As I am heading back from a memorable trip to LA with my brother (finally made it to the mecca!) I am happy to report that I was not the smallest, most out-of-shape guy at Gold’s. Small victories!
It surely was fun to observe so many great bodybuilders and their different training styles, which brings up the question:

how often should you train?

As always there are different approaches to it, ranging from ten minutes every two weeks (Tim Ferris and other charlatans) to several hours a day ( professional athletes or people without a life). Depending on your goals, you should be ok with dedicating anywhere from three to eight hours week to training.

Next question: what should you do during those hours?

Lets start with a rather general statement: Everyone should train their whole body twice per week..that is right, I do not believe in a traditional one muscle per day split.
In fact, it is a gigantic waste of time if you wait for the muscle to be completely recovered to train again.
Here are some possible breakdowns.
If you:

  1. Train twice a week: perform two whole body workouts
  2. Train three times: Do two whole body workouts and one push or pull workout, depending on which one is your weaker area.
  3. Train four and more times per week: I would use a push pull legs schedule in a rotating manner

Sorry if I just killed your upper biceps and outer delt day, but you will thank me …eventually. If you wish to read more, check out my latest article for Muscle and Fitness.
As for the actual work sets ( excluding warm up), the older you are in training years, more sets you’ll need.
Again, a VERY rough breakdown would be ( MY NYC personal training clients might find this awfully familiar) :

  1. Beginner ( one year or less) 12-15 sets per session
  2. Up to 3 years of training 15-18 sets
  3. Grown ups: 20-25 sets. Yes, that means you may have to train more than one hour. You can thank Mother Nature for being awesome at adapting.

That is all folks. As always, please share and forward!