What’s the best workout program to achieve X?
How many times should I be training a week if I want to achieve X?
These are questions I get asked on a regular basis and unfortunately, there is no one specific answer. However, I can share with you how I guide my clients on how many days they should train a week.
Whether your goal is fat loss or gaining muscle you need to be doing a combination of weights and cardio training. You can’t do one without the other because you will just be selling yourself short in the short term and the long term. If you look at someone who just does weight training and no cardio they may look good but they get tired very easily. If you look at someone who just does cardio training, they have a kind of skinny fat look to them with flabbiness and no real definition.
If you look at someone who just does weight training and no cardio they may look good but they get tired very easily. If you look at someone who just does cardio training, they have a kind of skinny fat look to them with flabbiness and no real definition.
If your goal is to be a professional endurance runner or powerlifter then maybe doing both of these things isn’t so important, but if you’re just the normal person who wants to look and feel good (like me) then having a combination of the two is going to get you the best outcome.
Weight Training first…
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Weight training always comes first when I design new programs for my clients because it’s the more important out of the two. When you focus on doing weight training you get so many benefits that will carry over to all areas of your life and make your goals a lot easier to achieve not just in the short term but also in the long term. Doing weight training and building up lean muscle increases your metabolism which means you’re going to be able to burn more calories during the day, this also means you’re going to be able to eat more food (who doesn’t love that). When you build more lean muscle you also reduce your body fat percentage which is what most guys goals are in the gym anyways.
Then you think about the long term effects of weight training and getting older. A lot of us think that as we get older our metabolism slows down and it does, but not just for natural reasons. Our metabolism slows down because we become less active and lose muscle mass. A way you can avoid this is by doing weight training to prevent it. It doesn’t matter what age you are, if you’re able to build up a solid amount of lean muscle now, you’re going to still have a fast metabolism when you’re older.
Doing weight training also increases your bone density which is extremely important for avoiding injuries and falls. One of the biggest problems older people face is with trips and falls because they break bones, if you want to avoid breaking bones and not being frail in old age then you must be lifting weights.
When it comes to lifting weights you should not be following a single body part split routine every single day like a professional bodybuilder. This will waste a lot of time, get you slower results, cause possible injury due to overuse. Instead what you should do is train 3 – 4 times a week. Doing a full body routine 3 times a week which means you would work out your whole body on a Monday Wednesday and Friday would be a very good routine, or you could do 4 days of weights and split your training into upper body and lower body training each muscle group twice a week. This will depend on how much time you have and how long you can dedicate to training with weights.
Ahh the fat burner. The thing we all go to when we need to shed the tummy and lose a few KG’s.
The problem with cardio is that most of us overdo it. Instead of just doing it 3 – 4 days a week we tend to do it before and after every single workout session for way too long and don’t get the best results.
If your goal is to burn fat then you should be doing cardio 3 – 4 days a week and mixing up the type of cardio you’re doing.
There is Low intensity cardio – long walking, slow bike riding etc. (Usually about 60 minutes).
There is normal Cardio – jogging, bike riding and rowing (usually about 30 – 40 minutes)
Then there’s HIIT cardio – Sprinting, quick circuits and barbell complexes (usually 20 – 30 minutes)
A combination of these types of cardio on a weekly basis is what’s going to get you the best bang for your buck, doing two HIIT workouts and some normal cardio is what’s going to help you burn the most amount of fat. When you’re in a maintenance period or trying to gain muscle then you could do one HIIT cardio workout a week, one normal cardio workout a week and one low-intensity cardio workout a week which would be enough.
The most important thing about combining the different types of cardio into your routine is the benefits you get from one type that you wouldn’t get from the other. Doing HIIT training may help you burn more calories and increase your VO2 max, but doing Low-intensity cardio helps relieve stress, burns fat as a fuel source and is less impactful on your joints.
Just make sure you’re doing cardio 3 – 4 times a week.
Should You Train Every Day?
You should be moving every single day and contracting muscles, whether that be through cardio or weight training. 1 hour every single day for 7 days a week is not a lot to ask and if you’re serious about your goals short term and also the longevity of your life you should do a combination of weight training and cardio 7 days a week. Here’s how my week looks at the moment to give you an idea:
Monday – Full Body Weight Training
Tuesday – HIIT Cardio
Wednesday – Full Body Weight Training
Thursday – Slow Riding on the bike (Low Intensity Cardio)
Friday – Full Body Weight Training
Saturday – HIIT or 40 minute bike ride
Sunday – Long walking
It doesn’t matter how your week looks but as long as you’re doing a minimum of three weight training sessions a week and combining that with cardio for a total of 7 days of exercise you’re going to reach your goals.
What’s more imporant when it comes to gaining muscle or losing fat is your diet which is what I talked about last week, you can read that right here >>>http://www.tysonbrown.com.au/how-your-metabolism-burns-fat/