How Often Should You Workout To Lose Weight?

woman running at sunriseThis has to be one of the most common questions we hear from people just starting to lose weight – how often do I need to exercise? The short answer is as often as possible! Losing weight requires a combination of calorie reduction through healthy eating and more exercise. While it is possible to lose weight without exercising at all, it is much more difficult, and obviously takes much longer.

Every Day is OK

Exercising everyday is not only OK, but advisable. Ideally, you should do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day to maintain a healthy lifestyle. For weight loss, you probably want to increase this. But, what you may find helpful is to mix your exercise up a bit. For example, don’t just run everyday, or lift weights everyday, but instead cycle your workouts.

A good weekly routine could look something like this:

  • Monday – 30 minutes running
  • Tuesday – 60 minutes weight training
  • Wednesday – 60 minutes yoga
  • Thursday – 30 minutes running 
  • Friday – 45 minutes body weight workouts
  • Saturday – 60 minutes weight training
  • Sunday – 90 minutes walking

Everyday you do some exercise, but do not do the same each day. This gives your body time to recover and avoids over-training, which is when you exercise a body part too much causing injury and muscle decay.

Get Your Diet Right

As mentioned, exercise without diet is mostly a waste of time. Unless you are consistently putting in 2 hours of exercise every day, you need to reduce calorie intake to lose weight.

As a general rule of thumb, you need a daily calorie deficit of 500 Calories to lose around one pound, or 0.5 kg in one week. Don’t let anybody tell you it’s not about calories in and calories out – it is! When our body does not get enough energy from the food we it (i.e. the Calories) then it breaks down fat reserves. One pound of fat contains around 3500 Calories, so to lose one pound in one week, you need a Calorie deficit of 3500 Calories, which workouts out on average 500 Calories a day.

So, if your diet remains exactly the same, then you could do workouts that burn 500 Calories per session, but unless you are already fit, this is going to be very tough going and you will probably give up after the first week! For example, you need to spend about an hour on a cross trainer to burn 500 Calories – are you fit enough for that? You can workout out how many calories in different exercises here.

Rapid Weight Loss Problems

Losing weight too quickly can lead to some cosmetic problems, namely loose skin and stretch marks. Stretch marks occur when there is a sudden and very fast growth or decrease rate in the skin area. Men are just as susceptible to stretch marks as women. It usually happens to men who are body building – the sudden growth of muscle mass can affect the elasticity of the skin and stretch the skin beyond its limit. When this happens, marks appear on the affected area. The solution is to take your time, whether losing weight or gain muscle. You could get stretch marks when bodybuilding for weight loss.

The role of diet  can help with stretch  mark because nutritious foods rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are good for the skin. These nutrients are important for keeping the skin healthy and for the prevention of stretch marks. Skin moisturization is also an important activity to prevent, reduce or eliminate stretch marks.

But don’t let this put you off trying to lose weight reasonable quickly – most people do not get skin problems, and faster weight loss tends to build confidence in the weight loss system and results in long-term weight loss success.

So, try to exercise every day, but don’t worry too much if this is not possible.

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