How Many Days a Week Should I Workout to Lose Weight?


When you begin your workout journey, it’s only natural to want to see some results immediately. You will want to reduce your body fat and start building muscle fast, and once your mind is set on it, you may be tempted to work out a lot more than you need to. Many people will start off with the mindset that the more you workout, the faster you will see results. However, this is not completely true.

So how many days each week should you workout to lose weight?  You should aim to do two or three days of cardio, two or three days of strength training, and then leave two days as rest days. Beginners should aim to workout around 2-4 times per week and build this number up as they get more used to working out regularly. 

This article aims to highlight why you should work out a certain number of times per week to lose weight, what results you can expect from your workouts, and some of the best workouts that you can do to lose weight.

How Many Times Per Week Should I Work Out to Lose Weight?

In order to effectively lose weight, it is best to aim to workout for five days per week out of seven, leaving the two remaining days as rest days. Rest days are an essential part of working out and losing weight as rest gives your body time to recover. 

Recovery days are essential in the process of losing weight as your body needs this time to recover to avoid over-stressing your muscles and to keep you from causing any injuries from over-working your body. 

Two days per week is the perfect amount of time needed to allow your body to fully recover so that you can continue to work out to your full potential on the remaining five days. Many people choose to workout every day during the week and leave their weekends as rest/recovery days.

How Long Do My Workouts Need to Be to Lose Weight?

If you think about the math, it’s easy to work out how much you need to work out per week to lose weight. According to the Mayo Clinic, you need to burn 3,500 calories in order to lose one pound. That means that if you are burning 300 calories during your workout, it’ll take you almost twelve workouts to lose one pound. 

If you also cut your calorie intake by 300 calories in addition to burning 300 calories in a workout, it will take you half as long to lose a pound. It’s important to remember that exercise and diet come hand in hand, and you should aim to improve your eating habits when you start to work out. If your goal is to lose weight, you should think about cutting down on the amount of calories that you consume on a daily basis. 

If you want to lose weight, you should aim to workout for a least 200 minutes each week – this is the best way to start seeing results if you are keeping everything else consistent. If you are cutting your calories as well as exercising, you can aim for a minimum of 150 minutes per week. These times should be spread over around 4-5 days with at least two rest days each week.

If you are a beginner, you should start off smaller. Fifty minutes per week is a good starting point to aim for, and then you can slowly work your way up to 200 minutes. Realistically you cannot expect to see immediate results. It takes a lot of work and patience if you want to lose weight and keep it off.  

How Long Does It Take to See Results from the Gym? 

The rate at which you see progress will depend a lot on how many hours of exercise you complete each week.  However, despite this, everyone is different. A lot of people see results quickly, followed by what seems to be some sort of “plateau,” so try not to worry too much if this happens to you.

If you are not getting your desired results, there are a variety of different things that may be causing this. It may be that you are not working out enough, or that you are not working out to a high enough intensity. Alternatively, it may be that you are not getting enough rest, or you may be at a point where you need to change up your routine. 

As long as you stick to working out for five days each week, you will definitely start seeing the results after time. The harder you work in those five workouts per week, the faster you are likely to start seeing the results. 

The length of time it takes to see results cannot be completely dependent on just workouts alone. How well you are eating and sleeping can have a huge impact on the rate at which you start seeing results.  

Tips on How to Adhere to a Weight Loss Workout and Meet Your Goals

Below is a list of ways that can help you adhere to a weight loss workout and, therefore, meet your goals

Have an Exercise Partner

It is much easier to say no to yourself than it is to say no to someone else. This is where having a fitness buddy can come in incredibly handy. You can both bounce off each other’s energy and keep each other motivated. Having a partner will also make your lives easier and safer for weightlifting. 

Cook for Yourself More Often

When you eat out, portions and calories are out of your control. You will almost always consume fewer calories by eating a meal you have cooked for yourself rather than a meal out. Save eating at restaurants for special occasions. 

