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How Often Should I Lift Weights?
Isn’t it all relevant to you, your needs, your goals and your life? Of course it is! Not everyone has time to workout every day or the desire. What are your goals? Are you looking to better your health, lose weight, gain muscle? Each of these things plays a role in how often you should lift weights.
Heavy lifting is used to gain muscle mass and when done correctly needs ample rest to heal between workouts. Smaller muscle groups will need less time, 1 day off and larger muscle groups such as back, chest and legs need 2 days off. Are you looking to gain size by adding muscle? This is your plan 1 day on training a large muscle group and 2 days off for rest and recovery. Next is 2 days on and 1 day off after training small muscle groups. Allow your body time to heal. Remember in growth you are essentially tearing muscle fibers and when they heal those fibers increase in density! AHA, bigger muscles!
If you don’t workout at all and you are just beginning. I always recommend for first timers to do short, even 5 minute workouts to get into a routine. This type of routine should be done every day, remember it is only 5 minutes. Pick 1 body part to focus on each day. Only have 2 days off from work and these would be the only days you can train? I suggest dividing up the 2 days into upper body and lower body but remember this will take more time, a lot more time, preferably an hour. Allowing yourself 3 days shortens the workout and you may find this to be more manageable. Give yourself a minimum of 30 minutes to accomplish all the exercises for each body part. So, if time is an issue, start with 5 minutes every day. If time is not an issue but days are, then 2 or 3 days will probably work best.
Anyone looking to up their fitness level or maintain a healthy lifestyle your aim should be 4-5 times a week and not necessarily the same type of workout. Mix it up with suspension training, resistance band training, exercise sliders and HIIT. Don’t get caught repeating the same exact workout day in and day out because it not only becomes boring and repetitious but your body will slowly stop responding and you are less likely to see improvement. Weight training like any other workout is beneficial but to get the most from your training, change it up often!
Losing weight from weight training is a natural progression. The more muscle mass you have the higher your metabolic efficiency in weight loss will be by burning more calories at rest. I’m sure you have seen people who look amazing eating a cheeseburger or pizza and you watch saying that must be the only thing she’s eaten all day! Not true! Pack on the muscle and let your body burn the calories for you! Yes it is true! Don’t be afraid to add muscle to your body, you will be shocked that you will be smaller not larger because you will be tighter, more toned and become leaner.
So, as you can see there are many right answers to how often you should weight train. I personally do some type of workout nearly every day with or without weights. I take off when I need to. I break up my workouts by body parts, cardio, suspension training, pilates, yoga and core. This is how I maintain my focus, drive and passion for fitness. I keep it interesting and new whenever possible. I have been at this for a very long time. It is never too late to start your fitness journey. Your plan needs to fit your life and your goals! So take a few moments, even write things down. Start with how much time can you dedicate to weight training? How many days will you be available to train? What are your goals for your weight training? As soon as you have these questions answered, don’t wait, get started. There is a healthier, happier you waiting inside you!
Written by Christina Widmark