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How many classes should I do a week?

It’s the most common question we’re asked at Soul to Sole. And the answer is usually the same: “It depends on what you’re trying to achieve”.

So, let’s look at the goals that our clients most often focus on.

Training for a long, lean body, improved muscle tone and/or reduced back pain

Sorry guys; one Zumba/ ABT/ Pilates session a week won’t do it. If you want to see results, it’s 3 sessions per week. Minimum.

That’s true whether you’re sculpting a slimmer, more toned figure, or correcting posture, mobilising stiff joints and reducing back pain.

Training for fat loss, increasing cardio fitness/endurance, and building muscle

Fat loss requires more – and more intense – exercise. 4 times a week, at least.

HIIT sessions (think Figure4 or HIIT Circuits)– working at near-maximum heart rates for short intervals, interspersed with active recovery – burn fat and build muscle as well as improving fitness. And they do it more time-efficiently than traditional aerobic training.

But HiiT is taxing on the body. So twice a week is enough for most people.

So add in two moderate intensity sessions – Zumba / Pilates classes, a run or a Weight training session – to keep you progressing without overtaxing the body.

If you can, one further light session (a swim or yoga perhaps) will aid recovery, mobilise stiff joints, oxygenate the muscles and give the metabolism a gentle boost.

Quality beats quantity

If you really want results, it’s not how often you work out, but how. The more you’re willing to put in, the more you’ll get out (it’s a cliché, but it’s still a proven cliché).

You’ll increase the effectiveness of your sessions by making sure you’re training at the correct level for your ability. Throwing in a PT session or two to focus on technique will enhance the quality of your sessions and you’ll see a corresponding improvement in your body’s response.

Avoid overtraining and burnout

By all means go hard, but not too hard too often. Give yourself time to recover – look for something that involves stretching, a focus on breath, and incorporates similar muscle groups to those you’ve already worked.

Last but by no means least, I don’t need to mention that sleep and good nutrition are key factors for boosting recovery after exercise, do I?

Thought not.

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