When you’re on a body transformation journey, the feeling of working out and watching the weight drop off or the muscles grow can be addictive.
When you’re hitting personal bests, and weight goals are being achieved, it is easy to want more.
What if you doubled your workouts? Would that make your muscles grow even quicker?
What if you run for longer and add some cardio exercise on your rest days? Surely you wouldn’t just be hitting your goals, you’d be beating them.
Working out how often and how long you should spend in the gym is a tricky question, but there is scientific evidence that points towards an answer.
Let’s take a look.
How often should you go to the gym?
If you’re undergoing a body transformation, or simply wanting to get fitter, there are two types of exercise you will undergo.
Muscle training and cardiovascular exercise.
How Often Should you Do Muscle Training?
Muscles are funny things.
To grow, they must break down. It is the rebuilding process that produces big biceps and rock-hard abs.
If you want to grow muscle quickly and think spending seven days a week pushing out reps will get you there, you are mistaken.
As a minimum, you should work your muscles two to three times a week. This is a great starting point for beginners. As your muscles build and get stronger, you can increase this, but it isn’t wise to go above five workouts a week.
To build muscle, you need a response from your body. Constant working out of the same muscles can limit this response and put a stop to muscle growth.
If you are wanting to go to the gym a lot, make sure your muscle workouts are spread out. You don’t want to overwork some of your muscles and underwork others.
Try to avoid working on the same muscle groups over consecutive days as this will wear them out and stop them from rebuilding in the way required to build muscle. In fact, research shows that it is best to rest muscles for two to three days after a tough workout.
If you push it too hard, you could be heading towards an injury.
How Often Should you do Cardio Exercise?
If you’re looking to lose weight and hoping to do lots of cardio exercises, the numbers are slightly different.
The first thing to note is that you can do more.
Whereas muscles only grow when they are recovering, you can lose weight constantly.
There are two things important to a weight loss exercise plan. Diet and workouts.
As long as you keep your diet in check, you should start losing weight by exercising if you work out around four to five days a week.
This should be moderate exercises such as jogging, cycling, and swimming.
If you were going to do something that gets the heart rate going faster such as sprinting, this should be limited to around three times a week.
Your body will tell you your perfect number. If your legs feel stiff and you repeatedly get injuries after running two days in a row, maybe only three days of cardio a week is the perfect number for you.
If you feel great every day, you can do it seven days a week, but be wary. Performing cardio exercises this often may feel fine, but the risk of injuries is high. Health experts also recommend taking a couple of days off at least not just to avoid physical burnout, but also mental.
Your body needs time to rest, so taking a couple of days a week to let your body relax is a great way of maintaining high-performance levels and avoiding any injuries.
How Long Should a Workout Be?
So now you know how often you should be performing your workouts, the next question is how long they should last.
Again, this works best to split the exercise groups into two.
How Long Should a Muscle Workout Last?
If you are of average strength, somewhere in between a beginner and Arnold Schwarzenegger, you should be looking at working your muscles for around 45 minutes to an hour.
This time hits the perfect sweet spot of allowing you to cover a range of muscles and different techniques, as well as not overworking your muscles too much.
What you must remember is these 45 minutes shouldn’t be filled with constant workouts. Allow your muscles around a minute of time off in between reps. If you do this, you will be performing around 25 muscle workouts in one gym session.
This is a good amount. Any less and you may not grow your muscles as you would like.
Any more and you will get past the point where your body can actually develop, and you’ll be risking muscle injury for little extra gain.
How Long Should a Cardio Workout Last?
The standard rule of thumb when it comes to cardio is to do 30-minute sessions.
Of course, this figure can differ depending on the intensity of the workout, but for a general session of jogging or swimming, this is about right.
A 30-minute run should burn between 300-400 calories. If you do this 5 times a week, you could be creating a 2000 calorie deficit which is a great platform for a weight-loss journey.
This will also give you around 150 minutes of exercise a week, which many experts say is the magic number when it comes to cardio exercise.
Want to do more?
As with the number of times you can do cardio in a week, how long you should do it depends on your body. Unlike muscle training where your body stops improving after a certain amount of time, cardio training will keep burning the calories.
If you’re burning 350 calories on a 30-minute run, you will burn 700 on an hour-long run.
But this does come with the risk of injury if done too often. That 2000 calorie deficit from five 30-minute runs can quickly turn to zero if you go too hard and get an injury.
Listen to your body and to your personal trainer. Doing too much may seem like a great way to kickstart your weight loss, but the effects it may have can be devastating to your body transformation if you end up injured.
Professional Advice from The Cut Gym
Whether aiming to drop some pounds or looking to build some biceps, the amount you train is important.
Too little, results will be slow. Too fast, your body may be put under too much pressure.
If you want a workout plan devised for your body and goals, then why not get in touch with The Cut Gym.
Our trainers listen to you and will always produce a plan that is perfect to help you reach your goals. From nutrition to workouts, our personal trainers can help with your body transformation and answer any questions you may have on how often, and how long your workouts should be.