Be Aware of How Much You’re Drinking

Not only does beer or wine add a couple of hundred extra calories to your intake, but after a few glasses, you are a lot less conscious of consuming more calories in your meals. You do not have to completely give up drinking to lose weight.  However, it is worth cutting down and being aware of how much alcohol you are consuming. 

Schedule Your Workouts

Keep a workout calendar with specific lists of times that you plan to workout. If you have the times set out, you have no excuses and are less likely to put it off than if you were just to wing your workout times. 

Don’t Do Too Much Too Fast

It is important not to get too over-motivated. Starting out working out every single day or lifting weights that are too heavy is not a good thing. You can end up hurting yourself if you over-do it, and this will result in your then not being able to work out at all for a while. You want to ease yourself into a workout routine slowly and steadily.  

Log Your Steps

Logging the amount of time that you work out will help you to achieve your goals. Even if you find yourself going off track one day, keep logging your progress so that you can be inspired and motivated by your activity at the end of each week. 

If you have a smart device that can count your steps, this is even better. Most fitness apps will motivate you to want to hit 10,000 steps each day. This is a simple but great technique for adding a bit more activity into your week.  

What Are the Best Exercises for Weight Loss?

Below is a list of the best exercises for weight loss. 

Running or Jogging

Running and jogging are both great exercises to help you lose weight. The average person can burn between 250-350 calories on a thirty-minute jog and between 340-400 calories on a thirty-minute run. 

Jogging and running are also great for burning off that harmful visceral fat, also known as belly fat. This particular type of fat wraps around your internal organs and has been linked to certain chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. 

Weight Training

Weight training is one of the most popular choices of exercise for people who want to lose weight. It is estimated that the average person burns around 100-125 calories during a thirty-minute weight training workout. 

Weight training not only promotes weight loss, but it also helps you to build strength and promotes the growth of muscles. This can raise your metabolism and increases the number of calories that you burn during your resting time. 

Weight training is known to help you continue to burn calories even hours after you have finished a workout, compared to aerobic exercise. 

Walking 

Walking is one of the easiest things you can do to start easing exercise into your routine. It is convenient and not too overwhelming for those who are new to exercise. Also, it’s a low impact form of exercise, so it does not put too much pressure or stress on your joints. 

The average person can burn around 140-180 calories on a thirty-minute, moderately paced walk. It’s easy to incorporate walking into your daily routine. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator, taking your dog for a walk, or taking a walk during your lunch break. 

Interval Training

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a broad term that refers to short bursts of intense types of exercise that alternate with different timed recovery periods. 

HIIT workouts tend to burn a lot of calories very quickly. You can expect to burn around 25-30% more calories during a HIIT workout than any other exercise type. This means that you can burn a lot more calories while spending less time working out.

HIIT workouts are also linked with reducing belly fat, which can decrease your chances of developing some chronic diseases. 

Cycling

Cycling is an increasingly popular form of exercise that improves your overall fitness as well as helping you lose weight. Although cycling is traditionally an outdoor exercise, it can be brought indoors with the use of spin bikes or exercise bikes. 

The average person burns around 230-290 calories in a thirty-minute cycling exercise. 

Not only is cycling great for weight loss, but it’s also great for improving your overall fitness levels, increasing your insulin sensitivity, and lowering your risk of cancer, heart disease, and death compared to people who don’t cycle regularly.

Pilates

The average person can burn around 130-170 calories during a thirty-minute Pilates class. Although Pilates may not burn as many calories as some other types of exercise, because many people find it to be much more enjoyable, they can more easily stick with it.  

Other than weight loss, Pilates can also contribute to reducing lower back pain, improving your strength, improving your flexibility, increasing your balance skills, improving your endurance levels, and improving your overall fitness levels.  

Swimming

It is a great low-impact exercise for people who want to lose weight. It can also improve your flexibility and can reduce the risk factors for various diseases.

