Can you tell me approximately how much time I should be weight training each day?
For weight training workouts, you should focus on completing your routine in 45-60 minutes. If you are lifting weights any longer than an hour, you’re basically wasting your time since your natural hormones, like testosterone, begin to drop after this amount of time. If you workout too long, you will also run the risk of overtraining which means your gains will completely stop and you will experience a decrease in strength levels. The common thing most people do at this point is to actually increase their workouts since they think they are not working hard enough. This results in getting into an even deeper level of overtraining where you might even experience flu-like symptoms since your immune system is so run down.
Make sure to always listen to your body and take a rest day if you feel tired and worn out. It’s much better to have an off day to allow your body to fully recover versus pushing yourself too hard and forcing your body into an over-trained state where you start breaking down muscle tissue and losing strength.
If you’re a beginner, I recommend weight lifting 3 days per week and make sure to only train each muscle group once per week. Here is an example of a 3 day split routine:
- Monday: Legs and Calves
- Wednesday: Chest and Back
- Friday: Shoulders, Arms and Abs
This is a great “push and pull” workout routine which means you will be doing pushing movements and pulling movements during the same workout. Examples of “push and pull” exercises are the bench press (push) and bent over barbell rows (pull). These exercises would be included on your Wednesday workout where you train your chest and back. Utilizing a compound set during your workouts is a great way to get the routine finished within 45-60 minutes. A compound set using the above exercises would consist of doing a set of bench press (8-10 reps) followed up immediately with a set of bent over barbell rows (8-10 sets). This compound set of two exercises will be performed right after the other with no rest in between.
Since you will be training your chest and back, it’s a great way to target two different muscle groups without sacrificing the drop in strength levels that you might experience from working a secondary muscle group. Basically, this means that if you did a compound set of bench press with skull crushers (lying barbell triceps extensions), you would be working your triceps while doing the bench press and they would be fatigued when moving directly into the skull crushers which will have a direct impact on the amount of weight you can use on this exercise since your triceps (secondary muscle group) have been used in the bench press and are fatigued. By working the push and pull training method, you will be utilizing opposing muscle groups and this is a great workout routine to include in your weekly weight lifting plan.
If you include cardio exercise into your overall routine, make sure to do it after your weight training workout, NOT before. You want to maximize your glycogen stores for energy while you’re lifting weights and burn up all the carbs in your system before moving onto your cardio workout where your goal is to tap directly into your fat stores.
Another good thing to remember while you’re in the gym is to really try to focus on the task at hand and get a great workout in. Try to avoid excess chatting with friends and fellow workout buddies. Your workout should not be a social event, so really put on your serious face and focus on lifting weights. Once you’re finished, feel free to chat with others outside the gym or meet up for a post-workout meal at a local restaurant.
Always remember how important nutrition is for achieving your physique goals. Try to eat at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, each day. For example, if you weigh 175 pounds then you want to eat at least 175 grams of protein per day. Divide this number between 5-6 meals per day for optimal results. Each meal will consist of around 30-35 grams of protein per meal. Make sure to get your carbohydrates from clean carb sources like brown rice, sweet potatoes and whole wheat bread (Ezekiel bread is the best). Eat tons of fibrous veggies like broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini, red onions and Brussels sprouts. Also focus on eating healthy fats like avocados, extra virgin olive oil, almonds, walnuts and all natural peanut butter (no sugar added).
Your diet is probably the most important element in your fitness plan for building muscle and burning body fat. You can train like an animal in the gym, but if you don’t eat the right foods with the optimal macronutrient breakdown and enough protein, you simply will not make the gains you truly desire and dream of. When in doubt, always go back and analyze your diet plan and tweak elements within the foods you’re consuming to find the right combination that works best for you. Some people make better gains on lots of starchy carbs while others pack on body fat quickly if they go overboard just a little bit with their carbohydrate intake, so understand that everybody is different and you need to truly understand your own physique to make the adjustments needed to succeed.