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How Long Should I Work Out?

A common misconception is that one has to spend hours and hours in the gym to get in shape. Unless you are an elite athlete in training camp or contending for the Mr. Olympia bodybuilding competition, you will not have to dedicate that much time for working out. So, how long do we have to work out to get the results we are looking to get?

With working all day and taking care of the kids, two hours-a-day at the gym is far too much to feasibly consider. The good news is that you do not have to dedicate that much time at the gym; in fact, there are quite a few workouts that can take as little as 30-minutes!

One of my favorite workouts is the 5-by-5. What this approach consists of is circuit training, in which you are doing five exercises per set for five sets. An example is doing kettlebell swings, push-ups, dumbbell shoulder press, bent-over dumbbell rows and planks, one exercise right after the other. When you have completed the five exercise circuit, rest for one minute (two, depending on your fitness level), then start on your second set and so on.

If you are new to working out, or if it has been a long time since you have worked out regularly, I would recommend starting by doing just three sets. The reason for this is that we want to be sure that you do not overwork yourself, which, often times could result in an unwanted injury. It is important to remain patient and allow your body to progress naturally. When three sets are no longer as challenging as they were in the beginning, you can add a fourth set.

Additionally, if you choose to use weight-bearing exercises in your circuit, you must consider your ultimate fitness goals; in other words, high repetitions and light weight should be used to tone up, and less repetitions and higher weight applies to those looking to gain strength.

Working out does not have to take up a large portion of the day. In fact, you can just as easily swap workouts at the gym with playing with your kids at the beach or going out for a jog. The most important thing is to workout consistently, instead of trying to stay at the gym for a long time because staying that long would likely wear on you, thus leading one to become bored with working out. Also, keeping the workouts brief allows room for the recreational exerciser to test out numerous workout routines, so they can find out what works best for them. In short, stop looking at the clock and start looking at the calendar.


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