The average person can burn around 200-250 calories in a 30-minute swimming session. 

With swimming being such a low-impact exercise, it is easy on your joints. This makes it the perfect workout for people who have injuries or joint pain who may not be able to participate in other types of exercise. 

Yoga

It is not often thought of as a weight-loss exercise. However, it does burn a fair number of calories and also offers many other health benefits. These health benefits can help to promote weight loss. 

The average person can burn around 120-170 calories during a 30-minute yoga exercise session. Yoga also has many other benefits, including improving your mental and physical well-being and teaching you mindfulness. 

Most gyms offer yoga classes; however, you can practice yoga basically anywhere, including in the comfort of your own home.  

The Best Ways to Maximize Your Workout and Lose Weight Faster

There are a few things that you can do in order to maximize your workout and, therefore, lose weight more quickly. Below is a list of tips on how to do this:

Forget About the Scales

Your goal should be to grow a greater percentage of lean muscle mass and a smaller percentage of overall body fat. If you are growing muscle at the same time as losing weight, your scale might not change much. 

Do not get hung up on your weight on the scales. Instead, you should focus on keeping fit and use your body image as your goal rather than a weight on a scale.

Do Something You Enjoy

The workout that is most likely to help you lose weight is the one you will be happy to do again and again. If you do something you enjoy, you will be more likely to work harder and will be more likely to be consistent in sticking to your routine. 

There are so many different workout activities to choose from, and we have listed some of the best ones for weight loss above. Try some of these out and find something that you enjoy doing so that you can create an exciting workout routine that you will be happy doing. 

Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration during your workout ensures that you can work out to the intensity that you need to maximize the number of calories that you burn. The best workout buddy you can have is a full bottle of water. 

Plan Out Your Playlists Accordingly

Listening to certain types of music can help to pump you up and will ultimately make you push harder. This helps you to burn more calories overall during your workouts. 

Choose music that has a good consistent beat. No matter what music provider you choose to use, there are many ready-made playlists and albums out there for working out that can inspire you to work harder. 

Throw in Some Curveballs

Be sure to mix up your workouts. Try doing things such as switch up your times between intervals or try holding a move for a bit longer than you usually would, or you can even try doing an extra set at the end of your workout. Just try to switch up your regular routine every now and again.  

The more changes you can throw in, the harder your body will have to work to adapt. This means that you burn more calories. 

Think About Your Post-Workout Snack

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t just eat for the sake of it. Therefore, if you are not feeling hungry, there is no need to eat unnecessarily. However, when you are hungry, make sure you choose post-workout snacks and meals that contain plenty of protein and carbs. 

You want to choose quality carbs such as sweet potato and whole grains and choose protein such as tofu or chicken. This will give your body the fuel it needs to reach your goals.

Don’t Over-Do It

You might feel like the best person in the room if you work out longer than everyone else at the gym but doing more does not always mean that you are doing better. Unless you are a pro-athlete or you are training for some kind of competition, the average person does not need to work out any more than an hour and fifteen minutes in one workout routine. 

Limit Your Rest Between Exercises

The longer amount of time you can keep your heart rate elevated, the harder your body will have to work. This means that limiting your rests between exercises can amount to better results. You should set a timer for around 30-60 seconds for each rest time. 

Focus on Full-Body Moves

Whatever workout you choose to do, the more muscles you can get working, the more calories you are going to burn. 

Try mixing up your bicep curls with some squats or burpees. When it comes to doing cardio, rowing is a great cardio exercise that uses all your body. With the correct form, rowing uses 85% of the muscles in the body. 

Alternate Between Different Groups of Muscles

If you are doing a circuit or strength training, this technique helps a lot. It will help you to sustain a higher intensity level for longer periods of time compared to if you worked out the same muscle groups back to back.

Shift up your routine by working out on your legs, switching it to some arm workouts, and then switching it to some abs workouts. You can easily focus on different muscle groups by mixing up your routine.

