One of the most attractive features of our program is the relatively infrequent nature of our 20 minute workouts. The vast majority of clients train twice a week or less. That’s huge time savings compared with virtually every other option out there. But how should someone determine their ideal training frequency? It comes down to two primary areas of focus:
- Your body’s ability to recover
- Your lifestyle
The first category is of primary importance from purely a physical standpoint, but both variables influence each other as well. In simple terms, most individuals require 72 hours of rest between our workouts (due to their intensity) to allow for full recovery and adaptation. Working out sooner than this risks short-changing the full benefits from the workout. Your body cannot both recover and be overloaded with demand (i.e. the workout) at the same time. So, once you trigger a growth response in your body, you need to give your body time to do something with that signal. Similar to how a scab appears over a wound while your body repairs the tissue, your muscles need time to repair and rebuild after a workout. Working out too frequently is like picking a scab over and over again and never letting your skin fully heal.
So, if your workouts are spread out every 72+ hours, that’s no more than 2 workouts per week. Some people, however, need more time than that. Their body simply needs more time and it becomes apparent when their performance in the workouts start to decline. So, if that’s you, there’s really no option other than to workout less frequently.
Now, once your body does make a full recovery, it won’t immediately lose those gains it just got done producing. That wouldn’t make sense. It will naturally hang onto those gains for a period of time until your body perceives it no longer needs them and you start to atrophy. It’s not completely certain when this starts to occur, and there is a lot of individual variation. But, it’s safe to say you are good for at least 7-10 days. For this reason, you could workout once a week and still make progress over time. Pretty amazing!
Your lifestyle also plays a role in determining your ideal frequency. Simply put, many people have a busy schedule and it might not be possible to even squeeze in two, twenty minute workouts per week. Others however, have more time available and can fit in two workouts per week. One positive aspect of working out twice a week is that it seems to impact your weekly rhythm in a more positive way. It seems that when we workout, many other areas of our lives seem to improve naturally. We make better eating decisions, we may sleep better, be less stressed, etc., all of which improve the overall quality of our life. Training twice a week versus once a week seems to have a more positive impact on our lifestyle in our observation over the years.
So, what do we recommend?
Generally speaking, if your body can make a full recovery and your schedule allows for it, I would suggest twice a week for most people. You’ll get the full benefits of the physical adaptations from the workout, plus you’ll be more likely to make better lifestyle decisions throughout the week, which again improves the quality of your life as a whole. At the same time, training once a week is a great option as well and I’ve seen many lives benefit from it. Ultimately, it’s up to YOU to decide what is best for your goals and lifestyle.