How often should you work out for weight loss and muscle gain?

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Working out is a good way of reducing fat and increasing muscle. Keeping in good shape helps the body stay fit and reduces the chance of developing certain health conditions. Obesity is a rising health concern. Around 66.3% of adults in the United States have obesity or overweight. This increase […]

Working out is a good way of reducing fat and increasing muscle. Keeping in good shape helps the body stay fit and reduces the chance of developing certain health conditions.

Obesity is a rising health concern. Around 66.3% of adults in the United States have obesity or overweight.

This increase in obesity among U.S. adults is leading to a rise in conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Staying physically active can help people maintain a moderate body weight.

Exercise also comes with other physical, mental, and social health benefits that can improve quality of life for people of all ages.

In this article, learn more about how often to work out for weight loss and muscle gain. This article also covers how to choose a workout based on current fitness levels.

Many workout types exist, and people use these differently depending on their fitness goals. One example of these types is high intensity interval training. This is a popular method that uses a combination of cardiovascular and strength-based fitness to achieve weight loss and muscle gain.

The benefits of working out overlap, but typically, cardiovascular exercises are better for weight loss, as they burn more overall body fat.

Strength-based exercises target specific muscle groups. These also burn calories, but unlike most cardiovascular techniques, the strength-based movements focus on individual areas of the body.

If a person goes from minimal physical activity to working out, they may find that progress is slow to begin with.

However, once the body gets used to the process, a person’s metabolism starts to increase. Having a higher metabolism causes the body to burn more calories, even while it is resting.

Beginning a workout routine after not getting much physical activity for a while can put the body under stress and cause injury if a person starts too quickly. It is, therefore, best to start slowly and gradually increase the frequency, duration, and intensity of workouts.

Also, remember that being physically active will not lead to weight loss by itself. Eating a healthful, balanced diet must accompany an increase in exercise.

In general, losing weight relies on the person’s body using more calories than it takes in.

The effect of how often a person works out on the weight they lose will vary based on individual factors, such as metabolism, diet, and the type of exercise they are performing.

A workout of moderate intensity will not burn as many calories as a more vigorously intense workout.

The World Health Organization (WHO) advise that healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 64 years perform 75 minutes of intense exercise or 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week.

The American College of Sports Medicine and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise that people perform vigorously intense exercise sessions lasting for at least 20 minutes each on 3 days each week.

They also advise that people perform these vigorously intense sessions in addition to moderately intense exercise sessions that last for over 30 minutes on 5 days each week.

To control body weight, some studies suggest doubling these exercise periods.

This would mean allocating at least 150 minutes each week to intense exercise or 300 minutes to workouts of moderate intensity. When a person’s aim is to lose body fat, they should try to increase the amount of time they spend on cardiovascular fitness.

It is difficult to say how often a person should work out for muscle gain, as there are many individual factors involved.

Focusing on only one muscle group will cause muscle gain in that area but may result in a person not focusing as much on other parts of the body. A good exercise program will include all the main muscle groups.

Depending on a person’s fitness goals, they can either train these muscle groups individually, using exercises that isolate specific muscles, or at the same time, using full-body exercises.

To increase strength, a person may wish to decrease the number of repetitions they do but increase the intensity of the exercise. For example, this may mean lifting heavier weights but for fewer reps.

Increasing the number of repetitions with a lighter weight will help increase muscular endurance and burn fat in the area, which will make the muscle more visible.

A workout designed to build muscle may space training different muscle groups out over different days. For example, this could mean training the arms on a Monday and the legs on a Wednesday, with at least 48 hours’ rest between training sessions that target the same muscle group.

Workouts can take place in a gym, but they can also take place at home or outside. A person’s individual preference will depend on which option is a more comfortable and motivational environment for them.

Below are some examples of weekly muscle-strengthening workouts that a person can perform anywhere.

Because these workouts target all the major muscle groups of the body, it is best to perform them on 3 or 4 days per week, leaving at least 48 hours’ rest between sessions.

Beginner

Warmup:

  • 15-minute walk
  • 5 minutes of dynamic stretching, starting at the top of the body and working down to the feet

Full-body workout routine:

  • 30-second punches
  • five sit-to-stands
    • Start by sitting on a chair, then stand up, then sit down again.
  • eight calf raises
  • five standing knee raises on each leg
    • Keep the knee raised for 5 seconds each time.
  • 10 abdominal bridges

Rest for 2 minutes, then repeat the workout routine two more times.

Cool-down:

  • 10-minute walk
  • 5-minute stretch

Stretching at the start and end of each workout can help improve the flexibility necessary for the activity. However, although many people believe that this reduces the risk of injury, some sources suggest that this may not be the case.

Intermediate

Warmup:

  • 15-minute cycle
  • 5 minutes of stretching, starting at the top of the body and working down to the feet

Full-body workout routine (resting for 30 seconds between sets):

  • eight squats
  • eight forward lunges on each leg
  • 20-second plank
  • 10 tricep dips
  • 10 crunches

Rest for 2 minutes, then repeat the workout routine two more times.

Cool-down:

  • 10-minute light jog
  • 5-minute stretch

Advanced

Warmup:

  • 15-minute light jog
  • 5 minutes of stretching, starting at the top of the body and working down to the feet

Full-body workout routine (resting for 30 seconds between sets):

  • 12 side lunges on each leg
  • 12 forward lunges on each leg
  • 15 squats
  • 10 pushups
  • 1-minute plank

Rest for 2 minutes, then repeat the workout routine three more times.

Cool-down:

  • 10-minute jog
  • 5-minute stretch

People cannot just work out for a set number of hours each week and expect to lose weight or gain muscle.

The workouts must be challenging enough to make a difference. Also, working out should accompany a healthful and well-balanced diet.

To lose weight, a person’s body should use up more calories than it takes in.

Engaging in physical activity of a low intensity but long duration will target weight loss, while exercise that is more intense will increase muscle strength.

It is important to stick with a workout regimen. Studies suggest that muscle-strengthening exercise programs may take 6–10 weeks of work before results begin to show.

Also, bear in mind that body weight may not change much if a person is losing fat but replacing it with muscle.

There are many ways to exercise. Find workouts that feel fun and motivating. Push to try new and harder things, but avoid overworking the body; otherwise, injuries may occur.

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