Online health, training, fitness coaching. How many days a week should I be training?

How many days a week should YOU be training?

Sep 02, 2022

As with all good questions in fitness, the answer here is rarely black and white.

“It depends.”

Training splits really don’t matter as much as the average person thinks they do and are simply a way of dividing your training over a week so that you have some structure.

The specifics of that structure though are contextual, and you need to ask yourself a few questions.

Firstly, what’s your goal?

For example, are you training to simply maintain what you have and balance your physique against a busy schedule of work deadlines and social events?

If so, you’ll likely not need to train anywhere near as much as someone who’s looking to build as much muscle as possible in 12 months to step on a competitive stage.

Secondly, how many days can you commit to the gym?

I love when I sit in consults, and someone tells me they’re ready to go all in and train 7 days a week if that’s what it takes. It shows desire, it shows fight but ultimately, it’s very rarely a feasible option.

Especially when that person hasn’t managed seven gym sessions in the last month let alone last week.

If you can only train four days a week… Train four days! There’s literally nothing wrong with this, in fact, most of my clients are on 4 day splits right now.

If you can train more, amazing but don’t forget to leave yourself room for recovery.

Which brings me to question three – can you recover from this much training?

If you’re sleeping terribly, eating irregularly, stressed to the nines and your partner’s being a grade 1 a-hole then it’s probably not wise rolling out that Push/Pull/Legs/Repeat split.

You’re going to want days where rest and recovery take the priority and perhaps starting with a four day Upper/Lower split is going to be the best choice for you right now.

Remember, your split can always change if it needs to. It’s not that you’re married to one training style for the rest of your life!

So far, you have three things to consider:

  1. You’ve considered your training goals
  2. You’ve considered how many days a week you can actually get into the gym and;
  3. You’ve considered how well you will actually recover from this training right now.
    The final thing you should look at is this – enjoyment!

An example I can use recently is I had a client start with me who was obsessed with training glutes and delts. She was extremely keen to attack these as weak spots and considered training them her favourite days of the week.

So, I divided her four-day split into a Lower/Upper/Lower – sounds standard right now, have a guess what came next… Go for it I’ll wait!

If you guessed upper body – you’re not quite correct!

No, that final training day was a mixture of glute and delt volume and it was scheduled for a Monday.

This client had stated in her consult with me that Mondays were the hardest day of the week for her to be motivated to go the gym but now, if she missed Monday, she was missing her favourite day of the week.

Not a Monday was missed, and the progress has been fantastic.

It’s not the most conventional split of all time and it meant the other days required some tweaking and careful exercise selection but that’s the beauty. This split was what was required at the time.

This is why I cringe when I hear ‘coaches’ claim the “best fat loss” or “best muscle building” split because to be completely honest, it always depends on you.

So, before you get hung up on needing to train more days than you can actually physically be in the gym for, consider the above factors and what you can do to build a training split that suits you.

For those wondering specifics of how I made the above 4 day split work, see below.

Thanks for reading,