This is a very common question that I get a lot from people who are looking to start some kind of strength training or cardio routine. My answer is simple – Be realistic. Be honest with yourself. Start slow, be consistent and gather momentum.
Being realistic requires you to be honest with yourself and your current life circumstances. Generally, training 2-4 times a week works well for most of us. In my experience, two days is the absolute minimum to see any kind of progress. So what you need to do is sit down and map out your current life schedule. Are you working 20 hours a week or 80 hours a week? Are you married with 3 kids or single and ready to mingle? Are you a full-time caregiver to someone or are you a 15 year old with all the time in the world? Your life circumstances will play a major factor in your ability to make time for the gym.
Your Life Circumstances Matter
If you work 80 hours a week and you’re married with 2 kids at home, making time to train 5x a week is probably not optimal and realistic. What often happens is that someone sets up their plan to train 5x a week, gets really pumped up about it and does it for 2 weeks and quits because it is too hard to stick to. At this point, they feel bad about themselves for not being able to stick with it and they don’t gain any momentum to make any progress. This is why being realistic is so key. For this same person, I would recommend 2-3x a week to start. This is a realistic approach and something that they’ll be able to stick with for a long period of time.
Being consistent and working hard for a long period of time is what yields consistent results. This applies to strength training, cardio, nutrition but this also starts to build discipline for other things in our lives such as family life, business and our own personal growth.
While I’m on the topic of discipline, another important thing about training is to set certain times/days in which you will train. This time/day should be non-negotiable 98.9% of the time unless something really serious happens. I often hear people say this and I’ve done it myself and it never works out – EVER. “I’ll go when I have time today.” According to the NLBS (National League of Botched Statistics), this particular phrase has a failure rate of 88.9%. Having a set time/day is an absolute must if you are to be consistent, gain momentum and move towards your goals.
So, how many days should I train? You still never said.
No one knows your schedule as well as you do. No one knows how hungry you are to become better except you. Be realistic. Be honest with yourself. Make time for your training and your personal growth and reap the benefits. Make it happen.
“The number of days that you decide to train per week is not as important as the number of years that you stick to it.”