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Learn How Much Exercise Is Enough To Lose Weight Or Build Muscle

Updated on March 1, 2013


If you are trying to lose weight or build muscle then you need to exercise enough. However enough is a relative term. It is not the same for everyone and it is not a constant. The amount of exercise a person needs to lose weight or build muscle changes. Even if you know how much exercise you need, exercising enough to get the results you want can be difficult because your muscle can only handle so much. It can also take a lot of time and require a lot of willpower.

I can't just run enough to lose a pound every day. My muscles would give out and I would not want to run for 4 hours every day even if I could. Sometimes exercising enough to achieve your goal as fast as you want is impossible or you don't want it badly enough to put in the effort required to reach your goal that quickly.


How Much

People get exercise throughout the day while doing every day activities like walking. To build muscle or lose weight you need to change the amount of exercise by a significant amount. Pay attention to how the exercises make you feel and how difficult they were. If the change is significant it should not be easy. It should take time for your body to adapt. I added walking to my daily routine but I did not notice any weight loss and my muscles did not get bigger.

Recently I added some difficult exercises to my routine. They take very little time but my sore muscles tell me it is enough to change my body. Pain or discomfort is one indicator that you are doing enough. Another indicator is your performance. If you are improving then your body is changing. I am gradually getting better at the exercises I am doing and my muscles hurt after the workout so it is enough to build muscle. When the exercises become easy then doing the exercise routine will no longer be enough.

Weight loss is a little different. You can not just strain some muscle enough to make them stronger. Building muscles helps but your focus should be on using up energy. When you finish the exercises you should feel like you used up a lot of of your energy.

It does not really matter what muscles you use to burn calories. So if a muscle feels like it is about to give out then exercise a different one. When attempting to get rid of fat you should do a variety of exercises that use different muscles so you can burn more calories. Stop when you feel drained of energy. If you exercise too much you will be sore the next day and it is possible to injure yourself. To figure out how much is too much just pay attention to your body. It is good to be tired and sore after a workout but the pain should not last more than a few hours.

Write It Down

The first thing you need are some goals. You might want to lose 20 pounds or increase the size of your muscles. Maybe you want to get rid of fat and build muscle at the same time. Write those goals down. Then write down or type in the exercises you are going to do. You are much more likely to exercise enough if you write it down, print it out or have it on a portable device that you can easily look at. Weight loss and muscle building goals are often unrealistic. At least the timetables are. People tend to underestimate the amount of time it takes. So you may need to modify the goals.

As I said before the amount of exercise you need changes. So you should also be changing your exercise routine. The duration, number of repetitions and number of sets should not be the same every day. You should not even do the exercises in the same order every day and sometimes exercises should be replaced. You should continue to evaluate your routine and make changes so the exercises are enough to change your body.

Me doing a side plank.
Me doing a side plank. | Source
Curling a dumbbell.
Curling a dumbbell. | Source

Step By Step

Changing your body is a step by step process. It can take a long time to reach your goal but you can move closer every day. Even if you take a day off to rest you are moving closer to your goal if your muscles needed the rest. You should be able to notice small improvements almost every day if you are doing enough. If you don't notice any improvements you are not exercising enough or you are not looking in the right places.

People do not always notice changes in their body. It is important to be aware of your body and know where to look. First you can see how much fat you have by seeing how much fat you can grab and measuring it. The stomach area is a good place to check for fat. You should not check for fat loss more than once a week. The same day you can also check your weight but checking your weight does not tell you how much fat or muscle you have.

Next you can check the size and hardness of your muscles. However the muscle have fat covering them. If you lose or gain fat it will make your muscles look bigger or smaller. It can also make them feel harder or softer. You should not check the size of your muscles more than once a week either. On a daily basis you can notice improvements by paying attention to how you feel and how well you perform the exercises.

If you are trying to get rid of fat or build muscle then measuring the fat or seeing how strong you are will give you a good idea of your progress. If you are actually just trying to reduce your body weight then check your weight once a week on the scales. The number of days you exercise can be anywhere from 1 to 7 days a week. The duration could be anywhere from 5 minutes to 3 hours or more. You need to figure out that for yourself based on your goals, your body and the amount of free time you have. There is no specific number of days or hours you need to exercise.

Biking once a week was enough to cause me to lose fat and gain muscle. I was able to improve a little every week. However I was going for bike rides that lasted over 3 hours and it was very draining. It took a long time to recover after each bike ride but I did spend most of that recover time on a beach. Exercising for 10 minutes a day 6 days a week was enough to increase the size of my triceps and biceps while getting rid of some fat.

The answer to "How much exercise is enough?" keeps changing day to day. Practice body awareness so you can tell if you are making progress.


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      timisle0425 5 years ago

      right on dude - nice hub!

    • profile image

      Kerry43 5 years ago

      Terrific hub. Since I started the P90X program, I was SO unaware of how building muscle tone can be such a help in dropping weight.

      Good job:)