The Best Workout Schedule

What’s the best workout schedule? What do we recommend?

Well… it depends (ugh, it always depends, doesn’t it?!).

But it’s true. We need more context about individuals, their schedules, their lives, their values, their strengths and weaknesses. We need to know a lot before we make the appropriate prescription.

And the other thing? Our seasons of life change. The constant ebb and flow of our lives can make settling down into a “perfect routine” a pursuit that you’ll never attain. We must be able to recognize what season we’re in, check in with ourselves mentally and physically, and see what we are actually able to achieve.

“That’s lame. Just tell me the schedule.”


It’s important to understand these things and how they relate to you before blindly following a schedule. It’s REALLY important if you ever find yourself feeling frustrated or annoyed with yourself that you aren’t achieving consistent fitness.

Let’s dive into it.

I want to give you 3 different schedules, and lots of context around them. I really like to use the term “Good – Better – Best” when it comes to goal setting, but I do NOT like using those terms when it comes to workout schedules. Depending on your season of life, these schedules should be considered “Best – Best – Best.”

Option 1: 3-4 Workouts Per Week

Whoa there, Coach. It looks like option 1, which is usually the most attainable and achievable option, is already at 3-4 workouts per week. 3-4 workouts per week can seem pretty tough!

Yes, and no.

Getting to the gym and doing a demanding strength workout can be tough due to schedule, travel, yada yada… but you can do 3-4 workouts a week.

A workout does NOT mean you have to go to the gym, lift all the weights, and end up in a pool of sweat.

A workout can be a long walk on your lunch break.

A workout can be a weighted walk, or ruck (my personal favorite these days).

A workout can be an EMOM x 10 Minutes of 5 push ups + 5 air squats.

You can break up these 3-4 workouts per week between gym time and outside of the gym time. It doesn’t all *have* to be in the gym!

This option is great for the following people:

  • Someone who has been beating themselves up a lot lately for not getting to the gym 3+ days a week
  • Someone who has a fair amount of stress in their life
  • Someone who finds that trying to schedule more time in the gym is causing more stress than the workout can correct
  • Someone who has a hard time with daily childcare
  • Someone who does not recovery particularly quickly from workouts
  • Someone who, truthfully, needs to give themselves a bit of grace from feeling like they should be working out 5+ days a week (there’s that damn *should* word again. What a terrible word).

If you feel like one of those someones, here’s what I would suggest:

  • Schedule 1-2 days to go into the gym and take a class on days you know with a ton of confidence that you’ll be able to get there.
  • Audit your schedule, and find a few 30-45 minute chunks in your day where you could go for long fast walks, or rucks. Bonus points if you can do these with spouses and family.
  • Create a checklist or a quota sheet for your workouts each week. Aim for 3-4, and remind yourself that “workout” does NOT mean it has to be done in the gym.

For option 1, don’t get too caught up in trying to time perfect rest days. Since you’ll have 3-4 days off from workouts each week anyway, you don’t need to stress the timing of this. This option will help you tremendously in your effort to rebuild, and then sustain consistency.

Option 2: 4-5 Workouts Per Week

If you didn’t read the spiel about what a workout is from option 1, scroll back up and read that before moving on.

Option 2, 4-5 workouts per week, is what I truly think of as the sweet spot of fitness and activity for most people (most… not all). 

This option is great for the following people:

  • Someone who has a very predictable schedule, and conflicts rarely show up
  • Someone who finds comfort and lifestyle stability from structured and scheduled workouts
  • Someone who does not feel a tremendous amount of stress in their life
  • Someone who enjoys optimizing a bit

If you nodded your head to the above and are one of these someones, here’s what I would suggest:

  • Schedule 3-4 days a week as your “minimum” for gym time. If you can do 4-5, great, but let’s call your minimum gym time 3-4 days a week.
  • Decide what workout outside of the gym you like and get value from. If you’re strength training at Yellow Rose, you’ll want something restorative and low impact. An awesome option is a 2 mile ruck, 2 days a week (will take you around 35-50 minutes).
    • I’d also recommend you do these rucks at the same time you normally workout.

Now, since you’re someone who enjoys optimizing a bit, let’s take a look at what days of the week we could be working out. There’s ZERO reason to think you have to workout on a Monday, for the record. Just like calories don’t care if it’s after 8PM, your body doesn’t care what day of the week it works out.

