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Weight Training Frequency for Optimal Results

The best weight training frequency for optimal results depends on the intensity of each individual workout. If a high volume of exercises and sets is performed for each muscle group, a longer recovery time is needed. This means that less frequent weight training workouts are necessary to build muscle.  If a low volume of exercises and sets are performed, less recovery time is needed. In this case, more frequent weight training workouts will be necessary to produce results.

The larger muscle groups, like chest, back and legs, generally need at least 12 total sets to stimulate muscle growth. This can be accomplished by performing these 12 sets one time per week, or performing 6 sets twice a week, or performing 4 sets three times per week. Smaller muscle groups, like shoulders and arms require less total sets due to their involvement in assisting the larger muscle groups.

If you are new to weight training, most research and expert recommendations point towards a frequency of 3 times per week as being ideal for you.

If you are past the beginner stage (working out seriously for more than a few months), all research and expert recommendations pretty much agree that a weight training frequency of about twice per week for each muscle group is ideal.

If you train each muscle group just once a week, you will need to get the entire weekly workout volume for each muscle group, each workout.  If you are only going to train each muscle group once per week, you need to ensure that you provide enough of a weight training stimulus during that single weekly workout to warrant not training each muscle group again for an entire week. If you fail to do this correctly, the muscles will recover long before it is time to train them again. In the period of time between when the muscles are recovered and the next time you train them, the muscles can actually begin to regress as though virtually no progress was made during that previous workout. What is essentially happening is that you are undertraining.

This one muscle group a week weight training frequency appears to be the least effective for most people. It is still popular, as it tends to work really well for people using any sort of “assistance” (like steroids or other muscle enhancing drugs), people who have amazing genetics, and bodybuilders who have pretty much already reached most of their muscle building potential. As these are the people that most of us try to look like, we often try to do what they do. For most average, normal people, working out like this can be a less than optimal way to train.

It is advisable to consult with a Certified Fitness Professional who can assist you in getting the most benefit from your weight training program.

Natalie Gibbins is a San Diego Personal Trainer, who’s passion for weight training and fitness began in 1989, while living in England. She was providing Personal Training in Point Loma in a Liberty Station gym for 10 years, before opening The Private Gym in Ocean Beach, where she helps people of all ages lead healthier lives.


Burn Fat the Best Way

The desire to burn fat is one of the most common reasons for starting an exercise program. There is no one thing that will increase the body’s ability to do this; it is a combination of many things that contribute to this result. The best way to burn fat can be summarized in three easy parts: expend more calories, increase your protein intake and decrease your carbohydrate intake.

Expend more calories. So the obvious answer is to exercise more, right? However, not all exercise is the same and the type of exercise program you choose can significantly affect the kind of results you hope to expect. If you want a tighter, more defined physique, then a combination of weight training (dumbbells and resistance equipment) with interval style cardiovascular training (like kickboxing, boxing or plyometrics) can be the best way to burn fat. Yoga, Pilates and/or Tai Chi may be more suitable if you are looking for better flexibility and are not as concerned with weight loss.

Increase your protein intake. This does not mean that you have to eat lbs and lbs of steak daily, however it is important to know that protein has the highest thermic effect of all the food groups. Thermic effect simply means the amount of energy needed from your body to digest food. Energy is more commonly described as caloric value. As much as 30 percent of protein’s caloric value is burned up during digestion. Compare that to simple carbohydrates like bananas or white bread which require less than 10 percent of their caloric value to be broken down. In addition, the ingestion of these simple carbohydrates rapidly raises insulin levels in the blood stream and whenever insulin is present in the body, fat cannot be used for energy. In short, insulin compromises the body’s ability to burn fat.

Ingesting at least 20 grams of protein at breakfast, lunch and dinner and at least 10 grams for snacks (e.g. 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and 1 medium banana, or 2 cheese strings and a medium apple) can be the best way to burn fat and speed up your metabolism.

Burn Fat the best wayLower your carbohydrate intake. In truth, it is not so much about eliminating all carbohydrates, it is knowing which carbohydrates to choose from. It is best to avoid white rice and breads and to limit complex carbohydrates (whole wheat breads, grains, pastas, rice, potatoes and cereals), especially later in the day. This can be one of the best ways to burn fat. Consume complex carbohydrates only with breakfast and post-workout meals. For dinner replace the complex group with rainbow colored organic vegetables (like spinach, bell peppers, carrots, kale and collard greens.

Any exercise program aimed at burning fat should be performed under the supervision of or with the advice of a Certified Exercise Professional. Adherence to the program as well as accountability for nutritional intake will produce the highest likelihood of burning fat.

Natalie Gibbins, a San Diego Fitness professional, passion for weight training and fitness began 22 years ago while living in England. Her love for exercise, more specifically weight training, prompted her to become a Certified Personal Trainer. She owns and operated The Private Gym, an affordable solution to finding a San Diego Personal Trainer.

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