TheĀ Inside Out StrengthĀ Blog

Simple and practical strength training, nutrition, and mindset content for the busy dadĀ looking to build muscle and burn fat effectively

2 Things You Need To Be Successful When Working Out 2 Times Per Week

Jan 18, 2024

I truly think it's possible to only workout 2 times a week and see some incredible results in your body and in your health

You don't need to workout more than 2 times a week to see drastic improvements in:

  • Fat Loss: It's not uncommon for the men I work with to drop 5-10 pounds in the first 6 weeks of a program. If you have a lot to lose that number could easily double (and that's with ZERO cardio)
  • Muscle Building: I've seen men put on 10-15 lbs of lean muscle in their first year while losing fat on a 2 or 3 day per week schedule. This is rare if you've been training consistently, but possible if you've been away from the gym for a while and have a lot of fat to lose
  • Body Composition: couple these 2 workouts with even some small improvements in nutrition can leave you feeling jacked, toned, and confident as you drop fat and build muscle (if you're into that kind of thing). Even more important than achieving a body fat percentage you're confident with, which is different for every person, is how easy it is to maintain this once you get there
  • Strength: Not everyone wants to lift a ton of weight, but strength gains is far more important than simply moving a lot of weight in the gym (which you'll certainly be able to do as well). Strength is one of the biggest drivers of durability and longevity (see the next point), and is functionally important to being able to be prepared for whatever life throws at you. It was my foundation of strength, not endurance, that allowed me to jump into 100 mile race with very little prep or complete my first weighted Murph workout with a vest in 45 minutes with only a few weeks of training. If you have no desire to do any of that, I can't blame you, but it also makes you more prepared to go on a long hike, run a 5k, or protect your family
  • Durability (AKA Longevity): If you want to be resilient, durable, and have quality years ahead - then you better start focusing on those things now (instead of waiting until you're older). 2x/weekly workouts can significantly improve your bone heath, balance, and overall health/blood markers - which are all important to make sure you have quality years ahead
  • Energy: This one is interesting. If you don't workout at all, your energy is going to tank because you're out of shape and your body has no ability to adapt to the stressors of life. However, if you workout 5-6 times a week, you can also wreck your hormones and be left with no energy and always feel like your bonking out. Once again, the sweet spot tends to lie somewhere in the middle. 2-3x/week of working out each week will leave you feeling energized
  • Athleticism: You don't have to be an athlete to want to feel more athletic. Being able to run around with your kids, play a sport like pickleball or pick up basketball, and just to feel more limber and mobile is something everyone can benefit from

Now I've found the sweet spot to be 3 times a week personally and with clients

I've found this works even better than 4 times (or more) per week for weight loss, muscle building, and body composition goals

If you're training for a specific goal (ex: specific sport, bodybuilding or powerlifting competition, etc) you might need more - but that's not 99.9% of you that are reading this

So if 3x a week works with your schedule, I would say go with that

But if your schedule is really crammed, 2x a week will work just fine

If you can't find time for two 45 minute workout sessions a week, then we really need to have a separate conversation about priorities or time management

While I talk a lot about how 2x/week can transform your body and your health, there's definitely a caveat to it

And I want to be fully transparent on what it really takes to make this work for you

Because you can't just do any program out there a couple of times a week and see results

The key to making 2x/week of working out each week work for you involves:

  1. Doing the right things
  2. Doing the right things at the right intensity

If you have those 2 things, you're probably at least 80% of the way there on achieving a lot of the goals I laid out above

If you're not doing the right things, you're never going to see results

Honestly you'll be wasting your time working out 2x/week

And you'll be wasting even more time if you're doing the wrong things 5-6x/week

I can't tell you how many people I see at the gym doing the wrong things

  • 15-30 minutes of foam rolling and stretching
  • Walking or running on a treadmill or elliptical
  • Random HIIT workouts or cardio circuits
  • 14 arm or chest exercises per workout

If you're on board with only working out a few times a week, and seeing some crazy good results, you better be focusing on the right things

Compound and full body movements that involve hitting each body part ~2x/week

Isolation exercises have their place in a program, but there's no way you'll see the results you want if that's the majority of your program

If you want the full program template I use for myself and clients for a 3x/week program, just hit reply and type 'program' and I'll send it over

I think it's obvious that you need to be working on the right things to see results

The most missed variable I see is point #2 from above:

Doing the right things at the right intensity

You see, most programs out there make up for intensity with volume

If you do a Google search or pick up a men's health workout plan, it's all too common to see a 4, 5, or 6 day program that has a ton of sets and reps for each body part

The reason for that is because most people don't workout at a high enough intensity to see results in a short amount of time

If you don't get the intensity part right, then you won't see the success you want on a 2 or 3 day per week program

Now, it is certainly possible to make up for intensity and get results by doing a lot of sets/reps - which is what most programs do - but you better be ready to spend 60-75 minutes in the gym 4-6 days a week

I don't know about you, but I don't have that kind of time (nor do I want to be spending that much time in the gym)

This is where clients tend to need the most help

Dialing in the right intensity on your workouts requires a lot of fine tuning, practice, and certainly making sure you're not sacrificing form or making jumps in weight too fast

But when you get this right, you better be ready for results to take off

In our program we typically follow a 2x2 format

This simply means 2 main lifts and 2 accessory lifts per session

Generally speaking, you need to work the intensity of your main lifts up to 8/10. Sometimes 9/10

On the accessory lifts, the intensity can be a little lower, but you'll still get best results in the 6-8/10 range

Hit the right exercises, at the right intensity, over the next 3 months and you'll be shocked how your body can transform

And the coolest thing is that you can get those results with two or three 45 minute long sessions per week

If you want access to the full program we use, scroll down to the bottom of this page and enter in your information for instant access to the workouts included in our fat burning/muscle building guide.

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