Dear Mr Bhutan,

How many times should I workout a week and for how long? I hear so many different answers an am unable to decide. I want to build a physique like yours and make my country proud. 


Dear Phuntshok,

I am happy to know that you are driven by a goal to excel.

There is no hard and fast rule as to how frequently and for how long one should to train to optimally build muscle.

You have to find your own duration and frequency of training by trial and error. You need to discover and learn your body; figure out how it responds to different levels and frequency of stress (exercise). You are the one who can understand the needs and demands of your body best. I can only advice you how to learn to read the signals of your body.

The amount of work you perform during your workout is positive and beneficial only if your body is able to recover from it. If you are physically sore most of the time, it’s a clear signal that you are not recovering optimally, which will hinder your result and increase the chances of injury.

So find a frequency and duration of training that suits you best.

Increase in strength has a correlation with increase in size. If you are not gradually getting stronger at your compound lifts (multi-joint movements), then there is probably something you need to take a closer look at. It could be insufficient nutrients in your daily food intake, poor sleep, or over training, which can all be the lead causes.

Our brain is constantly sending signals to our muscles to either elongate or shorten at various speeds and intensity.  So when we train intensely and regularly, we exhaust the muscle and the nervous system that carry the signals. If the nervous system is not optimally functioning, the signals travel slowly and poorly, leading to compromised or reduced level of performance.

Taking time off from training completely and sleeping at least 8 hours every night will help you prevent nervous system fatigue.

I would like to add that in most cases, 3 sessions of 1 hour each, spread apart with a day of rest is the most suited routine for muscle and strength building.

Make sure first you focus on maximising the intensity in every set of every exercise in every workout.

Tshering Dorji (three times Mr Bhutan winner), is a certified fitness trainer and specialist in performance nutrition


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