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How Much Time Do You Spend at the Gym?

Just starting out and have a ton of questions about just about everything. Not sure what to ask about first.

Stats:
5’8" female. 48 yo
135-138 lbs
Bodyfat: how do you measure?
Bodytype: Long and lean

Current program:
5-6 x week at the gym. 2 hour sessions from 2-4 pm (I have a window where I’m in the area and have nothing else to do & love being there). Mainly weights with slow & steady cardio 10-15 mins 3-4x week.

Goal: Drop body fat, gain muscle. Not looking to compete or bulk up too much.

Not sure what to ask about first. Diet? Program? Supplements?

What’s on my mind today is:
-2 hours at the gym - I’d say after subtracting rest, stretching/rolling & cardio about 1 1/2 hours is actual lifting (4 sets/8-12 reps of each depending on what I’m doing). Is that too much?

Should I be supplementing throughout the workout? I take creatine in the am and C4 about an hour before my workouts. Pwo apple right away then shake w/soy milk 30 mins later. I don’t like working out with a full belly.

Any feedback appreciated!

Hey there, welcome. That’s a lot to unpack, but I think it would a good idea to actually spell out what your lifting looks like in one of those 2 hour sessions. Generally speaking, it sounds like it is a bit much (which for me is calling the kettle black), but it depends on what you are actually doing there.

Would help if we saw some pics, but that might be a boundary you don’t feel like crossing after one simple post =) That said, not easy to talk about diets and supplements (nothing wrong with the supps you list) without seeing the whole picture…but as you describe yourself as long and lean, it sounds to me more like you should worry about your program first and foremost.

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As sound like being in the gym, this is worth a try…

Read a bunch of Dan John articles for great overall athletic and lifestyle tips

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What’s your specific question/ concern?

Do you like working out that much?

Do you like your results?

Do you feel good?

If those answers are all “yes,” I don’t think I’d change anything at all

I think my general feedback would be: If it’s working for you and you are enjoying it, keep doing it.

That being said if I were to be critical, only ever doing slow and steady cardio might be something you could tweak, maybe (look up interval training, tabatas and complexes and see what floats your boat!).

As to how long do I train? I probably only now train for about half an hour a day 5 times a week (I now train full body 5 times a week) and so everything I do training wise is very efficient as to avoid burbning myself out.

Oh & welcome to the site btw:)

Thanks for taking the time to respond! I’m not comfortable posting photos as yet.

Re time at the gym, here is an example of what I did today. Go easy on me - I’ve always just stuck to machines and DB and am just learning to love the smith machine and landmine. Also, I added in some plyometrics in between some of the sets (noted below).

  1. Landmine pulse squats up to a full overhead press.
    -2 sets 15 lbs, 12 reps
    -2 sets 20 lbs, 10 reps

*10 box jumps in between above sets

  1. Bulgarian Smith Squats - rear foot on step, 3 risers high
    -1 set 15 lbs (7.5 on each side) 10 reps
    -2 sets 20 lbs, 10 reps
    -1 set 25 lbs, 10 reps

  2. Kneeling cable hip extensions
    -2 sets 45lbs, 10 reps
    -2 sets 50 lbs, 10 reps

*Goblet squats 25 lbs, 10 reps in between above sets

  1. Leg Incline Press
    -2 sets 80lbs, 10 reps mix narrow and wide foot placement
    -1 set 85 lbs, 8 reps wide
    -1 set 90 lbs, 8 reps narrow

*Side lunges with slider disc 10 reps each side in between above sets

  1. Leg extension with 1/2 pulse then full extension
    -2 sets 50 lbs, 10 reps
    -1 set 55 lbs, 8 reps
    -1 set 60 lbs, 8 reps

  2. Seated leg curls with 1/2 pulse then full extension
    -2 set 35 lbs, 10 reps
    -2 sets 40 lbs, 8 reps

Thanks!

Thanks much!

Hi, starting at 5’8" and under 140lb, you can’t have that much fat to lose. I am just shy of 5’8" and about 152lb and 44 yo.

You can find my log, I just posted pictures today. I am coming to “full” work after 2 years of injuries and rehab cycle.

The rest depend on what you want to. Like a goal body type.

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Your understanding of movements looks pretty okay…

To mimic what the others have said, if you enjoy what you’re doing, and youre seeing progress you can be happy with, then roll with it.

If it’s some zen state for you, or some deep seated personal grudge you’re holding (against yourself or others) that’s fine, and you’re using it for your own reasons. After all, no one is paying you for this… so have fun!

However, to be critical:

(All assuming I’m lifting by myself, which I’m not currently, this vastly skews the timeframe)

A typical workout lasts anywhere from 40-60 minutes.

Always focus on the big movement first. What you consider a big movement, and what I consider one, can be vastly different things.

I dont think Smith machines deserve the dogmatic reputation they’ve garnered, but I do believe true free barbell movements are king, and regardless of your goals, would benefit greatly from doing them. Ie. All stabalizing muscles and a general sense of balance get neglected on Smith machines. (This is assuming you’re a healthy individual, with patience, and access to a squat rack/bench)

Plyometrics are an awesome addition, kudos to you for having them in there. Personally I wouldn’t do nearly as many, but I’m also 260lbs, so, my joints dont quite enjoy the abuse.

