There is power to consistency!
Greater Gains: If you workout once a week, the gains toward goals will be much smaller. Your body does not adapt to the stimulus immediately because it doesn’t want to go through all the trouble if it doesn’t need to. Our body was designed to work less to conserve, so unless you challenge it often, you won’t see great gains. But what if you are sore? If you are sore, moving at a lighter pace will actually help you ease muscle soreness. If going for a run while your quads are sore from squats feels like the worst idea, just give it a try (but with low intensity), and you will feel better.
Practice Makes Perfect: If you are working on your Pilates Teaser for example, or a push-up, you need to do them often, even if you have to modify in the beginning. In a Teaser, you are using your abs, obliques, quads and challenging your hamstring flexibility. All of these components work together to propel you into a beautifully shaped V balancing on your sits bones. Even if you are training all of those muscle groups separately, nothing beats doing the actual exercise.
So the short version is:
1. don’t be afraid to have an easy workout following a particularly challenging workout as long as you are not hurt or injured.
2. Do take one or two days off a week, but try to be as consistent as possible with your training.
3. Lighter days in between workouts are better than sporadic and intense workouts – even a brief effort required in a light workout will keep you progressing and spike your metabolism and fat loss.