Find out how often you should train to burn fat and build lean muscle.

By Joe Dowdell, CSCS, CPT
Advertisement

Q: What's the ideal workout schedule for burning fat and building lean muscle?

A: Just as there is no magic pill for fat loss, there's not one magic workout schedule that will make you burn fat and build lean muscle. The most important thing, as far as training goes, is to pick a time that best suits your schedule and energy level. Consider all of your commitments, including work, school, family obligations, etc., and then open your calendar and write in your training sessions as if they were important business meetings. The more you can adhere to a regular training schedule, the less likely you are to miss your workout, which will ultimately bring you closer to your goal(s) faster.

Ideally, you should perform three total-body strength-training sessions per week, on non-consecutive days. (i.e., Mon., Wed., Fri.). If you like to do cardio as well, I would recommend that you either follow your strength sessions with some interval training or perform cardio on the days between strength-training sessions.

Below, you will find a variety of ways to set up your training schedule, depending on your situation, time commitment, goals, etc.:

Workout Schedule 1: 3 days per week with all morning workouts or all evening workouts

Monday: Strength*

Tuesday: OFF

Wednesday: Strength

Thursday: OFF

Friday: Strength

Saturday: OFF

Sunday: OFF

*Strength sessions should be less than an hour, including warm up and cool down. In addition to your strength training, if you like to do traditional cardio, then warm up; perform 30-40 minutes of strength training, and finish up with some cardio. Depending on your fitness level and your goal(s), the cardio could be steady state or intervals.

Workout Schedule 2: 3 days per week with morning and evening workouts

Monday: Strength (a.m.) and cardio (p.m.)

Tuesday: OFF

Wednesday: Strength (a.m.) and cardio (p.m.)

Thursday: OFF

Friday: Strength (a.m.) and cardio (p.m.)

Saturday: OFF

Sunday: OFF

Note: You can swap the order of your strength and cardio workouts if you prefer.

Workout Schedule 3: 5 days per week with all morning workouts or all evening workouts

Monday: Strength

Tuesday: Cardio

Wednesday: Strength

Thursday: Cardio

Friday: Strength

Saturday: OFF

Sunday: OFF

Workout Schedule 4: 6 days per week with all morning workouts or all evening workouts

Monday: Strength

Tuesday: Cardio

Wednesday: Strength

Thursday: Cardio

Friday: Strength

Saturday: *Cardio

Sunday: OFF

*If performing intervals on Tuesday and Thursday, I would recommend a low- or moderate-intensity steady-state session as an active recovery.

Workout Schedule 5: 6 days per week with morning and evening workouts

Monday: Strength (p.m.)

Tuesday: Cardio (a.m.)

Wednesday: Strength (p.m.)

Thursday: Cardio (a.m.)

Friday: Strength (p.m.)

Saturday: Cardio (a.m.)

Sunday: OFF

Note: You can swap the time of your strength and cardio workouts if you prefer.

For those individuals who like kickboxing, boxing, spinning, etc., feel free to plug in any of those activities where you see the term "cardio."

Personal trainer and strength coach Joe Dowdell has helped transform a clientele that includes stars of television and film, musicians, pro athletes, CEO's, and top fashion models. To learn more, check out JoeDowdell.com. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter @joedowdellnyc.

Comments (1)

Anonymous
March 27, 2018
I grew up with a distorted self-esteem which eventually stood in mine and my husband’s way for years. He gladly picked it up and used it to his advantage. Only a person that has endured marital affair will understand how hard it was to cope with his unfaithful behavior that pierced a dagger through my heart and slowly pulled it back out. Years after going to a hypnotist and so many therapists to see if that would help, dr. wakina at dr.wakinalovetemple@gmail.com demonstrated his competence as one gentleman who rendered the help I needed in four days. His abilities made me realize that I have been wasting my precious time undergoing therapy and coming out feeling no difference for a situation that can only be solved spiritually. My wait on the day in which he holds me in his arms again was over after an authentic love spell that sanitized my marriage for good and boosted my self-esteem.