How Often Should You Work Out Over 35?

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Are you over 35 and wondering how often you should work out?

In this video, I’m going to take you through everything that you need to consider.

I’ll discuss everything you need to think about to decide how many days a week you’re going to work out.

And it’s specific to people in their thirties, forties, and fifties.

At the end, I’m going to share my personal recommendations for my clients who are over 35.

What Are Your Goals?

So the first thing you need to consider is what are your goals?

Do you just want to be healthy?

You want to lose some weight?

Do you want to enter a bodybuilding competition?

I’m going to assume that you’re like my typical client. You’re 35 or older. If you have perhaps a family, you have a career and you don’t have tons of time to work out and you don’t have any specific sporting goals apart from just kind of being fit.

If someone says let’s play tennis on Saturday, you want to be fit enough to be able to do that.

Then someone says, “can you help me with these groceries?” You’re going to be up for that as well.

So you just want to be really fit and functional as you get older.

The Importance Of Physical Activity

The important thing to remember is that no matter what your goals are, you want to be physically active. Every day.

Many of us are stuck behind a desk for long hours. So we have to break that up as much as possible sitting for long periods of time is very unhealthy. And most of us know that by now, the research has started to come in on this.

The more time you spend sitting the higher your likelihood of developing obesity type two diabetes and cardiovascular conditions.

But in terms of actual workouts, everyone’s wondering:

“How often should I be working out with weights?” or “How often should I be doing cardio?”

“What’s going to get me fit?”

“What’s going to get me lean and what’s going to be healthy?

Guidelines For Health Benefits

The key guidelines for health benefits say that you should do about five hours of moderate intensity or an hour and a half of vigorous activity a week.

So you can do some combination of moderate and vigorous intensity exercise and kind of put that together.

Then they also recommend at least two days of strength training per week. which to me is really great because for a long time, strength training was really ignored in recommendations. And it was just about cardio. It was just about the heart.

But the research has kind of come along to say that if you do strength training, you’re going to build your bone density and keep your muscle mass for longer. And that’s going to really impact how you’re going to feel are in your seventies, eighties, and nineties, if you’re lucky enough to get there.

Weight Loss Recommendations

If you want to lose weight or build a little bit of muscle and get a little bit leaner.

And those, those are the goals of most people, particularly people over 35, then two to four strength training sessions a week are ideal.

They don’t have to be very long sessions. Normally the meat of the weight training program will be about 30 minutes. You want to have probably 10 minutes to warm up and some sort of dynamic warmup, and then 10 minutes to do some stretching at the end as well that you’ve got that 50 minutes there. So that’s weight training. And I do believe that weight training should be the main part of your workouts, especially when you’re over 35.

Maintaining Your Muscle Mass As You Work Out

As we get older, we start to lose our muscle mass. If we’re not doing anything to maintain it, we’re going to lose half to 1% of our muscle mass per year, every year, over 35. So it’s really something that you want to pay attention, but you also want to incorporate that cardio. You want to keep your heart fit and you want to feel just basically well conditioned.

Maximizing Muscle Mass

If you want to build muscle, you probably want to be on that three to four days a week of weight training. Two days a week is probably good for maintenance. Four days a week if you want to progress a little bit further.

You can do three full body workouts a week, and that’s going to get you some muscle growth. But once you become more experienced, if you’ve been doing weight training consistently for two to three or four years, then you’re going to find that you need to do more sessions in order to get more muscle development.

So you want to be able to train each muscle group twice a week. If you’re only doing two days a week, then you’re doing a full body session twice a week. If you have four days, then you can break it up into upper body and lower body and compound exercises where you’re using multiple joints.

At the same time, something like a deadlift or squat or shoulder presses are more valuable than just an isolation exercise like a bicep curl.

The Importance Of Training Volume

The important thing when it comes to muscle growth is that you have enough training volume. So that’s the amount of sets and reps that you complete.

For beginners, it’s often enough to do three or four different exercises and just do that basic three times 10.

Once you become more experienced, you’ll probably want to do more sets and then you’ll start to lift heavier as well. So you’ll take your rep range down. I’m not going to go through all the different muscle training strategies. That will be another video. If you’re interested in that, please do leave me a comment. Experienced lifters do need more volume in order to continue to get muscle building results. So if you’ve been working out for many years, you’re probably going to need those four days a week in order to continue to get muscle building progress, and you need to push yourself harder during each of those sessions.

Most of us have a limited amount of time to work out.

Can You Speed Up Muscle Building?

Training more often won’t speed up your results and won’t necessarily give you a better outcome.

Everyone wants quicker results. I totally get it.

When you make the decision to lose weight, get leaner, get fitter. You want it to happen right away. But if you’ve been doing conditioned for a while, then it may take you some time to get back into shape.

The Importance Of Recovery

Your muscles need time to recover.

Particularly as we get older, the ability of your muscles to repair and grow is reduced. Protein synthesis is reduced.

So you probably need more recovery from your workouts than you did in your twenties. Maybe you were working out six days a week, really hard, or maybe even seven days a week. And you were okay with that. But that’s unlikely to happen once you get into your late thirties and late forties. If you’re still pushing yourself very hard.

Of course you can do gentle exercise every day. And we already talked about how you want to be physically active. But an actual solid weight training workout, where you’re pushing the muscles to grow. Really challenging yourself. You won’t be able to do as many of those as you get older. So it’s a good idea to make the most of the time you have in the gym and then give your body plenty of time to rest.

Why Sleep Is Important

That also means making sure to get enough sleep afterwards as well.

If you’re not sleeping enough on a regular basis, that can interfere with your production of growth hormone. And that’s associated with muscle building and also fat loss as well.

So if you’re chronically tired and you need tons and tons of coffee to get through the day, then maybe you need to switch your focus and spend a little bit of time on physical and perhaps mental recovery as well.

How To Put Your Workout Plan Together

You can go and do a workout every day from Monday to Friday. Perhaps after work before work at lunch, if it’s possible. Then you could be doing a weight training session, let’s say three times a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Then you’ve got Tuesday and Thursday. You might do a cardio session.

And then hopefully on the weekend, you’re going to do some sort of physical activity. Either on your own, first thing in the morning. Maybe you go out for a bike ride or you go out for a jog. Or you do some stuff with your family.

So that’s considered the cardio portion.

I’ve actually recently created a course, that’s  an online program. That includes those exercise guidelines. So two to four days a week of strength training. You actually get to choose.

My Recommendation For People Over 35

So now my personal recommendation for people over 35 weight training, two to four times a week, depending on your, whether you’re a beginner. So it would more be to in that case or the more advanced you are, the more weight training sessions you need to continue to progress.

Cardio activity, something that you’re doing where your heart rate is a little bit elevated. Two to four times a week, and about 20 to 30 minutes at a time.

So you can combine that if you go on the weekend, then you’re doing Saturday and Sunday. You might be doing an hour at a time and two hours in total, just on the weekend.

And of course, physical activity every day. So moving around as much as possible. Standing up. Getting out of your chair.


I didn’t really mention stretching very much, but I do recommend that as a daily thing at the end of every workout, every time you come in from a sporting activity, it’s a good idea right afterwards, to do some stretching. So maybe 10 to 15 minutes for your tight areas.

Please leave a comment if this was helpful.

Ivana Chapman

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Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman BSc BA CSCS is a Canadian fitness and nutrition coach, happy wife, and mom to an energetic 8-year-old boy. She is a YouTuber, writer, published fitness model, speaker, 3rd Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate, former World Cup Karate Champion, one-time marathoner, and CBBF National level Natural Bikini competitor. She loves weight training and chocolate, not always in that order of preference.
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