“What If I Only Really Have 3 Days A Week To Go Workout?”


Let’s discuss and converse about one of the most frequent questions I am asked:

“How many days a week should I be, you know, working out really?”

It goes something like this and to be honest the answer I have for most questions is another question.

“How many days realistically and consistently are you willing to devote to exercise?”

Basic yet maybe one of the most missed and overestimated answers in my opinion. As a coach I have “worked out” 7 days a week, realistically looking back I didn’t do the little things I needed to in order to be able to consistently maintain that amount of exercise. So including myself, it’s crucial to honestly reflect on priorities, time management and other factors needed to accomplish this goal.

If we’re talking the average female, untrained individual, with the goal of some form of weight loss/physique/body composition goal, we can produce results and continuously see results with 3 days a week. I’m not arguing it’s best and most optimal but according to current research and my experience that this frequency has been able to produce results for wide range of individuals, including my own clients.

This includes resistance training and cardio. I have anecdotally produced significant results with women and men with that frequency, such as losing 30 pounds, and even have male clients adding 12 pounds of muscle in under 4 months and etc. It can be done, with the proper programming, generally/typically/commonly full body workouts can be plenty for most beginning individuals.

I say full body 3 times a week because to maximize our efforts you will have to initially understand what body parts may need more or less frequency. Then the desired and beneficial amount of cardio based activity after resistance training, I think cardio is something to be used to aid in weight loss, not be the entire platter. In my opinion I start with smaller doses of cardio exercise in order to understand the “minimal” needed to get maximally and constantly better. But it allows you to eat more because of an obvious greater amount of caloric deficit you are creating, not saying that allows for slacking on quality. Other research from an awesome professor @dreddiejo (Instagram) showed that high intensity interval training could be affecting m hunger hormones, yep possibly making you less hungry. Looks something like this

Monday: Full Body Lower Body Focus + 15-20 minutes of Cardio

Tuesday: REST

Wednesday: Full Body Upper Body Focus + 5-8 Rounds/Intervals of High Intensity Cardio Work/Pairing/Super-set

Thursday: REST

Friday: Full Body Lower Body Focus + 10-15 minutes of Cardio

*Cardio recommendations are based on the priority of weight loss and may not be the best for optimal muscle gain. Less or more maybe necessary depending upon a range of other factors

“What if I have to workout two days in a row back to back?”

A great question indeed and one I believe through training experience where I don’t know the clients exact schedule till possibly that day, that 99% of the time I would say 2 days of “lower body” and 1 day for “upper body”.

I’d say this pertains and best aligns with the majority of my female clients goals and described priorities.

“But you said Full body for the other one why not do one upper body day?”

You could definitely argue a male could want to prioritize upper body but the opposite could be true as well. On the first “lower body” day I do sometimes have some people do upper body movements that still serve purpose to getting every thing we can out of your legs during this workout.

Once again I’m basing this on what myself and other trainers and coaches express and have experienced.

What women have mostly wanted to prioritize with me is leg musculature like and I quote: “inside of thighs” and ”glutes” Well then simply put, if we only have 3 days then 2 of them need to be leg workouts, since two days are on back to back days. We have to get enough work in for both groups since there no day in between and then have effective recovery strategies. In addition if two days are consecutive days then upper body should be done after the two lower body days are complete. Which may look like this

Monday: Lower Body Workout + (if needed 10-15 minutes of Cardio max)

Tuesday: REST

Wednesday: Lower Body Workout (End of workout should be in a circuit style to maximize efforts almost like a form of “cardio”)

Thursday: Upper Body Workout + 5-8 Rounds/Intervals of High Intensity Cardio Work/Pairing/Super-set

Friday: REST

*Cardio recommendations are based on the priority of weight loss and may not be the best for optimal muscle gain. Less or more maybe necessary depending upon a range of other factors


Stay tuned as Deisy and I discuss more exercise and fitness topics. Let us know what else you want to hear from us and learn about! #findingherfit


Founder of Perform Now LLC


Zak BrennanComment