If you’ve been lifting for a while,”You must workout.” is a statement you are probably familiar with hearing when meeting someone new. A popular question that seems to go right along with this is, “How many days do you work out a week?” For me, I usually give my answer without all the little details. Haha, but if they only knew!
“How Many Days Do You Work Out A Week?”
This question has led me to thinking, “When is enough, enough? How much is too much?” To answer this question I think we should first go back to the days of ol’ when we first picked up that barbell. The world became a strange new place. Barbells, dumbbells, machines and body weight. All of this made us sore. And not just a little sore. Oh, it was a sore that lasted for days.
But then something strange happened. Weeks passed and we just weren’t as sore anymore. The weights that used to feel so daunting weren’t so challenging. The weights moved faster and we began recovering quicker. The typical week of only working out three days per week soon became four days per week. Later four became five and five became six.
What changed? What is it that made us double our time spent in the gym? Right now I can hear you telling me it’s because of recovery and I’m telling you, “No shyt!” Yes it’s recovery but what makes us want to go back to the gym over and over. What is it that keep us coming back? When you take this perspective you can see why people spend 6 days in the gym. It becomes more than just “working out.” There is a passion there that can only be fed with the use of a barbell and weights.
You see, there comes a point when working out isn’t just working out anymore. You strive to not only want to be better, but bigger, faster, stronger. All of these things take time. You’re no longer in the gym just for aesthetic reasons. The bad breakup that got you in the gym in the first place is no longer your motivation. It’s at this point the minimum amount of work no longer cuts it. You have to feed your passion!
The bad breakup that got you in the gym in the first place is no longer your motivation.
If you are of the argument that you only need to “workout” 3 days per week and anything more is excessive, you are partially right. Partially meaning you’re also partially wrong. Look, I agree you can do a lot in the gym with only 3 days per week. A total body transformation can actually take place with this limited amount of time. There is no doubt. However, what is not being told is the other work that goes along with it. The other work being a proper diet which is a 24/7 endeavor and any lite work you incur outside the gym. Lite work being a jog, a brisk walk, a prowler push or anything else to get your heart rate elevated and calories burned. 3 days a week is good enough for someone who just wants to get in shape and get stronger.
However, if you are an athlete, three days a week no longer cuts it. You want to be great, you want to be better and you’re going to give it your all. Your all isn’t being given when you leisurely stroll into the gym three days per week. You know it and that’s why you don’t do it.
You have to bust your hump on the regular to truly get what you want.
Now, is it possible to train only three days per week and still be greater than the rest? Yes, people have proven it in the past and will prove it in the future. But these people are the exception, not the rule. You have to bust your hump on the regular to truly get what you want. And this goes beyond just weightlifting, bodybuilding, CrossFit, etc. This goes for that promotion you want at work, that next client, that next sale. The world is full of opportunity, but it’s not going to be handed to you. You have to go and take it and all of it will take you more than three days per week.
So, how many days do I work out a week? On the surface, I do work out 6 days per week but that’s not really the true answer. I typically train 12-13 times per week during these 6 days. No, they’re not all one hour sessions. Some range from 20-30 minutes, others range from 45 minutes to an hour. But if you are to count sessions, 12-13 is the typical week. So how do I do it? How does anyone do it for that matter? Am I not over-training?
I base my training schedule based on feel. There is nothing concrete in my training schedule other than my typical Monday through Friday morning sessions and I am sure if I woke up one morning feeling like a total wreck it would be a sign to take a day off. But I haven’t felt like a total wreck so I haven’t taken a day off.
In the mornings I do a CrossFit workout, calisthenics for those who don’t like to use the word CrossFit. In the evenings I incorporate strength training with some sort of powerlifting movement whether it’s the squat, press or deadlift. Would I do this if I didn’t have a gym in my garage? Probably not. Family obligations and other things would take precedence but I have set myself up for success and figured out some sort of chaotic balance so that I can train more often.
Can you do this? Hell yes, you can do this! Can you do this if you’re new to training? Hell no! Building up the muscle endurance to train on the regular multiple times per day and multiple times per week takes time. You have to build up your body to take on the strenuous training. You also have to be smart about it.
How To Train Multiple Times Per Day
I like my chiropractor. He asks me how many days I work out a week. I tell him 6 and he replies, “We thank you for taking a day off!”
I’m sure this post will get under the skin of people who just want to be fit. If this is you, it’s not personal. We all have different goals. If 3 days a week works for you, do it. It hurts me none the less. For those of you wanting to get more out of your training, start small. Switch your workouts up. Do some calisthenics to build up your stamina during one part of the day, do strength training at another time of day. It’s that simple. If something hurts, quit doing it. This is the basics of training. Don’t over do it and most importantly, listen to your body.
If you want to get better at something, do it more often. The 10,000 hour rule applies to fitness just like any other endeavor. You put in the work, it will pay off. Become a master. Kick some a$! and take what you want. But you’ve got to earn it. The barbell will not give it to you.