Ask your friends, family or even your doctor how often you should work out to get results and you will receive different advice.
In short, they will all tell you to either eat less, move more or both.
It’s technically correct, but not helpful advice.
But if we just focus on our workouts, how much do we actually need to workout to get results?
Although not all exercise is created equal, some types do burn more fat that others, but is moving more the solution to our fitness woes?
If you aren’t currently exercising, any exercise will cause big changes in your body for the first few weeks. If this is you, you want to focus on frequent, but short work outs.
After a few weeks, our bodies adjust. Now we need to focus on our intent. You can focus on 60mins of easy exercise, or 30mins of vigorous exercise. This doesn’t mean burpee squat jumps for 30mins, but putting in 100% effort into your class or trainers program:
If you have a cardio based session planned, know that the shorter, more intense bursts with rests in between will do better than an unchanged, maintainable and steady work out. (Think 2min boxing rounds here)
If you have a strength class, know that the heavier you lift, the better. This is because you will be burning fat for hours afterwards as your body returns to homeostasis.
All of this happens due to your metabolism, which is kind of like your bodies manager. Your body will always strive for an equal balance of energy in and energy out (called homeostasis), so to get your body to change, you need to challenge your body. This can be done by changing up your workouts, lifting heavier, raising your intensity and changing your diet too.
Your results happens during that adjustment period where you are making changes, as your bodies set point of body fat will be lowered, and muscle mass increased. If you stay consistent, you will remain at your new, lower body fat mass and higher muscle mass – both of which give you a better looking physique!
Add more intent, or implement a new dietary habit and this will happen again. Your set point will continue to drop.
Half ass-ing a work out won’t get results. Wishing for results won’t work either. If you don’t make changes, your body won’t change either.
This is why people who combine dietary changes with exercise will lose weight, get fitter and tone up quicker than those just doing exercise alone.
So what is the ideal amount to work out?
It is completely dependent on each person. However, for most people, it will be 30-60mins 3-6 times per week.
The main thing is that you add intensity to the time you spend working out, and then start to look at your nutrition. Layering good habits on top of intent, and keeping consistent is where true, long lasting change lives.