How many times a week should you train to lose weight?
If I made $1 for every time someone asked me how often they need to train to lose weight, I would be sipping on sparkling waters on my own personal island. Everyone is after a quick fix or the easiest way to lose weight and have the amazing body they see on TV. The big secret guys, it takes time and a lot of dedication. Ever wondered why you don’t see lots of people with 6 packs walking around, it’s because its hard! Do you know what you do see a lot of…? Unhealthy people because it’s easy to achieve that without even realising it!
The right number of sessions per week is different with each individual and depends on many factors relating to your body and training. For example, a beginner will train a lot less than a regular fitness buff! Another important factor is the type of workout you do. General workouts mainly consist of cardio to improve your fitness and strength training to improve muscle mass through either body weight or weighted exercises. All this and more needs to be considered before giving any reasonable suggestions.
In saying this there are some key principles you should incorporate into your training regime, which should consist of minimum 30 mins a day for 5 days. From there you can build up to between 45-60mins a day as you gain more confidence and get fitter and stronger!
1. Step out of your comfort zone: Don’t give your body a chance to get used to routine. Mix up the exercises, the volume, duration and speed at which you do things. It doesn’t have to be different each day but every few weeks spice things up to keep your body guessing and continue to see positive adaptations. An example may be going from a 2-week program of lifting heavy weights with a rep range of 4-6 and the following fortnight moving into just body weight high repetition work coupled with HIIT Cardio.
2. Incorporate a specific strength based session into your weekly program. I’ll keep this very simple, the more muscle you have the more calories you burn with each workout!
3. To ensure you see the best long term results you need to be dedicated in three main areas TRAINING, EATING & SLEEPING. Train hard, eat clean and get enough sleep to ensure you recover well enough to do it all again the next day! This magic three works every time! It is no good training hard and sleeping well but eating like a pig because long term you won’t change anything. Obviously, it’s easier said than done, but over time slowly make positive changes which lead you toward this trifecta.
4. Last but certainly not least, don’t ever skip a rest day. Make sure you take a rest day at least once a week. Training can be gruelling at times and your body will feel sore and tired. To avoid injury and ensure longevity in your training take a day off to refresh the mind fully knowing that the next day is going to be a great workout!
Just a recap, there is no perfect formula that fits everyone. People may tell you differently, but trust it doesn’t exist. Every individual is different and has different issues with their body and life that needs to be factored in before preparing an exercise program that is going to work for them. The above is a good foundation to provide the platform to you achieving those long term results you have always dreamed about!
Jamie De Abreu
Senior Personal Trainer - Southland in Cheltenham Vic.