Ask Mike: How Often Should I work Out?
As a personal trainer, I get asked this all the time, and the answer is that it really depends on your
As a general rule I would say:
For maintenance of weight, fitness and health, aim for 1 or 2 high intensity sessions of vigorous
activity per week, plus 1 or 2 light to moderate sessions (walks, light gardening etc).
For transformation, you should aim for 5 or 6 sessions each week, but this only works with a
nutritional shift too – in order to make a big change, you have to factor both in – it just won’t work
Of course there’s more to it than that – there always is! Whatever your fitness goals, here are my
golden rules for putting together a training programme:
1) Never skip a rest day
Rest days are just as important as training days in terms of progression, allowing you to recover and
rebuild, and return to the studio refreshed and ready to work hard. It is essential to have at least one
rest day a week or you risk overtraining and your performance will gradually decline – then it’s just a
matter of time until you get injured.
An effective training plan is like building a house – lay the foundations and let them settle into place
before building the next layer. If you try to build the walls up all at once, the whole thing can come
2) Vary your routines
Doing exactly the same training session every day is not the best way to improve your fitness. At
best it’s boring, and at worst you could hurt yourself.
On cardio days, remember that a good workout can last anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes,
depending on intensity. Throw in some intervals, alternate between longer, lower intensity
workouts and quick high impact sessions on days when time is limited – don’t let your body get used
to a familiar routine.
Variety in strength training is also crucial. Never train the same muscle groups on back to back days –
they need 24-48 hours to recover and rebuild. Working tired, damaged muscles is counterproductive
and won’t get you to your goals any faster.
By varying the type and intensity of your workout, you enhance your health, accelerate results and
reduce injury risk. You’re less likely to get bored and skip it too!
3) Mix cardio and resistance
The ratio of cardio to resistance training in your weekly routine will depend on your goals.
If you’re aiming to lose weight, there will be plenty of cardio, but a couple of resistance sessions are
hugely important too – strength training builds muscle mass, and increases your metabolic rate, so
you’ll burn more calories even when you’re resting.
If you’re aiming to build muscle, your routine will centre around strength training, with minimal
aerobic exercise, but a small amount it still vital to keep your circulatory system working which
improves recovery and endurance.
When you sign up with MW Fitness in Bishop’s Stortford, whether you are a complete beginner or at
a more advanced level, one of our qualified fitness instructors will create a custom training
programme based on your individual goals, giving you effective personal training sessions in our
studio, and also advising you on gym exercises and fitness workouts to do on the days that we don’t
To achieve results, you need support, personalised nutrition advice and a realistic exercise routine
you can stick with. Tell us where you want to go and we’ll help you get there!
Yours in health,
MW Fitness Personal Training, Bishop’s Stortford