When it comes to training frequency, we sometimes see and hear everything and its opposite. There are those for whom one training session per week is already enough and those who, addicted, cannot go a day without going to the gym… But concretely, what is the best pace, according to your level and your objectives to put on your sneakers?
1 TRAINING PER WEEK
Let’s say it’s already better than nothing but, honestly, there’s little chance of getting visible results, especially if you want to gain mass. That said, if you simply want to improve your health and this in parallel with a balanced diet, it is already a good start… Who knows? Who knows? Under the effect of endorphins, you may get a taste for it! So if you have the time or motivation to do only one training session a week, go ahead and do it!
2 TIMES A WEEK
It is from two training sessions per week that we really start to perceive the psychological benefits of physical exercise. It is also from this frequency that the results on our health, sleep quality and level of fatigue tend to be felt.
In addition, this frequency is well suited:
- For beginners because it allows their body to adapt to physical exercise and to recover well. If we start off on the right foot, there is a good chance that we will exhaust ourselves and give up quickly.
- For those who wish to talk. It is obvious that at the rate of two sessions per week when you are more experienced (and the body has become accustomed to effort), you cannot expect any real physical transformation. On the other hand, it is a good pace if you have achieved your objectives after training more regularly (3-4 times/week) and you want to give yourself a break and/or simply keep what you have learned. We can add a session in case of abuse (for example after the end of the year holidays…)
3 SESSIONS PER WEEK
Now it’s starting to get more serious! By training 3 times a week, we finally get to the phenomenon of overcompensation and we can start waiting for real physical results. The pounds should start to melt and the muscles should take shape! Ideally, we will follow one day on and one day off by varying the types of training so that the body does not get into a routine and we will leave the weekends to recover and/or engage in leisure activities, without any pressure.
4 TRAINING SESSIONS PER WEEK
Now we’re here! Here is the most often recommended rhythm for weight loss or weight gain because it is probably the one with which the most tangible results are obtained. The reason? A good balance between physical activity and recovery, which we must remember, is the phase during which muscles are built. Moreover, it is a good frequency to combine sporting activity and daily constraints and to keep the notion of leisure sport, essential not to lose one’s motivation.
We can organize ourselves as follows: Monday and Tuesday: training / Wednesday: break / Thursday and Friday: training / Saturday and Sunday: off: we recover and enjoy the good sensations of a body that is certainly sore but (more and more) in shape!
5 SESSIONS PER WEEK
This is no longer a joke! We’re coming into the pro camp! At this frequency, it is better to be comfortable with your body and the basic principles of training and sports nutrition so that you don’t work muscles until they have recovered well and avoid exhaustion and/or injury.
It is clearly a volume of training to discourage beginners who could get caught up in the game of excessive motivation and find themselves on their knees after a month. For the others, we will tend to distinguish two objectives:
- If you are looking to lose weight: (And if you are physically and mentally able to cope with such a high level of training): Why not? Indeed, the more you exercise, the more calories you burn and the more likely you are to lose weight. Here, it is important to vary the training (we avoid full-body every day and alternate between strengthening and cardio) and to be really careful about what we eat and what we drink in order to avoid deficiencies and dehydration.
- If you are looking to gain mass: clearly, this rhythm, when you train intensely, is not the most convincing because the muscles do not have time to recover well between two sessions. So unless you work in a split with a tailor-made program, have a flawless diet and can rest properly during the day, it’s not recommended.
So, 5 training sessions per week, if you want but especially if you feel it and your lifestyle allows it!
6 TRAINING SESSIONS PER WEEK
Here, we reach the red zone, the one of the most addicted! Generally, they know what they are doing and will find it difficult to break from their routine… At their own risk because overtraining is not far away. As far as weight gain is concerned, the results of this “no pain, no gain” are far from convincing because the muscles very clearly do not have time to recover to develop. And when it comes to weight loss – especially if you rely heavily on cardio, you may exhaust your adrenal glands with excessive cortisol production. Result: fatigue, tension, nervousness and even unexpected fat gain, especially in the abdominal area…
We can’t be all the time! Even top athletes (i.e.: who are massaged and followed by a nutritionist and do not have to deal with work and the physical and mental fatigue it causes) allow themselves two days of rest per week!
If you really want to train 6 days a week, prefer short sessions (no more than 30-45 minutes warm-up and recovery included) and do not hesitate to do small annual check-ups with the sports doctor and the osteo to make sure that everything is OK!
7 TIMES A WEEK
Does bigorexia mean anything to you? If you are at 7 sessions per week, you have certainly heard about it. Any sports coach will tell you, enough is enough! Learn to ease off a little and enjoy the joys of active recovery before you wear out your body. Anyway, be careful! Excess, even the most healthy ones, are never good for your health!
As you will have understood, the goal is to find a balance between training and recovery during the week. Everyone has to find their ideal pace because many parameters (age, height, weight, sex, level of practice, lifestyle…) come into play.