How many times have you heard that the more you train, the better your results will be?
I don’t know about you guys, but when I started working out, I thought that training twice a day was going to get me jacked. I really had no concept of what it took to see results!
I thought that being in the gym 10 times per week was the only way to get myself to where I wanted to go. Little did I know, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, rest is essential for seeing the results you’re looking for in the gym. If you’re struggling to figure out how often you should lift weights, you came to the right place.
How Often Should You Lift Weights?
So, how often should you lift weights? The answer to this question actually depends on quite a few different factors.
For most people, I would recommend getting in 3-5 sessions of weight resistance training per week. However, this is a very general recommendation and is definitely not universal.
The good news is ... you don’t have to train multiple times a day, or even every day. At the same time, you certainly can if you’d like to!
A lot of times, the real answer to this question comes down to your goals. On top of that, figuring out what best fits your routine can be important too.
So, let’s dive into the different types of goals, and the ideal number of days you should be training to accomplish them.
How Many Days a Week Should You Lift Weights To Build Muscle?
You will find a ton of different answers to this question. However, there is an ideal amount. The most recent research suggests that you should target each muscle group two to three times a week to maximize muscle growth (1).
Depending on how you choose to accomplish that, you could be training anywhere between 3-6 days a week. For most people, weightlifting 3-5 times per week is plenty for building muscle. Plus, taking a rest day every 3-5 days is shown to have a ton of benefits in helping people to preserve or build the most muscle possible.
Think of it like this: If you cut your grass every single day … how is your grass ever going to grow any taller? In a way, your muscles are very similar. When you’re looking to build muscle, you can’t constantly break them down in the gym. You have to give them time outside of the gym to repair and grow back bigger and stronger!
So, if you want to maximize muscle growth, I would plan to hit each muscle group twice per week and give your body plenty of time to rest and recover.
It’s also important to point out that building muscle isn’t possible without enough calories and protein. On its own, working out isn’t even half of the equation!
How Many Days a Week Should You Lift Weights To Lose Body Fat?
Now, if you want to lose body fat, the number of days you should lift weights may be different. At the same time though, there are a lot of similarities.
If you’re not as concerned with building, or even maintaining muscle, you could lift weights more days. After all, weightlifting, like any other physical activity, is a great way to burn calories.
In order to lose fat, you need to be burning more calories than you consume. However, building and maintaining muscle can be very helpful for fat loss too.
In that case, it can be helpful to stick with lifting weights the same 3-5 times per week, while giving yourself a chance to work each muscle group 2-3 times.
The reason for this is because the more muscle you have, the more calories your body can burn at rest (2). However, when it comes to losing body fat, it’s much more important that you are eating a sufficient amount of protein and calories to do so.
While you may only want to lift 3-5 days, that doesn’t mean you can’t do active recovery or cardio days too! This is another great way to burn some more calories on top of your weightlifting routine.
Can You Lift Weights Every Day?
If you’d like to lift weights every day … you absolutely can. You can still see good results by training every day. However, this isn’t a great strategy for long-term success.
I love the “all-in” mentality that people may have when they begin their journey. However, overdoing your workouts can impact your body negatively. This is called overtraining, and can get you injured … which I’m sure is the last thing you want.
A lot of injuries are due to overuse, so making sure that you are set up for success with a program is key. Overtraining can even lead to things such as:
• Poor sleep quality
• An inability to relax
• A decrease in motivation
So, be careful and train smart. You can still lift weights every day, but you may not want to go all-out every session. Your recovery is key!
Make Sure You Have a Game Plan
Weightlifting can absolutely help when it comes to building muscle or losing weight. But, regardless of how many days you lift weights, you still need a game plan.
If you aren’t structuring your workouts and recovery days effectively, you may be cutting yourself short of seeing the best possible results. That’s where a tool like the 1st Phorm App can be super helpful for you.
In the app, you won't just get access to custom weightlifting programs for your goals … you also get to work 1-on-1 with your own certified advisor to optimize your nutrition and help you reach your goals!
You’ll even be able to log your food, track your progress, and watch educational videos and live streams to learn everything you need to know for long-term success.
If you have any questions at all, feel free to reach out to us! We have a full team of NASM Certified Personal Trainers and Nutrition Coaches who are happy to help you reach your goals for FREE! Just give us a call at 1-800-409-9732 or send us an email at CustomerService@1stPhorm.com.
(1). Schoenfeld, Brad J et al. “Effects of Resistance Training Frequency on Measures of Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.) vol. 46,11 (2016): 1689-1697. doi:10.1007/s40279-016-0543-8
(2). Willoughby, Darryn et al. “Body Composition Changes in Weight Loss: Strategies and Supplementation for Maintaining Lean Body Mass, a Brief Review.” Nutrients vol. 10,12 1876. 3 Dec. 2018, doi:10.3390/nu10121876