There are so many layers to that question that I will try to cover them all very briefly.
1. How long have you been training?
The more experience you have, the less you’ll need to workout to maintain or gain results. But hold on, I’m talking years of experience not just a few months. Those with 10 years or more under their belt can do less and still get results. The reason being that their nervous system, muscle memory and experience can all lead to greater muscle recruitment and great results in less time. And it always goes according to your goals, which leads me to my next point.
2. How fast do you want results?
This is a universal law. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to get results, fat loss or gaining muscle. Fat loss is relatively easy but still takes a lot of sacrifices. Training 2-3 times a week with a great meal plan suited for your needs can give you great results in a matter of weeks, if all the elements fall in your favor. Meaning no gut, sleep or stress issues. Gaining muscle on the other hand, can be tricky. Gaining, and especially keeping, is a work of art and a lot about knowing yourself. If I tell you that gaining 3-5 pounds of muscle a year is fairly rare, especially keeping it, don’t be surprised. Is there a general rule of thumb for fat loss or hypertrophy? No way.
3. How often can you workout?
All kinds of results need some investment. You also must be realistic. If you can afford to workout 2-3 days a week, but TRY to invest yourself five days a week, you will have to throw in the towel quick. Sometimes less is more, you just have to give yourself a little more time to do it. You will still end up with great results.
4. Can you eat enough?
Most people are ready to workout 6 days a week, but fail to eat in order to do so. More workouts mean more calories in. But wait, as long as you create a caloric deficit you should be fine right? This is why you can’t expect all the answers in one simple post. The magic lies in the word “deficit”. A deficit of more than 500 calories per day can wreck your metabolism in the long run. Training more requires you to eat more, but you can’t expect to keep eating your little 1500 calories a day and expect that it will all be fine in the end.