You want to save time building muscle and losing fat. You want to put in as little time as possible, using as few days out of the week as possible, and get the most bang for your buck. In that case you should exercise only when you can maximize your returns on time invested. Here’s how:
Grow more muscle and save more time by exercising more efficiently. You should always keep your workouts under 60 minutes. In fact most experts agree that 45 minutes is the maximum time limit for resistance training, and the final 15 minutes should be used for cooling down and stretching.
After the 60 minute mark, your body will start producing more cortisol, the stress hormone that is responsible for most of the bad stuff your body does in attempting thwart your efforts to gain muscle. Increased cortisol means less testosterone, less protein synthesis, less anabolism, more catabolism, and a general feeling of fatigue.
This means fewer muscle gains, less strength, poor endurance, decreased motivation, less fat burned, fewer calories burned, and ultimately wasted time. These are some of the reasons people quit working out. Exercising for too long does your body more harm that good, and it leaves you feeling drained and useless.
Respect the law of diminishing returns and do not waste your time exercising for more than 60 minutes in one session. Eat a ton of carbs and a moderate amount of protein after your workout to restart protein synthesis, anabolism, and to fill your body back up with glucose.
Wait a couple hours before trying to exercise a second time, if you feel you absolutely MUST get in another workout. Better yet, do one workout in the AM and one workout in the PM. Better yet, only workout once a day. Better yet, take every other day off completely for maximum recovery.
Obviously most athletes, especially Project Swole readers, won’t want to take every other day completely off… I know I don’t. It is not really necessary, but you should maximize rest and recovery when you aren’t training. Double sessions 7 days a week will only make you sick and skinny.