Having a full schedule can lead you to cut back on your workout time, and that in turn can make you wonder just how little you can get away with. Unfortunately, this question all depends on a few variables. The duration and intensity of your workout, even twice a week, can mean the difference between excellent fitness and very little change. Keep in mind that while gym workouts provide fitness equipment and specialized training equipment, you don't have to confine all of your physical fitness to your time at the gym. Having an active life plus regular workouts shows the greatest results.
Physical Activity Recommendations
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days of the week that focus on all major muscle groups. While for overall health, you should focus on being active every day, you can meet these recommendations in two gym sessions. For your time at the gym, try to fit in an hour or so of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise and a variety of weight-lifting and resistance exercises. You should also try to spread out your gym days to allow for rest days and continuous improvement.
Aerobic exercises are comprised of almost any type of exercise that raises your heart rate. Swimming laps, jogging or running, bicycling, playing basketball and using the elliptical are all great ideas for aerobic workouts. You can do an entire hour on one machine or break up the hour into smaller sections to get some variety. You may even want to consider taking a class at the gym to stay motivated and interested. Aerobics and dance classes are offered at many gyms as well as swimming and basketball teams. Ensure that you are getting in a solid hour where your heart rate is elevated to get the most benefit from your exercise.
If you can only make it to the gym twice, ensure that you get in muscle-strengthening activities without overtiring muscles. Try to do a complete circuit of activities on both days, to ensure that you maximize your gym time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends completing muscle strengthening activities on two or more days of the week, so you could see significant results with just two workouts a week.
Supplementing Gym Days
Remember that while you may only be able to get into the gym two days a week, you can probably supplement your overall health by focusing on nutrition and getting in some physical fitness at home. Walk in your neighborhood and take the stairs as much as possible. Lift free weights at home and do circuits of pushups, situps and other resistance exercises that don't require equipment. Chores around the house and moving around during the day contribute to overall fitness, so look for ways to be active on a daily basis. Don't neglect your diet either. Eat a balanced diet, focusing on fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and complex carbohydrates which will fuel your body and contribute to your fitness goals throughout the week. Going to the gym even twice a week can make a significant difference in overall fitness and health if you follow these basic guidelines to get the most from your workouts. However, for even greater results, commit to building a healthy diet and active lifestyle overall.