How Long Should I Work Out

First of all, lets separate three activities: weight lifting, cardio and abs.    Lets start with the weight lifting, everybody is different but work out too long and you waste your time – working out five hours will not make your arms 5x as big as working out one hour and in fact you might not make any progress at all because you are overtraining.  The harder you work out, the shorter your workout needs to be.  If you are a beginning bodybuilder and you are doing whole body workouts three times a week then you can workout for two hrs without fear of overtraining; however, if you are advanced and bench pressing four reps at 405lbs then your workout will need to be in the 45 minute range.  When you are doing intense workouts with heavy weights, you deplete your mental and physical reserves of energy and working out more than 60 minutes can be counter productive.  If you are really hardcore and want to workout two hours a day even though you are doing intense workouts you can do a split workout where you do one body part in the early morning and an un-related body part in the evening.  Once in the weight room you need to stay focused, look at the clock when you start your first rep and make a mental note of when you need to leave.  Wear your walkman, keep your head down and stay focused and you can get a great workout in a short amount of time.

Cardio time is separate and how long you should do cardio depends on if you are trying to lose weight or are doing it for just general cardiovascular health.  If you just want to keep healthy then 30 minutes of walking per day is fine but if you want to lose weight you are going to need to try and do 60 minutes per day of a strenuous exercise like swimming, biking or running.  Do you do the cardio before or after weight lifting?  Well it would be best if it was at some other time in the day but that is not practical for most people.  Most of us don’t like doing stationary cardio in the gym so do it before or after your weight lifting, whichever you find easier because its better to do it at the “wrong time” than not at all.   Personally, I like biking to the gym to get my cardio.  Not only am I warmed up when I get to the gym but I don’t waste time sitting in traffic.

Abs I consider to be a separate workout and I typically do them with my cardio or before starting my weight workout. The main point is not to interfere with your main weight workout by trying to do ab exercises between sets.