Probably one of the most common questions that our members ask us is, “how often should I workout?” We seem to have this belief that if we don’t exercise at least 3-5 hours per week, then it’s not going to make a difference, it’s not worth it. Consider what a typical workout consists of and the decision making process that we go through to decide what we should or shouldn’t do.
If you are considering losing weight, then a typical workout may consist of:
1. Walking on the treadmill
2. Doing a few random stretches
3. Maybe working on a few machines that target specific muscles
4. Possibly use a few dumbbells
5. Then back on cardio for 20-30 min
The challenge with this sort of workout is it’s very random and isn’t based on any screenings or evaluations. It would be no different then if you were to walk in to the Dr. office and he comes out with a scalpel and prescribes some random drugs. That would never happen. In fact, when you go see any professional, there is typically some sort of a screening process that one goes through to get a better understanding of the clients/patients current situation and precisely what needs to happen to make the situation better.
So, because most workouts are random and aren’t based on any proper screenings, those kinds workouts seem to be less effective and that’s one of the reasons why most of us think we need to spend more hours at the gym.
Knowing all this, one might be pondering, what is better more frequency or more intensity? For an average individual, that has always had a hard time sticking to exercising, intensity play a much bigger role over frequency as long as certain conditions are met. Here are the conditions:
1. A client must be screened for movement. Once the movement patterns have been screened, we can eliminate exercise that we shouldn’t do. For example if a client has very tight shoulder and chest muscles, we would avoid any over head pressing. The idea is to get the body more functional so we can push the body more and increase what’s called exercise post oxygen consumption (EPOC), more on that in a little bit.
2. A client must have a proper dynamic warm up to activate muscles that are weak and underactive and loosen muscles that are tight and overactive.
3. A client must go through a full body workout. Think about it, fat is energy, calories that are waiting to get burned. What burns more calories sitting in a machine, in a locked in range of motion or moving your body up and down freely through space? Of course the latter burns a ton more energy. In fact, one of the ways to determine quality of exercising is to take a look how much energy one is still burning after working out, EPOC. After full body workouts, the human body can continue to burn calories up to 48-72 hours after that one workout compared to an average persons workout of 12-24 hours
So, intensity over frequency matters if you can only make it to the gym two times per week. Exercise post oxygen consumption is enhanced with full body workouts that are carefully orchestrated by a fitness professional. Something to keep in mind though, any exercise at any frequency and intensity is always a good thing. The human body works best when it’s moving.
Michael Gelfgot is certified though the Functional Aging Institute and has over 15 years of experience in the health and wellness industry.