How many times a week (or day) should I train?
One of the most common questions I get from athletes at MVMT42 is, “How often should I train?”
The Short Answer
If you aren’t interested in reading the full explanation below then I recommend the following training frequency for the average MVMT42 athlete: Train 3 or 4 days per week. Don’t train more than 3 days consecutively or less than 2 days consecutively. Above all, listen to your body, but be aware that you must work through soreness and fatigue. Quality work is more of a priority than quantity. Two sessions a day is never a good idea.
The Long Answer
The intent of your individual training frequency is to train often enough to reach your fitness goals, but not often enough to overtrain or develop overuse injuries. Training frequency is dependent upon many factors, the most important of which are goals, intensity, rest, nutrition, and existing level of fitness. The remainder of your daily/weekly schedule is also a relevant factor. Let’s examine how each one affects your training.
If you simply want to maintain an adequate level of fitness for daily life and ward off obesity then your training frequency will differ substantially from an elite athlete seeking to compete in the sport of fitness. Training more frequently will advance your fitness faster, to a point. You can’t just keep adding workouts until you’ve gone 11 days without rest, as that will lead to overtraining, which is counterproductive for any athlete of any fitness level. However, there is simply a substantial difference in fitness goals between those who train twice per week and those who train 5 times per week.
If you train more intensely then you will require more rest than if you train less intensely. If CrossFit is your workout regimen then we can probably summarize your workout intensity as either intense or very intense, assuming you are putting 100% effort into your workouts. You may need to alter your training frequency to rest more during periods of multiple, very intense workouts and increase your frequency during periods of short or otherwise less intense workouts.
Intensity, the ability to create high power output is derived from strength. So in order to earn the right to truly dig deep into the CNS the prerequisite is 'strength'. Work backwards here. Strong and experienced athletes need to either recover harder or train less. Because every time they step out into class, they are training at a higher intensity. If you are not strong, you can train more.
Quality and quantity of rest are a huge factor in training frequency. Quality rest increases your ability to train more frequently. I’m defining quality and quantity in two principal ways: your level of activity on your rest days, and hours of sleep per night. More/ high-quality rest means you can train more often without overtraining or incurring overuse injuries. The older you are, the harder it is to recover at the same speed because you can't sleep as deep.
Lindsey Vonn, a 33yr old female Olympic Athlete from the USA is known for her 10-11 hours of sleep a night, plus naps. She openly explains that her sleep has had to increase as the quality of sleep has decreased with age.
Don't break this rule, if your sleep is poor, put down the phone and switch off Netflix. Find a new routine. Tim Ferris is a little eccentric, but his sleep routine is here.
This is pretty simple. If your body is getting the nutrients it needs to perform tissue repair and fuel your workouts then you can train more often. If you eat poorly then you will inevitably train less often or with less intensity. Your body also won’t get as full a benefit from the workout because you haven’t supplied it with the tools to fully adapt to the stress you provided during the workout.
We don’t live to workout; we workout to live. Therefore, our training schedule must coexist with the rest of our life. Don't binge exercise, never train more than 3 days in a row. There is a reason NO elite level CrossFit athlete does it. They can't handle the volume over time, either can you.
Consistency is the key, breaking up your training days evenly through the week.
Never train twice in one day, firstly you will be billed a drop in fee for the second class here at MVMT42, but more importantly - why? It's like playing hockey and rugby on the same day. You should be hitting sessions with 100% focus and intensity. Quality over quantity.
If you have the itch to stay in the gym, we have a dedicated mobility room or work through non-fatigue skills in 'open gym'. If you are thinking 'but the coaches train twice a day' - they don't. They break the strength and conditioning work up into two sessions vs in one class. Or one session is active recovery.