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How Often to Work Out
It's tough to know how often to work out. Everyone has a different opinion on how much is "just right". Some people say you should lift weights every day, while others insist you alternate between resistance training and HIIT or cardio. So which is it? How much should you be working out every day? The answer: it all depends on the results you want!
Fat Loss/Cutting Body Fat
When trying to get rid of excess body fat, you need to focus on movements that engage the whole body. CrossFit, HIIT, and resistance training whole-body movements are highly effective, as they burn a large amount of calories in a short period of time. However, you can't work out the same muscles every day, so it's a good idea to mix in some cardio training on the off days. You should do 3 to 4 muscle-focused workouts per work, with at least 2-3 cardio training sessions mixed in. You can do cardio on the same day you do resistance training, but also have a day or two dedicated exclusively to working your cardiovascular system as hard as possible. The mix of resistance and cardio will help to torch that extra body fat, making your weight loss much more effective.
If your goal is to pack on the muscle size, you need to think volume. Your muscles need to hit a certain amount of volume of weight every week in order to be pushed past their limits. That means not just a weight limit, but also number of reps. It's recommended that you work each muscle out at least two times per week, up to three for the larger muscle groups (your legs, chest, and back). Increase the volume (more weight, reps, and sets) and you'll see the results in terms of muscle growth. Be warned: a lot of hardcore lifting can be exhausting. If you don't have recovery days between workouts, you can seriously increase your risk of injury.
Strength and Stamina
Strength is only earned through hard work, but it has nothing to do with the size of your muscles. Instead, it's about how much you can lift given your current lean body mass. You may never pack on the pounds of muscle doing basic strength training, but you will make your existing muscle mass significantly stronger. To achieve that result, you need to engage in bodyweight training, functional training, and resistance training that uses heavy sets to increase muscular capacity. Your strength training should focus on engaging multiple muscle groups at once, working the big movements like Bench Pressing, Deadlifting, and Squatting. The more you focus on your big muscle groups, the stronger your individual muscles will become.
Endurance training is a tough one, but it's vital for building lean muscle mass. It's all about using less weight but performing a lot more reps. You may end up performing sets of 20 to 25 reps, or multiple lighter sets in a row without a break. It can be exhausting and painful, but it's highly effective for burning fat and building endurance for low intensity, steady state exercise. Rowing, jogging, and simple resistance training can all be highly effective for increasing your endurance. You need to give your body a 24-hour break between training, but you can switch things up by working your Lower Body one day and your Upper Body the next. The fact that you're never really causing too much damage to your muscle fibers (common with very heavy weights) means you don't need as much recovery time. One day on, one day off should do the trick.