How Often Should You Go To The Gym? The Clear Answer

Kudos to you for making the decision to go to the gym. 

But you only have so much time to dedicate in your busy week.
Time is valuable and you don’t want to overspend it at the gym.

As a gym goer and certified personal trainer, I get that.

That begs the question, how often should you go to the gym? Three to five days per week is the magic number.

Here’s what’s coming up.

How Often Should You Go To The Gym?

How Often Should You Go To The Gym? 

How Often You Should Go To The Gym

Research says you should go to the gym 3 to 5 times per week. That’s a minimum of 2 days for resistance training. Then 75 to 150 minutes of aerobic exercise. 

The actual amount of days will vary based on your goals. 

  • For instance, if you’re looking for more general health and wellness, take a lighter approach with 3 days per week. You’ll get fit with consistency and a proper diet. 
  • More extreme end goals like running a marathon or doing a weight lifting competition will require more days. The amount of days all depend on a few things. 

Here’s 3 things to consider when deciding how often you should go to the gym. 

1. What’s Your Current Fitness Level?

If you’re a beginner to exercising then you don’t need to max out your gym time. Take it slow, but slowly ramp up the intensity when you’re stronger. 

You can get the itch to go more days as an intermediate or advanced lifter. Don’t burn out though! Taking rest days results in more gains. I’ll talk about this later. 

2. How Much Time Do You Have? 

Go with what works best with your schedule. Personally, I need the stress release of a good workout even though I’m busy. 

Choose exercises that are simple and fast to do, like push up variations or medial triceps exercises. You wouldn’t want to do exercises that can take a while.

Eventually you’ll make the habit of going. The hard part is actually going even when you don’t have the motivation to go. 

You’ve made the decision to go to the gym, so start by picking what day and time works best. Then commit to it and do your best to make it. The internal struggle is real, but pushing through it will help achieve your goals. 

3. What Fitness Goals Do You Have? 

An important step to follow through with the gym is to know what you want out of it. 

Gym goers in this study believed that they had more efficiency, productivity, and a higher sense of well-being control in their lives from going to the gym. 

Your fitness goals will have a personal connection to your experiences. 

To get in tune with your fitness goals, have a conversation with someone, write in a journal, or post your ideas on social media to get community help. 

Fitness Goals 

how often should you go to the gym

Finding motivation to go to the gym, let alone workout is hard. Having a clear picture of where you want to be in 6 months to a year is a fantastic way to stay motivated. 

Be realistic though. Change doesn’t happen overnight, or even over a month. 

It happens over months and years. I didn’t mention this for you to throw in the towel on achieving your fitness goals. It’s possible to get there and it’s done one day at a time.

So brainstorm ideas on what you want to achieve and take action to get there. Here’s three types of fitness goals you may have.

General Fitness 

We live in the age of social media browsing, streaming services, and food delivery. In other words, we sit down….a lot! 

That’s why general fitness is so important for overall health. Too much sitting can cause weight gain and lower back issues, but staying active will keep your muscles strong.  

There’s an old saying, “use it or lose it!” That’s true of both body and mind. Fitness helps with mental health by reducing stress and boosting self-esteem. 

For general fitness, go to the gym 2 to 3 days a week. You can do both cardio and resistance training. 

Weight Loss  

Weight loss is a step in the right direction if you’re overweight or obese. It’s a start to living a heart healthy life with better mobility and endurance. 

  • Exercise is one part of lifestyle change. The other needed ingredient to weight loss is proper nutrition.
  • By losing weight you’ll reduce the risk of obesity related diseases like type-2-diabetes. 
  • You may face physical setbacks, like joint pain or trouble breathing. Even more, you’ll face mental setbacks. All kinds of thoughts will try to make you quit. 

But don’t give up! Find ways to keep you going. For weight loss, go to the gym at least 3 to 5 days per week.

Have a mix of strength training and cardio exercises. If you need help, ask a coach or personal trainer. 

Muscle Building  

Looking to improve physical appearance and overall health? Then muscle building is a great goal to have. 

This study says you need at least 2 days a week of strength training to build muscle.

You can add lean muscle to the right places by targeting specific muscle groups. With regular resistance training, you’ll burn more calories by building muscle. 

You can even take supplements like pre-workout, or creatine to give you more energy.

Aim for 2 to 5 days of resistance training to build muscle.  Keep it mind that its’ important to have rest days to let your body recover. 

The Importance of Rest and Recovery

If you have fatigue, soreness, or pain, then it’s time to hit the brakes. Resting is about listening to your body and adjusting your schedule. 

Here’s why rest and recovery are important. 

  • The body naturally rebuilds tissues that were stressed from physical activity during your workout. Recovery takes time but leaves you with stronger muscles, bones, and joints. 
  • There is an idea that floats around in the hardcore gym-going community that rest is for the weak. That’s flat out wrong. 
  • It’s not good to burnout from a workout when you have other things to do. It’s not ok to put yourself at greater risk of injury by not letting your body heal. 

Rest day should be taken every 7-10 days or as needed. You can however do light cardio on rest days. It helps to speed up recovery because of increased blood flow to sore muscles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Okay To Go
To The Gym Everyday? 

Technically you could go everyday. But it depends more on your health, workout routine, and fitness goals. 

A scenario for going every day is that you do cardio on some days and weight lifting on the other. For a “rest day” you can do extended light cardio or stretching. 

Going to the gym is beneficial for your body and mind, but so is recovery time after intense physical activity. Don’t risk injury from going to the gym if you should be resting that day. 

How Many Days A Week
Should I Go To The Gym?

Go to the gym 3 to 5 times a week, according to your fitness goals.

Weight loss and muscle building requires 3 to 5 days a week. General fitness and wellness can be 2 to 3 days a week. 

I mean, if 1 day a week is all you can do, then make it count and go. Dedicating a little time for fitness will go a long way. 

Is It Enough To Go To The Gym 3 Times A Week?

It’s enough if you can use that time to achieve what you planned. 

Getting back into shape can happen within 3 solid days, depending on your current level of fitness. To do that, create a detailed plan of attack to not waste time or effort. 

Keep in mind that bigger goals like lifting more weight or losing 15 pounds may require more time at the gym. 

How Often Should A Beginner Go To The Gym?

Start with 2 to 3 days per week at the gym as a beginner. 

Your body will need to adjust to being physically active, so you might feel sore the next day. Take a rest day in between if needed. 

Add more days per week as you get stronger, but listen to your body if you feel discomfort or pain. Ask help from a coach or personal trainer if you need help to make a workout routine. 

Is 1 Hour Of Gym Too Much?

An hour of gym time can be ok for some people, but not for everyone. It depends on the exercises you’re doing and how intense they are. 

For example, playing basketball, swimming laps, or biking are more cardio based exercises. Weight lifting and bodyweight exercises require strong physical effort. 

Comparing these exercises for one hour really depends on the person. Generally, spend gym sessions appropriate for your age and fitness level. 

Bottom Line 

Go to the gym 3 to 5 days a week. Remember to take rest days to recover. 

It’s important to find a balance that works with your schedule. As a beginner you can start with 2 days, but go more often after you get used to it. 

Building a routine will be key to reaching your fitness goals. 

Curious for more? Discover why people really go the gym.

AUTHOR

Shalom is a content creator, musician, and a teacher at heart. As a certified personal trainer, his goal is to encourage others to lead healthier lives and to get buff in the process!