Are You Working Out Too Much, Too Often?
by Shawn C. LeBrun
There are a couple questions that I would
like to ask you to ask yourself:
Are you wasting too much of your valuable time by going to the gym
to lift weights? Are you trying to convince yourself that the more
time you spend in the gym working out, the better off your results
One of the biggest misconceptions I deal with each and every day
as a personal trainer is the belief people have that it takes hours
in the gym lifting weights to produce a fit and toned body. I have
some (good) news for you.
What if I told you that only 20% of your total fitness results will
come from the time you spend lifting weights? What if I told you that
80% of your weight loss or weight management results come from the
time you spend OUT OF THE GYM!
How much time do you really need to spend lifting weights to get
a great body and be in great shape? What if I said only three minutes
a day, 3 times a week, for a TOTAL of 9 minutes A WEEK! (Are you scratching
your head yet or calling me names?)
I am willing to bet money that you are spending a lot more than 9
minutes a week on weight lifting and I am also willing to bet you
are not totally happy with your results.
Before totally labeling me crazy, let me explain:
Let's take a visit to the gym for a moment, and join up with yourself
in a workout. Today is "chest day" for your workout. Let's
assume that for each exercise, you perform the standard norm of 10
repetitions per set. So, if you do a bench press, you probably do
10 reps. That, my friend, amounts to about 10 seconds of time that
you are actually physically moving the weight.
Next time you are in the gym, time yourself and see how long it takes
to perform a set of 10 reps. (Please do not look at your watch while
doing the exercise!) Let me save you the time--it takes 10 seconds.
If you perform 3 sets, which most people do, you are now up to 30
seconds (3x10) of actual lifting movement. If you do 3 exercises for
each muscle group (for the chest we can do bench press, incline dumbbell
press, and dips) you are now only up to 90 seconds, or 1 1/2 minutes.
So far, so good?
Let's assume you do two muscle groups per workout (let's say chest
and back). You have doubled your 1 1/2 minutes to three minutes. 1
1/2 minutes spent on chest ACTUALLY PHYSICALLY LIFTING THE WEIGHTS
and 1 1/2 minutes spent working out your back, ACTUALLY PHYSICALLY
LIFTING THE WEIGHTS. Total time=three minutes.
All of the other time you are spending can be put into one of these
Resting between sets
Waiting between sets, walking around a bit, getting a drink of
water (this should only amount to 1-2 minutes between sets).
Hopefully, most of the time that you are not actually lifting is
spent in category #1, rest.
So, what does all of this mean? You have three minutes
to make or break your results.
Three minutes to give everything you can give while in the gym. Treat
it like the last three minutes you will ever have (you never really
know when it will be) and I absolutely bet that you will have an incredible
workout and will soon be reaping incredible results.
Remember I said at the beginning that 20% of your results come from
the time spent in the gym lifting weights and the other 80% comes
from time spent out of the gym.
If you are spending only three minutes total each workout and 9 minutes
total each week ACTUALLY MOVING THE WEIGHTS UP AND DOWN, shouldn't
it stand to reason that most of your results will come from outside
of this 3-9 minute time period, outside of the gym?
The time you spend in the gym is meant to accomplish one thing. Muscle
stimulation. Period. The time spent in the gym lifting weights is
for muscle stimulation, which in turn, will lead to muscle growth
and improved muscle strength.
I hope you weren't thinking fat loss. You cannot burn body fat during
the lifting process, lifting is anaerobic, not aerobic. Don't worry
though, weight training
is probably THE BEST investment for future fat-burning capabilities!
Your time spent lifting should focus on muscle stimulation by progressively
lifting heavier weights so that your muscles become stronger and bigger.
THE OTHER 80% of your results come from:
- Proper rest
outside of the gym
- Proper nutrition
to support muscle growth
yet brief aerobic/cardio exercise
If either of these three areas is compromised, results are minimal.
All of the weight lifting in the world will bring about nothing positive
if you are not recovering properly between workouts, are not eating
to support muscle growth and fat loss, and are not performing aerobic
activity to help the heart and also aid in fat loss. Focus and direct
your efforts on making sure these three criteria are being met and
I guarantee you will see positive results.
In conclusion, because you are only spending three minutes of actual
weight lifting time each and every day, do you see areas in your own
routine that can be cut down to become more efficient? Are you spending
way too much time in search of those elusive results you're after,
all the while unsure if what you are doing is even the right thing?
I know this much for sure: there is no Universal law that states
if you double your time spent in the gym, you double your results.
Quite the contrary. I see many people spend needless hours in the
gym, not changing their physique a bit. I also see people that change
quite dramatically by losing fat and gaining muscle. I know for sure
that these people are making that three minutes of each workout the
best possible three minutes they can give.
It's not the time that matters. It's how well you spend that time.
Make your three minutes of your workout the most intense, focused
three minutes you possibly can and I guarantee you will start to see
So, the next time someone asks you how long you work out for each
day with weights, you can tell them, with confidence, that it only
takes three minutes a day to get a great, muscular and toned physique.
Everything else is either rest or time wasted.
ShawnLeBrunFitness.com is an online weight loss and fitness site
dedicated to helping people lose weight and gain muscle in the most
efficient time. Click
here to get my free e-book