Everyone who trains in the gym has at one point stopped to ask, “can you workout 7 days a week?”
People often push a mentality where more is better when training. Let’s take a look at the most effective way to tackle this question in relation to your training goals.
Can You Workout 7 Days A Week?
The short answer is yes. However, this is not the most effective way to build strength or muscle. Your muscles need rest days to grow back stronger. Training too often leads to overtraining and actually slows muscle growth.
How Often Should You Workout?
This will all depend on your goals and how much time you can commit to working out.
If your goal is weight loss, then you can do so while training three to four times a week. Your main focus should be on diet and doing cardio.
However, training is also very important because your body burns more fat if you have more muscle mass on your frame. Weight training sessions also help you burn more calories.
You must be eating fewer calories than your body burns. If your maintenance calories are 2500, then start eating 2300 per day and watch the scale to decide if you should raise or lower your calories.
Cardio will put you in a further deficit. If you are burning 300 calories per day with cardio, then you could eat 2600 calories and still be in a deficit.
If your goals are for maximum muscle gain then training four to five days is optimal. Note that you should be training each muscle group twice a week.
Focus on tactics like mind muscle connection, progressive overload, and training until failure for maximum muscle growth.
Mind muscle connection is mentally thinking about contracting the muscle group that you are working. Slowing down the movement and using less weight will help you do so.
Increase either reps, sets, or weight each training session to progressively overload. This ensures that you are gradually increasing strength every workout.
Many people will go into the gym six or seven days a week in an attempt to build as much muscle as possible. Their philosophy is that more training is equal to more muscle growth.
This is not true. Your muscles actually grow when at rest and overtraining will negatively impact your training. Research has proven that those training four to five days a week actually build more muscle than those training six or seven.
Many gym-goers become obsessed with training and find it difficult to take rest days. Rest days will give your muscles more time to repair and grow. They will then be stronger when you return to training.
How do you know if you are overtraining?
Some signs of overtraining include being sore for longer than 3 days. Delayed onset muscle soreness is the muscle pain that occurs 12 to 24 hours after training and is completely normal. It is a result of micro tears in the muscle fibers that occur during training.
This is what leads to muscle breakdown, which is followed by protein synthesis and the rebuilding of muscle fibers. It this lasts longer than 3 days, you are past the point of DOMS and have probably sustained an injury.
If you are injured it’s best to take a few days off from the gym and let the muscle fully recover before returning to training.
If you are noticing a decline in performance in the gym, or you are getting weaker, this is a sign that you are overtraining.
Importance Of Rest Days
Rest days are very important for building muscle. This is the time when they are getting stronger and preparing for the workouts that follow.
Get enough sleep on your rest days and training days for maximum muscle growth. 7 hours a sleep a night is required for your muscles to recover properly. Growth hormone release and protein synthesis occur while the body is asleep.
Stay hydrated to further combat fight muscle soreness. Water allows nutrients to flow into the muscles, helping them recover quicker.
Stretch or foam roll out any sore muscles. Foam rolling breaks up fascia and releases toxins from the muscles, reducing soreness. Stretching helps alleviate tight muscles which leads to a speedy recovery.
Remember to get your required protein amounts in. Your body doesn’t require as many carbohydrates on rest days. This is because carbs are used as energy for difficult workouts. This is why many people incorporate low carb days on rest days.
Don’t mistake the mistake of eating less protein on rest days. Your muscles are rebuilding and need the same amount of protein.
You can eat fewer carbohydrates on your rest days. That is because carbs are converted into glycogen in the muscles which fuels you through a tough workout.
On rest days you aren’t training, so you don’t need as much extra energy.
Strength Vs Hypertrophy
Strength training refers to heavy lifting and power lifting practices. This is when you are in the gym mainly to increase strengths on your lifts. You will focus on compound lifts such as the bench press, dead lift, and squat.
Less reps with higher intensity is used for this type of training. Longer rest periods are implemented to give the muscles enough time to recover before performing another heavy set.
When training for strength, similar lifts and muscle groups can be trained multiple times a week. For example, someone who wishes to seriously increase their bench press numbers may perform the exercise three times a week.
Powerlifting programs will often try to train these big compound lifts two or three times a week, because their goal is to improve at these lifts as much as possible.
If the goal of your sport is to lift s much weight as possible on a lift, it makes sense to program it in as much as possible. Don’t forget to space out training days and leave 48 hours of rest between muscle groups. Always watch for signs or overtraining.
Hypertrophy training focusing on the main goal of muscle growth and building an aesthetically pleasing physique. In order to do so, higher amounts of sets and reps are performed. Shorter rest times are implemented and compound lifts are not as important as in strength training.
The amount of weight you can lift is not as important when training for muscle growth. It is more efficient to use lighter weights and really focus on proper form and muscle contractions.
You want to break down the muscle fibers as much as possible to promote muscle growth.
Four to five training days are best when training for hypertrophy. Each muscle group should be trained twice a week for maximum muscle growth.
What is the best workout split for muscle gain? The truth is that there is no best workout split.
Do whatever works best for you and your schedule. This includes how many days per week you can train and how long you’ve been training.
Beginner lifters can grow more muscle by training less as their muscles aren’t used to training. This is referred to as newbie gains.
As long as you are training each muscle group twice a week, you will be gaining the most amount of muscle possible. Upper and lower body splits, push/pull/legs, and four day splits are the most popular.
Leave any questions or comments below and I’ll get back to you!