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Training Frequency

Training frequency is somewhat a personal decision depending on one's fitness goals, training experience, family responsibilities and other time commitments.  A good beginning weight training routine might consist of a three day a week full-body workout which would include exercises for legs, chest, back, arms and abdominals.  However, someone more interested in aerobic or cardiovascular fitness might run, swim, or bike a few days a week.  Attending a class which mixes aerobic exercise with resistance movements would also be an excellent alternative.  In either case, beginners are very prone to overtraining as their bodies are not accustomed to frequent training and even experienced athletes need rest between training sessions.  Additionally, beginners who enthusiastically attempt a six day a week routine can very quickly stagnate and quit their workout program altogether. 

Once an individual has been training for a few years, more frequent routines with a split between upper and lower body can be employed.  A light cardiovascular session can be mixed in between weight training sessions.  A routine I have employed for years and which produces the best results for me personally is weight training upper body twice a week (chest, back, arms, shoulders, abs), training legs twice a week and then doing light cardio (power walking, elliptical or occasional swim) on off days.  Once a month I may only hit the weights three times a week with no adverse result but have found that three days a week on a split routine does not produce good results if continued over a period of weeks.  One should experiment somewhat to find what produces the best results and yet still fits into one's schedule.  I enjoy getting some sort of exercise nearly every day but even I enjoy my days "off" from the weights.  Vary your workout routine (different exercises, repetitions or order) somewhat and if you get in a rut try something totally different.  Sometimes I will throw in a day at the pool just to have a unique workout.