Are you spending enough time in the gym? Are you squeezing in too many training sessions and not giving your body enough time to rest? Whether it’s time to throw on your bodybuilding clothing or time to slow down, the number of days you spend working out each week can be dictated by where you’re headed on your bodybuilding journey. You don’t want to overtrain, but you also don’t want to lose out on time that you could use to take another step toward your goals. Here are a few stages of the bodybuilding journey to help you determine how often you should be pumping iron.
Beginning Your Bodybuilding Journey: 5 Days
Have you recently committed to the bodybuilding lifestyle? If you are still getting used to pushing yourself as hard as you can in the gym, you might want to start with five days each week. This will give you plenty of training time to perfect the bodybuilding fundamentals, like making sure your form is correct. It will likely take about a month to ease into this no-compromise lifestyle. One guiding principle to start your bodybuilding journey: never take off two days in a row. Take a rest day mid-week and then another on the weekend.
Intermediate Bodybuilders: 6 Days
Have you started stocking up on bodybuilding apparel now that you’ve reached the intermediate bodybuilding phase? It’s time to kick your training schedule up to six days per week. You can do this once you have learned the basic exercises, have the form down for each of them, and are comfortable training with progressively heavier weight. Your goal during this time is to continue to build on your solid foundation for your future bodybuilding goals.
Train one muscle group each day during this phase. Compound movements should make up a large part of your training. You want to focus on improving your stamina, strength, and agility. This phase can feel like a grind, but the rewards for your hard work will be worth it. There are no longer complete rest days. Instead, you will still be doing cardio for 30 to 45 minutes.
Advanced Bodybuilders: 5 Days
After a year or so of consistent training, you’ve likely entered the advanced bodybuilder stage. You understand the principles and systems of bodybuilding. By now, you should be able to perform double-muscle workouts. Train your weaker muscles twice each week to correct any muscle imbalances. With that said, you can scale back your time in the gym to about five days. The truth is, training breaks down your muscles. On your rest days, you give your muscles a chance to repair themselves and get stronger.
Prepping for Competition: 4-5 Days
If your weightlifting clothes are soaked through with sweat and you are thinking it’s time to enter a competition, then the number of training days each week is determined by your current conditioning. The closer you are to the competition, and especially during the last month, the more adjustments you will make to your gym time and diet. As you get closer to competition day, you will be in the gym less to help reduce the chances of injury.
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