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Be Fit: Exercise Frequency Vs. Intensity

If you’re focused on weight loss as a primary goal, go to the fitness center more frequently.

The other day I overheard someone talking about frequency of workouts and it got me thinking. Not about intensity, exercise programming, time at the fitness center, or any of that stuff. Just frequency. Do people who come to the gym more frequently get better results?

While I don’t have any formal evidence to back up the theory and I haven’t found a study that correlates the two, I think there’s truth to the idea. Although this may seem obvious to many, I’m not sure I had given frequency alone much thought. I started thinking about my clients, their frequency visiting the fitness center either working with me or on their own, and their adherence to better nutrition and their results and I believe there’s a correlation.

While there are a fair number of people that believe they can crank away for an hour on the elliptical machine and that somehow will cancel out the fast food burger or hot fudge sundae they’ll eat on the way home, I believe that there are as many or more people who stick to their guns and eat better because they don’t want to cancel out the benefits of their workout.

Without hard evidence to back it up, I’d guess at the following possible reasons:

  1. The obvious reason would suggest that those who are at the gym more often are just naturally more interested in their health. They’ve built exercise into their lifestyle and better eating goes hand in hand.
  2. They have a clear and attainable goal in mind and a solid plan to reach that goal. This is one that a lot of people miss. People often have fuzzy goals, unrealistic goals that set them up for failure, or no plan to really reach their goal and they go about their exercise haphazardly.
  3. They follow better programming, incorporating high and low intensity cardio work, strength training with free weights, relying less on machines, using bodyweight exercises, experimenting with different equipment, taking appropriate recovery days, and working on mobility. Frequency has required them to try new things and be more creative to stay interested in exercise.
  4. Frequency has raised their awareness of their movement throughout the day. They’re more conscious about staying active rather than sitting in a chair all day. Always thinking about how they can do something standing that might normally be done sitting.
  5. They think more about their nutrition and take steps to eat better rather than undo their progress. Frequency of exercise has spilled over to the kitchen and they’ve started fueling their bodies better with quality proteins, veggies, and healthy fats.

So, if you’re focused on weight loss as a primary goal, go to the fitness center more frequently. Sure, you could do three 60 minute workouts per week. But, I’ll bet you get better results with six 30 minute workouts.

Try it out and let me know what happens.

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