How Often Should You Exercise To Lose Weight

I grabbed my towel and water bottle and headed out of the changing room and into the gym. As I looked around, I took a mental note of how often I have seen familiar faces, how long they have been coming to the gym, and what types of equipment and exercises I have seen them do. 

I have had conversations with most of these people, and have come to understand what they wished to achieve by working out on a regular basis. As I thought about all of this, I was reminded of common exercise mistakes most people make, and how often I have found myself addressing the question of how often someone should exercise.

Woman Doing Fitness Exercises

Over the years, the question of frequency has come up time and time again. I have had countless emails, and have found myself in a number of conversations that this topic has come up in. I have found that this is something that plagues both beginners and fitness buffs alike.

The entire idea of weight loss includes several major factors. They include a combination of exercise, diet, and some would argue emotional and mental well being. There is no arguing that a proper diet is essential, but so is the right amount and types of exercise if your goal is weight loss.

As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more. Want to aim even higher? You can achieve more health benefits, including increased weight loss, if you ramp up your exercise to 300 minutes a week – Mayo Clinic

These studies have shown that this is the overall perfect time frame to work within for losing weight, maintaining that weight loss, lowering the risk of cancer, and improving overall health. Though these groups have done their research, it’s important to remember to listen to your own body, as well.

The reason that exercise works for losing weight requires an understanding that you are tearing your body down and breaking the muscle tissue in order to build a new, slimmer you. Combined with the proper diet, the body begins to use calories from the stored fat in your body in order to rebuild this broken tissue.

These tears in the muscle and tissue are not dangerous or damaging. It’s still necessary to remember that they are tears and that the body needs a sufficient amount of time to recover and heal itself.

fitness, healthcare and medicine concept - close up of sporty woman touching her back

It’s important to listen to your body and follow it’s guidance. You need to give your muscles time to heal and rebuild in order to get the best workout possible. Working one particular muscle group each and every day may not be healthy for you in the long run.

Give each part of your body 48 to 72 hours to heal. Pay attention to the signals your body is sending you, as well. If you are overly tired or in pain from following a routine of at least one hour a day, for five days out of the week, then cut back how often you work out until your body has had time to adjust.

To score the most from exercise, you only need to go hard three or four times a week. – Self Magazine

Especially if you are just starting on your weight loss path, it’s important not to overdo it at first. Getting to the shape your body is in now didn’t happen overnight, and getting it to the shape you want it to be it won’t happen that fast either. Be willing to push yourself and your limits without using your body as an excuse, but be willing to listen to it as well. Doing too much at first can actually do more harm than good in the long run.

Ultimately the answer to the question of how frequently someone should workout comes down to two simple responses. Stick to these two basic guidelines, and you will be on the right track. If your diet is taking in fewer calories, fat, and carbohydrates than your body burns, you are on the right track.

Losing weight

It really is a simple process of more going out than what comes in. You need to make sure you aren’t starving yourself or the body, but a graduate decrease in the foods that increase weight gain, and an increase in those that don’t, is an essential element of weight loss. In some cases certain food should be avoided due to the inflammation they cause within the body.

The second part of the equation is listening to the body. You should be listening to your body and pushing your limits. Exercise as frequently as you can comfortably do. This requires a balance of giving the body sufficient rest, but also pushing the body and exercising often enough to burn the necessary calories and fat for losing weight.