The NHS recommends that adults get in at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week, think a brisk power walk that gets your heart pumping, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week such as a run or other aerobic activity that gets you breathing hard and fast. It’s also recommended that you fit in some strengthening activities that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) on at least 2 days a week.
Although this is a good baseline level to aim for to maintain a healthy lifestyle, if you’re on a weight loss mission, you may find this isn’t enough to start seeing the progress you want to achieve.
So how many days a week should you work out to lose weight?
We hate to disappoint, but there’s no simple answer to this question. The amount of time you should spend in the gym is determined by a number of different factors.
Where you are in your fitness journey
If you’re a complete beginner, going from doing nothing to exercising everyday is probably going to be too much, too soon. It’s a good idea to build up your training days gradually, to allow your body time to recover after each session and prevent burn out before you’ve even started to make any progress.
If you’re a certified fitness fanatic who relies on daily exercise for it’s mood boosting effects, rest days are still just as important. Over exercising can actually hinder your weight loss progress.
Always include 1-2 rest days into your weekly weight loss routine to give yourself a break from high intensity exercise. On these days you could still go for a gentle walk or try some Yoga stretches to fit some movement into your day. The idea is that you give your body time to rest and repair so you can carry on training at your best, injury-free.
If you want to lose weight, the best workout routine is one that you enjoy and fits in with your lifestyle. That way you’re more likely to stick to it. When it comes to exercise, consistency is key, so there’s no point committing to an hour of exercise, 6 days a week if in the long term that isn’t sustainable.
If realistically, you can only spend half an hour of your day in the gym, then it’s important to make it count. A Myzone heart rate tracker is a great way to push your workouts to the next level, to make every minute of activity count and maximise your chances of losing weight. It monitors your workout in terms of effort level, giving you real time information that helps push you to your physical limits. Find out more about the benefits of tracking your weight loss workouts with a Myzone belt.
Get your Myzone belt here with an exclusive discount for Village Gym members.
The type of exercise
Put simply, the higher the intensity of your workouts, the less time you will need to spend in the gym. HIIT workouts are a really efficient use of your gym time as they create an 'afterburner' effect - a heightened calorie burn for the next 24-36 hours. Great for anyone with weight loss goals but short on time.
Try GRIT Cardio
Allocating all of your gym time to cardio alone will only get you so far. Adding strength training into your weight loss routine is also a great way to add variety and challenge your body to work in different ways. If you’re new to strength training, start off with these great fat burning exercises.
If you prefer lower intensity workouts such as swimming or Pilates, you’re unlikely to see the same fat burning results in such a short workout window. However to keep your routine consistent, it’s important to stick with what you enjoy and accept that your weight loss results may be slower to show. Forcing yourself into a training routine you hate is not a sustainable route to maintaining weight loss, as you’re more than likely to quit and quickly undo the progress you’ve made.
How long does it take to see results from the gym?
Similarly, there’s no set answer to this and everyone will respond differently. It’s important to use a range of metrics to measure your weight loss. The number on the scales only tells one side of the story and if results are initially slow to show, this can be really demotivating.
Read our guide on signs to look out for that show you’re making progress.
Working out how much time you need to spend in the gym in order to lose weight isn’t an easy task and you’re likely to reach the answer that’s right for you through a trial and error process.
If you’re in need of a little extra guidance to create a weight loss exercise plan, our team of expert personal trainers are on hand to give you one-on-one support to help you achieve your goals.