A question we get a lot is ‘how many times should I be training each week?’ So what’s better? Training once a week or training five times a week?
The short answer is five times a week is better. However, that’s assuming you’re program is written well, you work hard every session, you rest properly, it makes sense for your goal, you have the motivation to do it each day and, most importantly, you have the time to spend 5 hours in the gym each week.
The long answer is that it depends on your circumstances.
There are plenty of factors involved and here we’re going to discuss the biggest.
The first factor is effort. Training once a week at 100% effort trumps training five times a week at 50% effort.
Unless you just enjoy being in the gym for social reasons like most people enjoy being in a pub, the 5/week scenario here is wasteful of your time. You’ll be spending five hours in the gym and getting worse results than spending one hour.
This is VERY simple… Ready?
You can’t train five times a week if you don’t have the time to do it.
If you only have time to train once a week, you should train once a week.
Following on smoothly from time, is your motivation. With it being January, motivation is usually the highest it’s going to be all year (apart from the two weeks before your summer holiday), so right now it’s easy to get up and go to the gym often.
But what happens when the motivation runs out? You stop going at all.
You know the usual story of people quitting their new years resolution a few weeks or months in.
People think backwards. Usually they think if I start off going every day, then drop back to what I’m comfortable with, I’ll stick with it forever.
We’re creatures of habit. If you don’t already go to the gym or you’ve not been for a while, start slowly. Go once a week. Do that for at least a month, then, and only then, consider going twice a week.
If you don’t want to go twice, don’t. Training once a week forever is a MILLION times better than training five times a week for one month out of six.
If you start going five times the first week, then four the next, it means you said ‘no’ to one of your sessions. Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to build a habit of ‘no’ then it is a habit of ‘yes’.
Build on small wins. Build the habit of training regularly by making it easy to do.
The last factor is what you want to achieve. If you have dreams of becoming a world class body builder and you only want to train once a week, you need a change of career.
If you want to lose a stone in a week, training once that week won’t work either.
If you want to maintain your current strength, training once a week can work for you.
With this, all you need to do is apply common sense.
As always when it comes to health, your number of training days depends one hundred percent on what’s best for you.
Factor in your goal, the time you have available and your long term motivation.
Finally, to make it worthwhile, make sure you give 100% each time you go.