What’s the maximum time of exercise one should do per week?

It’s important to exercise every day, but spending too much time in the gym is also not going to help you achieve weight loss or build muscle.

Depending on what you want to achieve, will dictate the minimum or maximum amount of time you should spend on your sessions, and overall, what that adds up to for the duration of the week. I like to think of the driving force as my goal, and what will fit into my schedule. Most of us have full time jobs, families, babies and other dedications we need to take into consideration. It’s important you make sure these are all catered to when planning your training. I will highlight some points for you broadly, as they can help you and many other people searching for the answer to this question.

2 key considerations for achieving your fat loss and muscle building goals.

  1. Will you train before, at lunch or after work?
    Depending on your life schedule, as well as your work demands, deciding whether to train in the morning, lunch or the afternoon is very important. You must find a time frame, as well as a place within your day, where you can get on with your workout – without interruptions and complete focus. If you do not take this into consideration, your training sessions will not be effective, because calls, emails and messages will surely make those disruptions. Then giving it your within the training window, will definitely not happen. Perhaps another factor could be that your session runs over time, because you’ve been too busy answering phone calls and emails whilst working out. When it’s gym time, multi tasking is not going to win you any gains in muscle or fat loss! Keep this in mind when choosing your special window. The best tip I can give is to train in the morning. Not a morning person, then if that’s the only limited space where you have peace, quiet and serenity to get on with your training – please do get over the morning thing. What’s most important is you dedicate time, effort and commitment to your goals – no matter what time it is.
  2. What sort of training will you be doing?
    If you are training for a marathon, a competition of some sort, iron man, trying to build muscle or gain fat, then it will all have a big impact on the time necessary to achieve this. Usually those training for an event need huge amounts of time dedicated to their effort. They want to win, or best yet, beat the personal best from last marathon. Sometimes twice a day training is needed in order to get to that peak performance. I cannot comment on event training, although with weights and cardio, I most definitely can offer some solid timing advice;

    1. If you are after fat loss with cardio, you should take on HIIT, which is intense, short bursts of all out effort, followed by active recovery. The complete duration of this is usually between 20–30 minutes maximum. If you can do more than this, you are either really fit, or you are not working at your absolute maximum capacity. You would physically need to stop at around the 30 minute mark, if that was the case.2. For strength training, you will need at least an hour, possible a little more for this one. The reason being is because after we complete a set, the timeframe needed for recovery should be between 1.20 – 2.30 minutes. Strength training requires we lift the most maximum capacity we can, for at least 3–6 reps. By the time make it to all our in between recovery, the hour has passed. It’s not that you are working out during this whole time, you are lifting heavy weight and allowing the body enough time to recover. This is what build strength, and power lifting athletes do this.

    3. If you are training for hypertrophy, your session should last between 40 minutes, to 1 hour. More than this would be detrimental. You need to allow a very small window of recovery, using moderately heavy weight. The reps should be between 8–12.

I’m assuming you are training for the above, and can therefore see, that each and every phase of exercise requires a different amount. Each and every week should be different, depending on what you are doing. Don’t do the same exercises per day, and per week. Change it up regularly, as your body is very susceptible to exercise adaptations, and you can experience that dreaded plateau that creeps in.

Before I finish off, I want to mention the importance of diet. The first and most important signifier of our body composition and health results, is what we CHOOSE to put into our mouthes on a day to day basis. Pick and choose wisely, as no amount of exercise will ever sort this one out for you. Believe me, I’ve been there many times and after 17 years, I’m going to tell you what I tell myself – It does not work. Eat well, eat lean and exercise, keep active, rest and smile -the results will come around soon enough.

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