Training 3 times a week! Does it come as a surprise to you? Well, I don’t blame you.
You are probably conditioned by Conventional Wisdom – you know, those generally accepted beliefs that you can find in nearly every book or website. It’s what “they” say you should or shouldn’t do, and these theories generally go unchallenged.
These conventional sources ( fitness and muscle magazines and trainers ) promote:
Excessive use of supplements – the more the better, which explains why a spilt-routine system almost doubles their profit! Add pre-workouts drinks, sports drinks to be consumed during the workouts, BCAA’s and you got a nice bundle there!
They promote programs that are useless to the masses.
Most of the programs are geared toward champion bodybuilders who are on steroids and/or other drugs. These programs require you to be in the gym almost every day which ultimately leads to an unbalanced lifestyle.
Conventional wisdom is confusing
How many times have you realized that you are more confused after reading fitness magazines that you were before you read them? This is because the information is very isolated in its approach. Sure, you might learn a trick or two that helps you a little, but you never get a holistic view because the magazines want to be mysterious.
After all, if you learn the truth and get results that way, how will the fitness magazines get you to buy more of their stuff?
A co-incidence or deliberate intentions?
Isn’t it a nice coincidence that for most people working out today, the workout culture began with Arnold Schwarzenegger! My bodybuilding story started after I was motivated by Arnold’s documentary, “Pumping Iron.” That was during the 1970s era of bodybuilding when steroid use was very common in the bodybuilding circuit.
Do you ever ponder why the muscle and fitness magazines conveniently leave out the Golden Era of bodybuilding—the 1940s and 1950s—when there was no supplement use (other than Weider/Hoffman protein shakes—not sure of the quality though!) Do you wonder how, in those earlier days, people worked out two to three times a week with full body routines and looked like this:
In the 1940s and 1950s, bodybuilders looked pleasing and better than bodybuilders you find these days; the majority of us would agree on that point. Then isn’t it common sense to train like someone you want to look like? Remember they only worked out three times a week maximum!
As for Arnold, he started using split routines only after having built sufficient mass using full body routines three times a week! Why, then, do people like you and me with average genetics want to use split routines when most of us have not even built sufficient mass?
I followed modern conventional training (spilt routines) for a decade, and I failed terribly. Most of my gains have come only in the past few years after I started following a more abbreviated training system.
Six Benefits of Working Out Three Times a Week Instead of Five or Six
Training three times a week with FBX workouts will leave you ample time to recover.
There are two components to training: stimulating the muscular system, which happens in the gym, and being able to recover, which happens outside the gym. I created this system mainly for individuals like you and me who have average genetics, who are pressed for time, who have occasional late nights out, and who have a life outside of training.
Recovery, therefore, needs to be a priority, and that means getting enough sleep, good nutrition, and less stress overall with more rest in general.
Well, you may tell me that your muscles are recovering even after working out six times a week (very rare unless you have exceptional genetics or are on drugs), but what about your nervous system?
Oh yes, your nerves also get a workout every time you train! Therefore, if your nervous system is not recovering from your training, you’re not maximizing your progress.
Your workouts will be stale and performed with no enthusiasm, and your intensity levels will drastically drop!
FBX workouts are practical.
Consider this scenario: Keith has been performing a single-body part split and goes to the gym first thing in the morning to work out for only 45 minutes with weights. He is supercharged with this routine. For how long? Maybe a week or two. What if one day his baby falls sick and he is unable to sleep properly through the night? He is planning to train his legs the next day, and he doesn’t want to miss it.
He is having doubts about whether he will be able to squat 250 pounds the next morning. The same moment his personal trainer calls him and wants to hear no excuse. Keith gives in, probably gulps down a pre-workout drink (recommended only by his trainer) and gets through a gruesome leg workout.
Or let’s assume that Keith is still not married. Well, don’t tell me he won’t be up until 2:00 am watching bad TV or at a late night get-together with friends. Okay, forget about distractions. What if he simply doesn’t feel like going to the gym the next day? It happens to me all the time, and I am pretty committed to my workouts. What do we do then?
Well, if I had been Keith’s trainer, I would have asked him to rest. Did you know sleep loss increases the risk of injuries by decreasing balance and postural control? A bad night’s sleep can lead to deteriorated functioning, difficulty concentrating, and slower reaction time.
Yes, most Americans are sleep deprived, getting less than six hours a night on average. I would rather sleep more.
In today’s world, people have started taking the famous saying “no pain, no gain” quite literally. They consider it cool to go to sleep at midnight and be there for their gruesome CrossFit session at 5:00 am.
Not my style. I instead replace the saying with “no brain, no gain” and listen to my body more. The choice is yours!
The bottom line is that performing a spilt, which requires you to be in the gym five to six times a week, becomes impractical for most of us.
However, with FBX routines you are working out no more than three days a week, so obstacles like the ones Keith faced in our example are literally reduced or nonexistent.
