In order to figure out how many training sessions you need a week, you need to have a clear goal and work back from that product.
Every Freaking Day
If it were up to me, I would have you doing something every day.
It doesn’t matter if you are a program to boost endurance, lose weight, increase strength, gain flexibility or to just work out your little finger strength for rock climbing. I can come up with stuff for you to do every single day of the week.
BUT these silly things called “lives” get in the way.
As a fitness trainer, I like to give homework for my clients to do while I am away. It could be any of the following, based on the person’s goals and abilities:
- Do 100 push-ups on Saturday, and 100 squats on Sunday
- Walk down to the driving range, hit some golf balls and walk back home.
- Take a walk down to the park with your grandkids
- Meet me in the mountains for a hike
- Go cycling for at least an hour
- Instead of paying for someone to lay your sprinkler system, go dig the trenches yourself.
Now, there are times you need to let muscles rest. That is when a damaged muscle heals itself and grows.
But that doesn’t mean to lie down in bed all day. It just means: Don’t go lift 200 pounds again.
It is actually good to get moving on a rest day. If you go swimming, cycling or just walking around, it helps promote blood flow. More blood flow means more nutrients get to the damaged areas and they heal faster.
I only bring this point up because this needs to be said: Your body is made to work every day of the week. A “rest day” is a made up term that comes from body building. Your body is always working. It was made to constantly work.
BUT when you’re overloading muscles to such massive levels, it means to give it a rest from those really heavy levels of overload.
Otherwise, “rest day” doesn’t mean shit in actual biological terms. Ever seen a squirrel take a rest day?
So To Answer Your Question
The basic answer to this is that it depends on your age, height, weight, gender, history, etc. and how big of a goal you are going for. But I will give you as much information as I can.
Most of us don’t have endless amounts of money to spend on personal training.
I have had clients get set up with me for 3 days per week and then for 2 days per week they train themselves or take a Les Mills group fitness class, a spinning class or just hit the rowing machine.
I don’t ever try to sell someone more training sessions than they can afford. If they can only afford two sessions, then I’ll happily give them something to do those days. There is no need to financially stress them out.
Haha, I’m already physically and mentally stressing them out. I don’t feel the need to hit their wallets, too.
But I would absolutely take my clients 5 days a week if I could have them. If you have a well structured exercise program, you can train a person nonstop.
I like to see my clients achieve their fitness goals. I make those goals my own and see to it that they are accomplished.
To be even more straightforward with you on this answer, YOU CAN TRAIN EVERY SINGLE DAY IF YOU DO IT SMART.
I trained a woman who was determined to lose weight. I split up my training sessions and her homework so that when she was with me, she would do resistance training to build muscle and when she was on her own she would just do cardiovascular exercise.
This was very, very effective because it utilized the personal training sessions for my feedback on form and technique coaching. She could walk uphill on a treadmill all day on her own.
That woman made serious progress and doggedly followed the program I set forth.
I had a young kid who wanted to “get huge.” He was 17 and ready to lift the world. So we did heavy, heavy training, emphasized eccentric phase, and I did a lot of spotting because he was lifting to his limits.
His parents would only pay for so much training so we split it up into movements where he really needed to be spotted and movements that he could do on his own. I worked out a whole program so that he could spend his enormous amount of energy daily, and still not injure himself.
There were times, though when everything on this guy’s body hurt. That’s when I told him to go for a swim and eat as much food – especially protein – as he could.
And he achieved his goal.
This was a unique one. I had a person who was fresh from rehab. His goal was to spend his energy every day. He wanted to tie this in with his rehab programs. Too tired to even think of drinking was his approach.
He was in his 30s and we found a way to stress his body throughout the week, but in ways that it was going to recover. Some days we’d do the recumbent bike, other days the rower, the treadmill, heavy weights and also light weights with lots of repetitions.
I have never had a more willing client.
He made it through his transition from rehab to normal life and I earned myself a loyal friend for life. Once you help someone like that, they don’t forget it. And they know you weren’t doing it just for money.
So the basis of this initial question of “How many personal training sessions should I get per week?” is usually more of a money question.
Most of us are looking to save a little and that is totally fine. I’m one of the most frugal people you’ll meet and I enable people to be frugal. I would rather have 30 frugal clients hitting me up for 2 days per week than 5 clients hitting me up 5 days per week.
But if you get the right trainer, he’ll set you up with a week’s worth of workouts and make sure you do them.
I have always supported workouts outside of my training hours and if I had to work my butt off to write up sane programs then I would do it.
So find a trainer and get him working his butt off to make sure you’re able to reach your fitness goals.