Strength training is essential, whether you want to lose weight or simply feel stronger and fitter. Weight-bearing exercises help protect your bones and maintain muscle mass, which naturally decreases with age, explained Megan Rencher, an NASM/AFAA-certified personal trainer. "Strength training also helps with weight loss because the more muscle you have, the more total calories you burn throughout the day." That's key to keeping the weight off, too.
Still, you might be wondering just how often you'd need to train to reap those benefits. Megan recommends that strength-training beginners start with just two to three sessions per week, with at least one day off in between. When you're only working out a few times a week, it's best to focus on exercises that hit all the major muscle groups, she explained.
Eventually, you can work your way up to strength-training most days, rotating between upper- and lower-body workouts at each session. "This gives each specific muscle group a chance to recover and rest," Megan told POPSUGAR. "It will also help prevent burnout and boredom because you're mixing things up." For example, you might try breaking up your workouts this way:
- Monday: chest and triceps
- Tuesday: hamstrings and glutes
- Wednesday: back and biceps
- Thursday: shoulders and abs
- Friday: legs
- Saturday and Sunday: active recovery
Asked how long it could take to see results from a strength-training program, Megan explained that it varies from person to person. "Every body will respond differently to a specific workout routine, so it's hard to say how soon you will see visible results, but it won't take long for you to feel the benefits," she said. Still, with a consistent routine, Megan said it's likely you'll start to see your body change after roughly eight weeks. "The foods you eat will also play a huge part in your results," she said — so eat a clean, balanced diet with a healthy amount of protein.