See the full video: Should You Spread Out Your Workouts?
Should You Spread Out Your Workouts?
For the past 33 years, I’ve trained three days a week with workouts that last anywhere from 10,15 to 20 minutes in duration with exceptionally high intensity with a protocol that I call Naturally Intense High Intensity Training.
This form of training has allowed me to do everything from throwing up lots of mass to go from being a skinny kid to competitive natural bodybuilder to also being where I am right now, having retired from competitive of natural bodybuilding 18 years ago and still being able to look like this one year away from my 50th birthday.
And this isn’t just how I train. It’s also how I’ve trained hundreds of men and women over the past 30 plus years to help them achieve their goals, ranging from amateur and professional natural bodybuilders to athletes, to regular men and women who are trying to build muscle, get stronger, and look better.
And we all do the same workout split.
Kevin’s Training Split and Protocol
One day is legs, one day is back and shoulders, and one day is chest, arms and abdominals. (See my post: Why I Train Only three Days A Week- Training Split For Natural Athletes)
And the question that keeps coming up is how can you space out those workouts for optimum muscle mass and strengthening?
Now, I personally have trained with one day in between each workout for many years, sometimes two days between workouts. But my own personal results aren’t the whole story because they fall into the era of small numbers.
Statistically, you can’t and you should never take the results that one person gets from training a certain way and try to apply it to a larger population, as from a scientific and statistical perspective, it is impossible to extrapolate that way.
You need a large number of people.
And so in this video, I’m going to talk not just about what I’ve seen, but what I have seen over the 15 years of me cataloging every single thing both I and my clients did.
Some clients who trained consecutive days, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and others who had one day between workouts, two days between workouts, and let you know what I found in terms of who had the most gains in terms of both raw muscle mass and muscle strength.
So stay tuned. We talk a little more about this.
So in this video, we talk about what’s the optimal wait time between your workouts if you train with a high intensity Training protocol.
And I’m going to talk about my own experience as well as what I saw with my clients over the past 30 plus years.
There’s a ridiculous amount of hype out there when it comes to training information and training advice based on personal experiences.
And as someone that the privilege and honor of training so many people and be able to have so much rich data to look at and see the patterns, it’s very important to me as an actual athlete to pass it on and share it with you so you can make the best decisions possible in terms of putting together your own training routines.
But before we go any further like that, every opportunity, especially those, should be a one stop place for anyone interested in training naturally.
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Now onto a topic at hand. How should you space out your workouts?
And I’ll start my own experiences and compare how that shapes up what I’ve seen with my clients over the years.
Kevin’s Experience With Workout Split Spacing
So I started training what would later be called Naturally Intense Training in 1990.
Yes, very long time ago.
And I had a very ironclad schedule. I would do back and shoulders on Tuesdays, I would do chest, arms and abdominals on Thursdays, and Saturday was the day I did legs.
And I trained this way with high intensity workouts, like I said, lasting anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes three times a week for 17 years.
And with that, training is but I had a day of rest in between workouts and it changed slightly in 2007, where I started training instead on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
And I kept on training with that exact same split for the next six years.
And then in 2013, I made a bit of a radical switch in that I started training consecutive days.
But not only consecutive days, but a little bit differently, in that I would do back on shoulders on a Tuesday, legs in the middle on a Wednesday, and chest, arms and abdominals on a Thursday three days in a row.
And I did this nonstop for the next seven years until 2020, when I started training at home.
My personal training business now is exclusively online and I don’t train in commercial gyms anymore.
I train right here at home.
I have a lot more flexibility in terms of my overall schedule and I train sometimes three days in a row.
Sometimes I train with a day in between, sometimes I’ll train two days in between. It really can fluctuate a bit because now I have a lot more control over when I train.
And I can train literally any time of the day that I want to.
And because I’m also a competitive archer, sometimes I switch my routines up a little bit so that I don’t work out on the days that are competing either in a league or in an actual competition.
It’s really been all over the place for the past three years in terms of increasing muscle mass and overall strength, differences have been absolutely nonexistent.
In fact, the reason why I trained this way is because of what I saw with my clients over the years.
Effects of 3 Days in a Row Workout Split
When I started off, I had the recommendation that all of my clients needed to train with at least one day of rest in between their workouts.
And of course, always adhere into the universal, Naturally Intense High Intensity training principles that you have to have at least 6 to 7 days of rest in between individual training sessions for the same muscle groups.
But it just didn’t line up.
Clients kept on having to cancel, clients kept on having to reschedule and some clients just simply didn’t have schedules that were able to easily line up into that.
It was a bit of a compromise to have clients who were training Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, but some of them, that’s all that they could do.
And I fully expected their performance was going to be less in terms of their high intensity training and their overall muscle mass and strength gains than someone who was training with a day of rest in between individual workouts.
But over the years, I never saw a difference.
You see, there are some clients who I call adherents.
These are the ones who will follow the diet that give them to a T 100%.
And usually they’re people who are getting ready for a natural bodybuilding competition or getting ready for a photo shoot, or getting ready for a movie role as well as those getting ready for a particular event or occasion.
And from time to time, exceptionally highly motivated men and women trying to realize their goals.
And those are the ones who will never miss a workout, log all their meals and be almost 100% on.
And those are the ones who I focused on in terms of trying to figure out whether or not there’s going to be a difference between training three consecutive days Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or during a day of rest in between.
Over the years, what I found was those who were trained three consecutive days a week made the same gains as those who were training with a day of rest in between.
No Weight Loss Difference From Rest Days Between Workouts
In terms of weight loss, it was the same as well. And I kind of thought, well, maybe if someone was to spread out the workouts more, the increase in post exercise consumption that comes from high intensity workouts would somehow be greater and they’d burn more fat and lose more weight.
But that also wasn’t the case.
Those who trained three days a week consecutively, compared to those who trained with a day in between didn’t have any difference in terms of overall weight loss as long as they followed their diet.
And from my observations, the only factor that made a difference in terms of overall muscle mass increases, strength increases, and or weight loss came down to their sleep patterns.
And the factor that seemed to be making a bit of a difference wasn’t so much a matter of how many hours they were sleeping, was a matter of how consistently they were sleeping, those number of hours and that they woke up feeling rested.
Those were the only factors that made a difference.
Flexibility in Training Routines
And so, having this data set in front of me, I was always free myself to change my own training routines a little bit and not really worry about having to be as dogmatic about making sure that I had that day in between my workouts.
And over the years, I did personal best in terms of how I look and the weights I’m lifting, training with either consecutive days a day in between or literally all over the place.
Like I’ve said before, from my observations, what seems to matter most with high intensity training protocols was that you have enough time to rest in between your workouts. You follow your diet and you have restful sleep.
And so I know a lot of you out there are really busy and sometimes get a little anxious about having to fit in your workouts, which can make it such that you don’t have a pattern every week.
But from what I’ve seen, as long as you get those three days in, you’re good to go.
I do hope this information helped you with your workouts.
Thanks so much again for tuning in, know I believe in you and as always, Excelsior!
Featured everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to CBS News, Kevin Richardson’s Naturally Intense High Intensity Training have helped hundreds lose weight and transform their bodies with his 10 Minute Workouts. One of the top natural bodybuilders of his time, Kevin is also the international fitness consultant for UNICEF and one of the top personal trainers in New York City.