How often to train?

In the world of fitness, one of the most common and often perplexing questions that arises is: How often should one train? While this seemingly simple inquiry may not have a one-size-fits-all answer, it's undoubtedly a critical aspect of any effective workout routine. The frequency of your training sessions can significantly impact your progress, results, and overall health. 

To shed light on this topic, we'll delve into various factors that should guide your decision on how often to train, including the type of workouts, your fitness level, and your individual goals. Whether you're a seasoned gym-goer or a beginner on your fitness journey, understanding the ideal training frequency is key to achieving your desired outcomes and maintaining a sustainable, long-term fitness regimen. In this article, we'll break down the intricacies of training frequency to help you tailor your workout schedule for optimal success.

Type of training

This may include, among others training: aerobic, interval (High Intensity Interval Training, HIIT), Body Split, Full Body Workout (FBW), CrossFit, endurance (conditioning), circuit (strength + endurance), functional, relaxation, pilates, yoga, etc.

A workout that you can certainly do every day is any aerobic activity performed at a steady pace, such as: walking, slow jogging, cycling, easy swimming, walking on a stepper, rowing on a rowing machine, easy yoga, stretching, etc. Generally, it can be any form of exercise while maintaining an appropriate heart rate throughout the entire aerobic session. The easiest way is to calculate them using the following formula:

70% of maximum heart rate HRmax * (220 – age of the person).

This means that, for example, for a person who is 30 years old, the calculations will be as follows:

0.7 * (220 - 30) = 133 beats per minute (BPM).

If you want to learn more about aerobic training, see the article on this topic.

In the case of interval (anaerobic) training, the matter is more complicated, because it's a much more strenuous type of exercise, which is best performed on days free from strength training, with at least a 1-day break between intervals or interval and strength training sessions.

While if you train skillfully with a typical Body Split, you can train up to 2-3, and sometimes even 4 days in a row, Full Body Workout (FBW) should be carried out with a break of at least 1 day. The same applies to CrossFit or circuit training.

Training internship

Beginners need more time for effective regeneration and therefore should not exceed 3-4 strength training sessions per week. Over time, this amount can be increased to 5 units, if the person's regenerative capabilities and level of advancement allow it. In turn, 6 training sessions a week are also possible, but this is an extremely advanced level and isn't suitable for everyone, but rather for competitors and people with long or very long training experience.

As you become more advanced, you'll notice that you regenerate faster and in such a situation you can try a 5th training unit, but such a training plan must be very wisely thought out and carefully developed, and you shouldn't do it on your own.

Moreover, if your goal is to reduce body fat, your muscles will need longer regeneration between training sessions due to the calorie deficit. Therefore, the number of training sessions per week depends not only on your training experience and the complexity of the training plan, but also on your diet and the amount of calories consumed.

Training volume

Training volume is closely related to training frequency. In practice, this means that by increasing the volume it's worth reducing the frequency and vice versa. You can't train frequently and do a lot of exercises and sets at the same time because you can overload your central nervous system (CNS) very quickly.

Training systems such as Body Split and FBW are based on the manipulation of training volume and frequency. Body Split is based on a lower frequency and a larger volume for a specific muscle group, while in FBW training the entire body is trained in a smaller volume, but the frequency of training in this case is much higher.

Training intensity

Training intensity is often wrongly understood as the pace or speed of exercising and training, which isn't true. Training intensity is understood as the weight (load) you use during a training session. Most often, it's calculated as a percentage of the maximum weight in a given exercise, i.e. 1 RM (Repetition Maximum). For example, if your squat RM is 100 kg and you would like to use 75% of your maximum weight, you'd then lift 75 kg.

It's been scientifically proven that if the goal is to build muscle mass, training intensity should be at the level of 70-90% of the maximum weight, because these values ​​are the most appropriate stimulus for this purpose.

Health condition

You should always take into account your health condition and existing health problems, such as: cardiovascular diseases, thyroid diseases, autoimmune diseases, joint diseases, as well as injuries.

Health condition is a parameter that directly affects regeneration, and is also a key factor in developing training plans and planning training frequency.

For example, if you're struggling with an autoimmune disease during the treatment phase, your regeneration will be impaired to some extent. Therefore, you can't train like a completely healthy person, at least until the disease goes into remission. That's why it's so important to skillfully develop training micro- (one week), meso- (4-6 weeks) and macro-cycles (half a year or a whole year), i.e. periods that constitute the stages of training periodization.


Taking into account the above variables and the fact that the most optimal training frequency for a given group is to train it 2-3 times a week, you should choose an amount within the given range.

Choosing the appropriate training frequency depends on the type of training, training experience, intensity, health status and training goals of the individual, which requires careful planning and adapting the training plan to achieve optimal results.

Training frequency is a very important parameter on the way to achieving a form of life that, if planned incorrectly, can take you far away from your desired goal or bring you as close to it as possible if it's perfectly matched to your capabilities.

Remember that the above-mentioned parameters constantly influence each other and when changing one of them, you should also take into account changes in the others.

1. Tuchscherer, M. (2008). “The Reactive Training Manual”. 
2. Gonzalez, A. M., Ghigiarelli, J. J., Sell, K. M., Shone, E. W., Kelly, C. F., and Mangine, G. T. (2017, September) “Muscle activation during resistance exercise at 70% and 90% 1-repetition maximum in resistance-trained men”. Muscle and Nerve, 56(3):505-509.
3. Yang, Y., Bay, P. B., Wang, Y. R., Huang, J., Teo, H. W. J., and Goh, J. (2018, June 18) “Effects of Consecutive Versus Non-consecutive Days of Resistance Training on Strength, Body Composition, and Red Blood Cells”. Frontiers in physiology,  9:725