You know that working out is essential to shedding pounds, but if you’re unsure exactly how to structure your routine, you’re not alone. Let’s get one daunting question out of the way: how often you should exercise, whether that’s at the gym, at home, or pounding the pavement. The answer?
“Find something you enjoy (or can at least tolerate), and work your way up to exercising five to six days a week, with at least one rest day per week,” Stephanie Blozy, MS, an exercise science expert and owner of Fleet Feet in West Hartford, CT, told POPSUGAR.
While the best exercise is one you like enough to keep coming back to, Kyra Williams, an NASM-certified personal trainer in Tampa, FL, suggested focusing on HIIT and strength training for fat loss.
She recommended lifting weights as part of your workout three to four days a week. “Perform three to four sets of eight to 12 reps of each exercise, using the heaviest weight possible,” Kyra explained. This way, “you’ll be lifting for hypertrophy or muscle building.”
High-intensity interval training, meanwhile, increases your calorie burn both during and after your workout, incinerating fat. So, on days when you’re pressed for time, “You can burn the same amount of calories in 15 minutes as you would during 45 minutes of low-intensity exercise, like walking or bike riding,” Stephanie said, noting that both forms of exercise have a place in any workout plan.
Ultimately, the experts agreed that the frequency of workouts can vary based on your schedule. “If you realistically only have three days a week to work out for one hour, you can get results. If you have 30 minutes five times a week, you can get results in that time frame,” Kyra said. “While I would never suggest exercising for less than 90 minutes a week, two days of lifting for 30 minutes is better than zero.”