Frequency of Exercise: How Often Should I Exercise to See Results?

Introduction to the FITT Principle

The FITT principle is fundamental to being physically active and getting fit. FITT is an acronym that stands for:



Time and


Understanding the correlation between these terms and your fitness routine can spell success. Each element of the FITT principle is imperative and designed to work together. Read on for an in-depth look at how to adjust the frequency of your workouts to achieve desired results.

How Often Should I Exercise?

Frequency refers to the number of times you engage in a physical activity within a given time period. Before you plan your workout schedule, decide how many times per week you will exercise. The frequency of your exercise will depend on the purpose of your workouts.

If you’re exercising to decrease your risk for disease, then set a long-term goal of four times per week. If you haven’t exercised in years, start with working out only one or two times per week and working your way up. If your goal is weight loss, set your long-term frequency goal as high as is safe, comfortable, and realistic for you.

Starting off your exercise plans by setting a frequency goal that is too high can lead to discouragement and eventually to quitting all together. Instead, shoot for smaller, more realistic "mini" goal, working your way up toward your long-term goal. This technique helps to maintain motivation and increase your chances for success.

According to a recent report by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), adults need to be physically active on most, if not all days of the week in order to avoid disease and preserve health. The ACSM recommends strength training twice per week and cardio three to five days per week depending on the intensity of the exercise. If you have hit a plateau and or are not getting the results you want from your exercise plan, consider changing the frequency of your workouts.

Keep in mind that there is a such thing as working out too much. What is too much for one can work well for another. Adjust your sleep and nutrition according to your activity level.

If you’re able to get adequate rest and are well nourished, exercising every day can be your ticket to great mental and physical health and overall wellness.


American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), Physical Activity Guidelines