Hit the gym hard
Gyms all over the world are seeing increases in membership due to education and marketing about living healthier lives. Whether you choose to use a gym or get in your own home workout the question arises of how often should I work out? There are numerous things to consider with this question and this article will expose those and how to gage your fitness level and your goals.
Current fitness level
The first and most important thing you must take into consideration when finding out how often you should work out has to do with how in shape you are. A newbie will be experiencing a lot of pain and exhaustion after the first workout or two and proper rest and nutrition will be needed to recover properly. If you aren't very in shape then you should consider working your muscles only once per week. An example would be like working out your chest muscles and after that tough workout you hurt. Don't work them more than once that entire week so they recover properly. Now if you have been working out often and can handle tougher workloads then I would say that you could consider working out your muscle groups twice a week instead of once. Never will you be working a muscle group more than twice a week as this means you aren't getting proper rest. Even the most intense bodybuilders don't work out that often because they are pushing themselves and still need adequate rest.
If you are more into cardio and not weight training (which isn't recommended but to each their own) then you should take into consideration your cardio level and how often and intense you run. If running a mile tires you out then don't consider going for two unless you can easily conquer one. Always push yourself, but never to the point where you are causing harm to your body. This means that you still need adequate rest in between cardio sessions so your muscles can recover and body can repair itself. Running on the treadmill for instance takes a big toll on your joints so if you feel great and want to continue running you should still take into consideration your joints and muscles that are in need of rest.
If you are working out at a moderate pace and not really pushing yourself to the limit then this is another thing that should be taken into consideration. When I go to the gym I go twice a week and both days I kill it so I'm left feeling sore for a few days after. There is no way I could ever work my muscles again that week because I work with an intensity that keeps my body constantly in recovery. Other people I see at the gym only walk on the treadmill for a while and lift 5 pound weights for a few reps. If you aren't sweating and experiencing a lot of pain days after your workout then you can theoretically workout every single day. Listen to your body and let it talk to you; you'll know what you are capable of. If you just go to the gym to get a light workout and relax then work your muscles every day to keep them active and always moving. If you work out hard and intense then once or twice a week for weight training is recommended while cardio could be 3-4 times a week depending on your cardio fitness level.
This is another thing to take into consideration. If your diet is poor and filled with junk food and fats then your body will take longer to recover because the good nutrients it needs isn't there, especially protein. Make sure you are getting lots of protein, good fats, and carbs to refuel your body and let it recover. Proper diet is key to seeing good results but diet is also going to determine how often you should exercise and workout. The better and healthier your diet is, the faster your body will recover so you can get out there and burn up the pavement again. If your diet is poor then your body will take longer to extract the proper nutrients it needs to make a full recovery, thus you will be working out less each week. Take this into heavy consideration even before working out, because having a poor diet will destroy your ability to get into shape. You should always consider a healthier diet before undertaking exercise, as diet is 80% of the battle where exercise and working out is 20%. Clean up your diet and you will see results faster and will be able to recover easier.
Rest is another big thing that must be taken into consideration. If you are eating right and working hard but not getting enough rest, then the muscles never have time to grow and recover. We will never see muscles grow on the pavement or in the gym, that's where we tear them up! Muscle growth happens during rest, especially when we sleep. Sleep is in some ways more important than exercise itself because without proper sleep our bodies shut down and get sick. You have to sleep 8 hours a day and have adequate rest in between workout sets and days. Eat right and rest well and let your muscles recover and grow. You don't want to be weak and tired the next time you hit your workout, but instead you want to be strong and capable of seeing gains in your strength and mass so let them rest!
Keep at it
These are the prime things that should be taken into consideration to answer that age old question of how often should I work out? Depending on fitness level, intensity, rest and diet, this result could range from working out every day to working out twice a week. Intensity is important to factor in because if you work hard you will need adequate rest, and diet will determine your ability to recover. Take these thoughts into consideration before beginning your workout routine and if you are already working out, take some time to ponder on these ideas and this will determine how often you should be working out.