Incorporate HIIT into Your Routine

HIIT involves alternating between intervals of very high-intensity workouts and short recovery sessions. This can boost your metabolic rate for a long time after leaving the gym or after finishing your at-home workouts.  

When you change up your workouts, your body must adapt to your new routine. The more varied work your body has to do, the harder it needs to work to get the job done. 

Don’t try to do HIIT workouts every day – your muscles need time to recover. A couple of sessions of HIIT workouts per week can make a huge difference. Look up HIIT classes at your local gym or try it on your own at home. A good method is to go for four minutes of steady cardio, followed by one minute of intense effort cardio.

When All Else Fails, Do Some Cardio

If you prefer not to go to the gym or classes, don’t have time for a workout class, or if you would prefer not to spend money on a gym membership, simply just do cardio. 

Cardio is something you can do no matter what shape you are in, where you are, or how much money you have. You can easily incorporate cardio into your day by simply going for a walk, hopping on your bike, or even just walking up and down the stairs. Every little bit of cardio counts, and the more you can do, the more calories you can burn.  

Pick Up Some Weights

Lifting weights burns just as many calories as doing a cardio workout. Weightlifting also helps you to build muscles. The more muscles you have, the more calories you burn when you leave the gym. So with that in mind, never be afraid to pick up the weights. 

Take a Rest Day

If you go hard on the workouts every day, this can cause a lot of stress to your body and lead to injury or burnout. Healthy weight loss takes time, and you must be smart with your training to succeed. Rest days are a part of smart training. 

If you are smart with your workout routine and take recovery days when you need them, you will reach your goals much more quickly. You should incorporate at least one rest day each week to give your body time to recover from your workouts. 

Actually Put the Work In

Just simply going through the motions will not help you lose weight. The intensity of your exercise is what raises your metabolism. The harder you work during your workouts, the more overall weight you can expect to lose. 

Don’t Let the Machines Trick You

The information given on gym equipment is not always 100% accurate. Instead of focussing on how the machine is telling you that you are doing, focus on how you feel within yourself.  

If you can feel yourself working hard, you know you are doing something right, and you have something to be proud of. Only you yourself will know just how hard you are working by how you feel when you are on the machine. So even if the machine does not seem to be matching the way you feel, you will still know you are doing a good job if you can feel it within yourself.

Put Your Phone Away

Bringing your phone to your workout with you can be very distracting and will ultimately result in your losing fewer calories.

If you need your phone for music, which we do recommend, be sure to put it on the “do not disturb” setting so that it’s not popping up with notifications every few minutes that could distract you from your workout. 

What Are Some Realistic Goals That I Can Set?

Setting yourself a few realistic daily goals can help you get on your way to losing weight and keeping fit. If you have some small, easy goals that you can focus on and be proud of, this will motivate you to want to do more. 

Write yourself a list of some small things that you would ideally like to achieve. Some examples of these small, realistic goals might be:

  • Set a personal best on the maximum amount of push-ups that you can do within a minute
  • Workout at least three times per week
  • Learn how to do a handstand
  • Improve your mobility so that you can lift and move better
  • Do at least 10 minutes of stretching each morning

How Many Days a Week Should I Work-out to Lose Weight? – Final Thoughts

We have provided you with everything you need to know about how often you need to work out to lose weight, the best types of workout for weight loss, and some of the best things that you can do to maximize your weight loss results. 

There are many ways in which you can lose weight by working out. Some great choices for workouts include jogging, walking, swimming, weight training, cycling, interval training, Pilates, and yoga. 

It is most important to choose an exercise that you enjoy, and you should aim to workout around 3-5 times per week to lose weight. 

Heath Barrow

Heath is a certified personal trainer, an ordained minister, and most importantly, a father. He loves reading and learning new things...and enjoys it when he's able to pass that along to others!  ~"A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." (Proverbs 11:25, NIV)

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