You can simply skip the days you are not up for a workout and compensate with a quick HIIT session (or even go for a long walk) and postpone your weights session until the next day.
I don’t want something so regimented that it needs to be done in a particular way. I want a training schedule with more flexibility to suit my motivation and energy levels, and of course, my lifestyle. In Neghar Fonooni’s words, “Hustle one day, and flow the other.” That’s how I’d like to function.
Yes, there are individuals I know who are in the gym every day no matter what comes up, and I applaud their commitment and dedication. But there are definitely times these people ignore the signal their body is giving them, which may lead to overtraining.
Over time, overtraining can be detrimental with a nasty injury waiting to happen. Working out is a stress to the body. I would rather be conservative with exercise protocols than overdo it.
FBX workouts are sustainable.
When I shared my three-times-a-week routine with my friends and clients in the gym, of course, they were reluctant first, but once they were following the routine for a while, they really started to enjoy it.
They’d mention how they really look forward to their workouts. Whenever they came to the gym they were full of energy and gave their best, their poundage started to increase and results were there to show.
When you know that you only have to be in the gym three times a week, you are more likely to be consistent with your workouts.
Working out will become a lifestyle, not a compulsion, and you will be less likely to give up. Over time, this will mean better results. And your wife will be thankful too!
FBX workouts create a real, natural-looking body.
Fabulous bodies are not chiselled to perfection.
The FBX routine won’t get you first place in a physique competition, but then, the majority of us simply want to look good in a shirt, so why do we want more isolated training to hit our muscle from every angle? Here, the idea is to look good and optimize our gene expression in as little time as possible.
FBX workouts eliminate most isolated exercises, which I deem to be useless. The focus is on compound functional movements that mimic our real, lifelike movement in order to grow stronger in those.
If you do this, you will never go wrong, and I promise you will build a physique that will turn heads in the shortest time possible.
One other benefit with FBX is that you are not likely to skip a body part—the result is a more balanced looking physique. With spilt routine workouts, I have witnessed people conveniently skipping body parts they are not fond of (calves, neck, thighs, back, shoulders, in this order).
In most cases, mirror muscles (chest and arms) are worked the most, which creates a rather imbalanced physique.
FBX workouts save you money.
Naturally with fewer workout days, you will be less inclined to have post-workout shakes; instead, you will consume your daily quota of protein mainly from whole foods.
My whey protein consumption usually drops on the day I don’t workout, though this is not always the case—it depends on my meal plan for that day. But overall my supplement consumption has definitely been reduced since I started doing FBX workouts.
FBX workouts save you time.
My total workout time (including HIIT and yoga) is no more than three to six hours a week. Many spilt routine advocates also vouch for the same number of hours. Well, I disagree!
With every workout, we want to give our best and possibly progress, right? It could be a progression with a little more weight on your squat, or it could be decreasing the rest intervals between your sets.
Whatever the case, progressing requires a lot of mental strength and planning ahead—pre-workout meals, getting a good night’s sleep the night before, etc. I sometimes take a power nap right before my workout, which definitely helps me.
All this takes time, as does getting ready to go to the gym and time in traffic to get there and back. It can take a good three hours or so overall to complete a one-hour workout. For anyone working out five or six times weekly, this would mean anywhere from 15 – 18 hours per week.
With FBX workouts, my clients have reported a total time commitment of no more than 10 hours including their travelling time. That’s a total time commitment of just 6 per cent of the total number of hours in a week!
Note: If you love going to the gym five or six times a week, that’s awesome! If you feel that you can easily devote 15 – 18 per week to workouts, and going to the gym is something you look forward to, that’s great; by all means go ahead.
I won’t stop you.
But please consider my point here: I don’t support working out with weights six times per week. Equal importance needs to be given to HIIT and to yoga or other balance protocols, including a comprehensive flexibility regime.
All you gym lovers can perform these other movements at your health club instead of your home.
We all want to optimize the effort versus benefit ratio, right? We all want exceptional results in the least time possible. It’s possible to get exceptional results working out only three times a week. You will never need to do more!
If you have spent a lot of time on split training and more workout days rather than fewer, you may feel attached to your routine despite much frustration.
Have the courage to know that whatever hasn’t gotten your results in the past will never get you results in the future. Break away from the norm, and stop following what others are doing; it will get you nothing except misery and failure.
Honestly ask yourself: Is there any more time to waste?
What do you think about working out 3 times a week? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments below!
Final Word: I do strongly recommend training 3 times a week for most people. However, in rare cases, a trainee may do well on either a 2 times a week workout routine or a 4 times a week workout routine.
You see, the most important factors responsible for muscle growth is the number of reps and the amount of weight one lifts, the total volume per muscle group per week, and workout frequency is important as discussed above but some modifications can be made to the FBX workout routines.
Stay tuned, I will provide you with modified FBX workout routines which are either 2 times a week or 4 times a week.