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Week 1.5 - When and how often to train?

Today we will be covering when and how often to train, we will be looking at the following:

. Working out when you should train (task)

. 2 common myths to training times - which aren't actually myths...

. Some quick tips to increase training without dedicated training sessions

. How often can you train (task)

. Some common myths to training frequency

Lets get to it!

Time in the day to train

Training can be done at anytime during the day as long as it is the following for you:

. Achievable

. Consistent

. Flexible (incase you run over)

. Convenient with others

. When you want to train

Some of us out there are early risers, this means you have the most energy in the morning and want to get training the second you wake up. Some of us on the other hand have the most energy in the evening and need to warm up into the day. And finally some of us need to pressure themselves into doing tasks and lunchtime rush sessions are best.

Task - Write down 3 columns (Energy, Available, Ideal) then write down times you are awake underneath.

Example - Like below:

Task - Now with a pencil colour in these areas:

. The times in the day you have the lowest energy (Energy Column)

. The times you are never available due to work or family etc (Available Column)

. When would you ideally never want to train? Ignore when you are available or energy levels, what would be worst for you? (Ideal column)

Example - I will now show you an example of an early riser, late energy individual and lunchtime rusher:

Feel free to do it the other way where you fill in the times you want/can train if it's visually better for you.

Task - Highlight the areas with 3 white boxes across in bold colour so you can see it against the grey pencil.

Example - See below:

Consideration - Sometimes life isn't so easily blocked into lovely sections so you may have to sacrifice the Energy and Ideal columns to put a training session.

Example - See below:

You should aim for 2 hour slots as this will include commute, changing, nutrition and any delays. This is why 8am & 6pm was not highlighted due to time constraints.

Result - Following completion of this task you should clearly identify when is the best time for you to train. This may include ignoring energy levels but hopefully there should be a 2 hour slot you can train in.

2 common myths to training times

If you have ever read any fitness literature you would have come across 2 common myths about training times, they are the following:

#1 Do cardio in the morning, especially in a fasted (hungry) state

#2 Do weight lifting in the evening as you have more strength

The truth is there is plenty of evidence to proof this [1] but for the average fitness individual I would suggest convenience is more important that optimal times of training. This is the main reason I would call them myths.


. Strength is lower in the morning if you have been asleep prior, this is due to reduction of food before.

. Lower intensity cardiovascular training has shown to utilise more fat as fuel on an empty stomach but will impede performance and generally not as important as a daily calorie deficit.

. Energy levels are incredibly important to adherence to training regimes however note that positive endorphins are released through training so more often than not - getting to the gym is harder than doing a workout.

ACPT Tips:

. Prioritize goals - if muscle gain/strength the main focus (majority of times it is) you should weight train first before cardiovascular.

. Include CVT into daily life - if you are looking to increase CVT you should focus on walking more, taking stairs and standing more. This will have a greater impact on your daily calorie consumption than 15 minutes on a treadmill - we will cover more in week 2.

. Ideally split up your weight lifting and CVT sessions - without overcomplicating this post, studies have shown that it is more important to split these sessions up with plenty of rest between so that the body can focus on adapting one at a time.

How often can you train?

We will be discussing training splits more in week 3 however it is important to get your calendar into shape ready for the tasks later.

Task - Write down on a piece of paper/block out on calendar the following:

. Days you are available to train (Task from post 1.2)

. Time you can train (Task from earlier)

Result - This is your training windows, unless something important comes up - this is your time to train. Owning the responsibility of training is very important, it will benefit you and the others around you to stick to these times.

Common myths about training frequency

Myth - You should train the muscle to exhaustion once every week

Truth - Yes for experienced bodybuilders but less more often is far more important for beginners and new starters. Training to true fatigue overloads the muscle, creates a lot of soreness, reduces form and damages recovery.

Tip - If the muscle soreness you experience lasts more than 48 hours, you have trained the muscle too hard. This is fairly common at the start so steady progression is necessary which we will cover in week 3.

Myth - You should never train the same muscle twice in 48 hours

Truth - Indeed muscle recovery takes around 48 hours however if the intensity isn't too high per session you can train the muscle again within this window.

Tip - If you plan to train the same muscle twice in 48 hours, change the exercise on the second workout and make sure that you don't train too hard both days. If you are too sore by the second session, take a day off from that muscle group.

*Consistency is more important than intensity*

Myth - You shouldn't train for longer than 60 minutes

Truth - Female hormone response do reduce after around 50 minutes of intense exercise but generally it is worth noting that without sufficient rest and intraworkout nutrition endurance and power does decrease over time.

Tip - Listen to your body - if you feel nauseous or lightheaded stop training. This also works for muscle soreness, form or general pain. Generally I would suggest no more than around 60 minutes of weight training for beginners or new starters.


Task - Write down when you have the lowest energy levels, are unavailable to train and when you want to train

Task - Highlight when you are available ensuring you have a 2 hour gap to train in a day

Tip - Make sure you find a time that you can consistently manage

Tip - Don't worry too much about when you are strongest or when to do CVT, train when is easiest for you.

Tip - Try to split these weight and CVT sessions up into individual workouts but due to time restraints you are more than welcome to do both but ensure you focus on your priority first.

Task - Write down the days you are available (Post 1.2) and the times (this post) onto a piece of paper for your reference.

Tip - you can train sore muscles but be careful you do not over train the muscle

Tip - Listen to your body!

Be your best!

[1] The Effect of Training at a Specific Time of Day - Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: July 2012 - Volume 26 - Issue 7 - p 1984-2005

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