Tl;dr:

Truly critical; not asked for, dogmatic opinion using your posted workout as an example:

Add barbell squats. They’re great for you as long as you’re willing to take the time to learn. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Do these first, and do them heavy(ish). They will have a fantastic carryover to everything else, as well as keep you healthy (and get you closer to whatever God you follow when you’re in the hole)

Core is fine

Accessories arent too bad, however, you’ll find yourself probably reducing these if you incorporated squats.

As stated before: if you are having fun, just ignore everything I posted and enjoy yourself. If you find that you would like to take a dive in the deep end and start getting stronger/leaner/fitter that what you are currently, you can adjust accordingly.

*edit: I started the eye roll early when you posted your workout, but I ate my words. You’re not totally out of the field with your programming. It definitely could use some finesse, but I’ve seen much worse on here many times.

I spend around an hour at the gym and thats including warm, but every one is different I’ve got friends that will train for a couple of hours and one that swears that doing anything after 45min of working out is useless.

I have always been able to lose weight just by thinking about it (props to Mom for the genes) but once I hit 45ish, it’s getting more difficult. Stubborn belly fat and some jiggle in the thighs.

My goal at the moment? Honestly - to feel comfortable wearing shorts in the summer. Not LL Bean we’re going clam digging kind of shorts but ones where you can see my thighs and they actually have some contour to them.

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I was expecting some eye rolling - that’s part of putting it out there. Thanks for your input.

If I left at the 40-60 min mark I would feel like I hadn’t done enough. Maybe I’m still stuck in the cardio workout frame of mind where I have to leave the gym red faced and sweating. Keep in mind I’m 48 and growing up Jane Fonda was the poster girl for fitness.

I do have access to a squat rack. I’ve been using the Smith because it’s less intimidating and I figured I would work my way up to the rack. It’s a little daunting. The good thing is that I’m at a women’s only gym with an average age of 60 so there’s not much competition for the rack. Or maybe that’s a bad thing as having some heavy lifters around might inspire and spot. Great suggestion though and I will give them a try on my next leg day.

On a side note, how do you measure body fat?

I’m 50 and takes me an hour and 45 to do cardio and weights. Sounds like your on the right track. We ain’t 25 anymore but it’s hard to convince the mind of this haha

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Firstly welcome to T Nation. The session you posted doesn’t look too bad (as already posted above). I am assuming this is not a session you are repeating every day you go to the gym ?
For me 2 hours is a little long, your session had 24 sets, so at 1 min a set and 2 min rest, that’s 72 mins, even with a little warm up and 15 mins of cardio, 2 hours is a stretch. This does’t mean its wrong and if its working and you are happy then play on.
Maybe think about starting a training log on here and post up what you are doing and your goals. That way you’ll likely get more specific feedback.

Thanks for your reply.

Yes, 24 sets but I also do the plyometrics in between. So a set of box jumps in between each set of the landmine presses. I think that’s how I’m getting to two hours.

This is a leg day which I do twice a week. Sometimes I swap out one or two of the exercises. I’ve been doing this since the first week of January. My shoulder/bicep and back/tricep workouts are about 1.5 hours each but I don’t do any plyo in between. I do do about 15 mins of cardio at the end which brings me to 1 hr 45 mins.

Of course, I could just be really slow at this! I don’t socialize and minimize any chit chat.

Thanks for the suggestion re the training log. I’ll do that.

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As others have said, if you’re happy with the way things are going, keep it up. Food for thought to be taken with a grain of salt, as I’m still a beginner (less than 3 years lifting):

I find every time I’m not seeing much progress, If I change things up, progress happens quickly. I’m definitely not one of those “you MUST change routines every six weeks to ‘confuse’ your muscles” people, but if I find new ways to train, and they don’t always have to be drastically different, I’ll improve. One of the things I’m really enjoying in my journey to get fitter is that there’s always something to suck at!

If you’ve always done really long sessions in the gym, one thing you could do is lower your volume and up the intensity of each set. (Two hours in the gym, at the intensity at which I like to train, would kill me. Then again, maybe I should dial back intensity and up my volume, and that would help me!) There’s many many ways to go about this. People have gotten very big, strong, fit, etc. by doing 45-minute sessions.

As this is the only bit that hasn’t been addressed yet, I’ll give it a bash.

You don’t. It’s a useless number. If you really care, you could spring for regular DEXA scans, but I don’t understand the benefit.

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Yeah, I was going to say “use the mirror”. But I agree that, objectively speaking, it isn’t important.

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A side question & hope I’m explaining this right - would adding a single leg exercise to an upper body workout day equate to the same leg gains as if you had done that leg exercise on a leg day?

For example, today was a shoulder/bicep day and I had a little energy left over at the end and just felt like doing some legs. If I did some squats, would the gains from those squats be any different than if I had done them on the scheduled leg day instead? Just wondering.

I’m thinking that there is probably some connection between muscle fatigue and gains and doing all legs in one day would be better than breaking it up (?).

Oh, and most importantly. How can the Sriracha bottle say zero grams of sugar but the second ingredient is sugar?? Lol.

The answer to this is ‘it depends’
I know that isn’t very helpful but there are so many variables, how hard did you train on leg day, what volume did you do, is the second leg day heavy or light, how does this fit within your overall program and your overall recovery?
What are you adding the entry leg day for ? What is the actual goal? If you can’t articulate why you are doing something and how it helps to achieve your goal then why do it ??

Having said all of that, The only way to trey tell is to try it. Adding a few sets of squats later in the week shouldn’t hurt or hinder your progress. Many people train the same bodypart or even exercise multiple times in one week.

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