One sample schedule could be:

  • Monday – Ruck
  • Tuesday – Class at Yellow Rose
  • Wednesday – Class at Yellow Rose
  • Thursday – Ruck
  • Friday – Class at Yellow Rose
  • Saturday/Sunday – Off 


  • Monday – Class
  • Tuesday – Class
  • Wednesday – off or ruck
  • Thursday – Class
  • Friday – Class 

What’s important about deciding what your schedule is is your ability to be consistent.

I’m currently living in Option 2 right now, and my “workout week” actually starts on Saturday. I can always get my workouts in on the weekend, when sometimes the work week is too tough for me. Here’s what mine looks like:

  • Saturday – Long run
  • Sunday – Off OR strength work I missed last week
  • Monday – Class at Yellow Rose
  • Tuesday – Class at Yellow Rose
  • Wednesday – Short Run
  • Thursday – Class at Yellow Rose
  • Friday – Off

Now… if you’re thinking, “4-5 workouts is great, but I’d like more” then here’s your option.

Option 3: 6+ Workouts Per Week

Whew. This is a lot, but it is still doable and achievable. Unlike what a lot of people want us to believe, you can absolutely workout 6+ days a week safely if…

  • You are sleeping 7-8+ hours per night
  • You have minimal to no stress
  • Your nutrition is a B+ average, 90% of the time
    • Which also means you’re eating enough protein to fuel recovery
  • You are properly hydrated, pretty much always.
  • You are mentally healthy, and are not using workouts as a way to avoid the mental work you need to do.
  • You are having less than 2-3 alcoholic beverages per week

If you checked yes to all of those (yes, even the last one), then you can get curious about more workouts. If you are even missing just one of these (YES, even the last one), then you’ll find more benefit to your health and wellness by getting these squared away before we think about adding extra workouts.

For the 6+ workouts a week person, we can look at this in 2 ways: workout days, or workout sessions (meaning you’ll do 2 workouts some days).

6 workouts in a week is fairly simple. Pick 6 days that you’d like to workout, and bam, workout. I would recommend avoiding 6 days of weightlifting, as your joints and muscles will have a hard time recovering from this. A schedule for you could look something like this:

  • Monday – Class at Yellow Rose
  • Tuesday – Class at Yellow Rose
  • Wednesday – 2 mile Ruck + short run optional
  • Thursday – Class at Yellow rose
  • Friday – Class at Yellow Rose
  • Saturday – 2 Mile ruck, or long run.
  • Sunday – Rest (and completely rest).

But if you’re really feeling froggy, I recommend looking at sessions vs days. Now, this is going to be for someone who has a very flexible schedule and is able to put in this kind of volume. You’ll be looking at AM + PM sessions. In the example below, you can also flip these if you prefer strength work in the evening.

  • Monday – Strength train AM. 2 mile Ruck PM.
  • Tuesday – Strength train AM. 40-60 minutes of Zone 2 cardio PM (on air bike, treadmill, cardio machine, etch).
  • Wednesday – VO2 Max workout on Cardio machine in AM. Rest PM.
  • Thursday – Strength Train AM. 2 mile ruck PM + dedicated mobility/recovery session.
  • Friday – Strength Train AM. 40-60 minutes of Zone 2 cardio PM.
  • Saturday – Long cardio. 90-120 minutes Zone 2-3. Either run, bike, or machine.
  • Sunday – Rest.

Whoa. That’s 10 workouts in a week. You could do this, but again, only if the checklist at the start of option 3 is 100% adherent. It should also be acknowledged that you can very easily (and very quickly) get to a point where more is not better… it’s just more, and making you worse. Signs of this would include inability to recovery, nagging aches and pains, crankiness/irritability, under performing in other areas of your life. At that point, the extra fitness is NOT worth it. It’s actually making you less fit!

So there are your options. This is not a “good – better – best” model. This is a “best – best – best” depending on what season of life you’re in, and what’s actually achievable and feasible for you. For most people who I sit down with in a strategy session and talk about this, they’ll say “I think Option 2 is great for me” to which I reply, “Awesome! Let’s do Option 1 for a month and see how it goes.”

With long term fitness and wellness, it’s better to lower the expectations and keep the consistency than to stretch yourself thin.

Let’s find the option that works for you, and stay consistent with it. If you need help figuring that out, send me an email at [email protected] and let’s get the conversation started.

See you at the gym,


Clark Hibbs coach at Yellow Rose Fitness


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