The short answer – it depends on your goals and current fitness level. I know—this is a very frustrating answer. But in truth, everyone is unique, with different goals and challenges.
First, let’s talk about some general recommendations for frequency of different types of exercise from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM):
- 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiorespiratory exercise per week
- typically 30 minutes per day, 5 times per week
- Examples: walking, light yard work, biking casually
- 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardiorespiratory exercise per week
- Examples: jogging, running, swimming, jumping rope, playing sports, hiking
- Resistance training 2 or more days per week
- This should include training of all the major muscle groups
- Flexibility and neuromotor exercise (e.g. balance, agility, and coordination) 2 times per week
This is a general guideline for staying active and healthy for the average person.
Next, you’ll need to consider what your goals are.
For weight loss, the general rule of thumb is to create a caloric deficit, not only by the amount of calories you burn in the gym, but by the amount you consume. You will want to move with purpose for at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week. We suggest at least two days of strength training to increase muscle mass and increase metabolism as well as three to four days of cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, jogging or biking, to help create the calorie deficit you need to lose weight.
For increasing muscle mass and tone, pick challenging weights in which you can perform at least eight repetitions with proper form. Continue to challenge your muscles with new exercises and more weight over time. To see changes in your body composition and muscular strength, we recommend a minimum of two sessions of strength training per week.
Finally, if you are considering starting a new health and fitness routine, please consult a medical professional first.