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I'm self-employed, which means I can arrange my time however I want, therefore I can hit the gym every day in a week. I also do have the energy to do so.

But, I've heard it's not a good idea. Why so? How many days in a week should I work out? How should I arrange these days? (go, go, go, go, rest, rest, go), or (go, rest, go, rest, go, rest, go) ?

EDIT: I'm talking about lifting weights in a gym in order to gain weight, strength and muscle. I'm relatively low-weight, I don't need to lose any weight.

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2  
any particular goals in mind? "work out" is weights? cardio? any/all of the above? –  Ryan Miller Jul 24 '11 at 0:44
    
I thought it's really good to do aerobic and anaerobic workout every day as long as we're healthy and strong to do so? For me, I can even workout 5 times a week when I'm healthy and strong to do that because I believe my sleep is my rest. Note: my daily work doesn't need me to do physical activities like a labor. –  Arie Jul 25 '11 at 1:15

5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted

If your goal (as you edited your answer for) is to gain strength and consequently muscle mass, then you need to optimize your workout for maximal power. The best way to do that is to go hard 3x per week with a day of rest in between each workout.

Remember that exercise tears down your muscle, and you need rest and proper nutrition to build it back up stronger than before. This is even more important in the beginning than it is later on when you have a better idea of what you can and can't do.

Check out this article on beginning strength training. It's got some links to other programs to help you get started. However, the importance of rest after going hard when you are trying to build muscle cannot be overstated.

Work + Protein + Rest = Muscle

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You can really work out as many days per week and you want.

Any specific recommendations on how much and often will depend on your goals.

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That's a bit vague isn't it? I got myself injured because running every day meant I wasn't getting enough rest, so clearly there are so do's and don'ts –  Ivo Flipse Nov 4 '11 at 8:08

Here is a very good page describing the benefits of resting between workout.

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Care to summarize what that link descrives? –  Ivo Flipse Nov 4 '11 at 8:07

You are beginner in lifting, thus you could work out 4 days a week ABXABXX or ABXAXBX. It works for me. If you want to work out more than 4 days, try cardio(running, cycling, etc.) on rest days.

For experienced athletes 5-6 day split would be better, because of longer time muscles need to rest(5-7 days). Beginners with small widths need 1-2 days

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what is the difference between A and B? –  barlop Jan 16 at 3:24

There's no right answer for you, but many ideas on this subject. I've heard that you can work out once a week and see results to 7 days a week. Your current goals of strength and increased size leans more towards a 3-5 day plan (Berin's answer which I agree with) - but keep in mind that your current situation and goals may change and you need to be flexible to change with them. Give yourself/your-body 6-9 weeks to adjust and based on your results adjust (more weight, fewer days, etc - as needed) - each person reacts differently at specific point in times to any work out and need to be open to change.....

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