Idle hands are eating a devils food cake
March 29, 2009 9:55 AM   Subscribe

I have the opportunity to exercise in the morning, at lunch and in the evening. Does it matter if I do certain exercises in order?

I have an hour to workout before work, around 7-8am in the morning. Then another hour at lunch from 12-1pm. Finally, I have about 2 hours in the evening, typically 5-8pm or 7-10pm.

This is about 5 hours a day, possible more, that I could be using to reach my fitness goals. Right now I use 1 hour of that time.

I already follow a 3 day a week lifting routine from a Men's Health book. That typically takes about 20 to 40 minutes. Once or twice a week I attend a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class in the evenings that lasts 45 minutes.

I could do this indefinitely (have been doing this for almost a year) but it's not helping me reach my goals of weightloss. It has helped me maintain my weight and it has improved my fitness levels, but that isn't enough. My goal is to reduce weight (I'm 25 years old, 5'10, 240lbs).

Can you point me to extended exercise routines for people with a lot of time on their hands? Maybe the routines used for Olympic athletes or "the biggest loser tv show"? The only exercise I hesitate to do a lot of at this weight is running for extended periods since it tends to cause pain in my shins and knees.

I know nutrition matters. The issue on the nutrition end is not daily things like sodas or cookies. Rather, it's things like eating an entire box of cookies out of boredom. Being aware of this problem, combined with burning that spare time staying physically active, I think, will help me with this.
posted by abdulf to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Just a side note, be careful not to workout too late (no less than 2-3 hours before bed) it will interfere with your sleep cycle which could wreck your routine from fatigue! Good Luck!
posted by kgreerRN at 10:47 AM on March 29, 2009

If you've got time on your hands, why not consider training for a 5k Run or sprint distance triathlon? Personally, I love the idea of having a separate goal that will allow you to reach your weight loss goal. Check out Specifically
check out the "Couch-to-5k" and "Sprint - 2x Balanced - 16 Week" training plans.

I know you said you can't run due to pain, but I think you can do it - just don't jump right in. However, I am saying that having never been in a position where pain from weight was an issue. I recommend going to a runner's shoe store and being properly fitted for a pair of shoes. Spend the money and get something that will protect you from injury. Once you've been outfitted, start walking fast and adding 10-second jogs during your walk. Once you can handle that, step it up a little bit at a time. Take a Runner magazine out from the library - they often have great tips for beginners.

Finally, if you are looking to fill your time with exercise in order to avoid food, I think it may be difficult to do. You won't be able to escape boredom forever. You may consider looking into new hobbies, joining organizations, clubs, etc.
posted by bwilms at 11:01 AM on March 29, 2009

The reason you want to work out 5 hours a day is so you're not eating junk food for those 5 hours? Why don't you take up knitting? I promise you will not succeed in being too busy working out to eat...even if you don't injure yourself, working out that much will make you hungry as a motherfucker and eventually you'll have to stop and eat something. Why don't you just work out a normal amount and only have good food on hand instead of bad food?

I think you'll find that people who work out 5 hours a day also sleep a lot and don't work a day job.

Anyway this guy went on a serious supervised program with a shit-ton of supplements, very rigid diet, and lots of exercise...but I don't think it was anywhere near 5 hours a day. He was very successful.

A good tip I heard is to eat 3 apples a day. They make you full. Another good tip is to have 21 apples in your house right now...otherwise you won't ever get around to eating three a day. Why don't you throw out all the cookies you have, buy 21 apples and a bunch of chicken, work out a normal amount every day and then just eat good food? And then get some hobbies? Learn to play an instrument? Read the complete works of Shakespeare? Etc...
posted by creasy boy at 12:12 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm not familiar with the book you mention. The Amazon page makes it sound like it focuses on compound barbell exercises, like Starting Strength, which is good.

Here are the things that make me raise my eyebrows:

Your say your workout takes 20 to 40 minutes. That sounds pretty short for a 3 day/week strength program. What does your workout look like? A starting strength workout takes me around an hour to get through, sometimes a little more, including warmups and rest.

But more than that, what do you mean "you could do this indefinitely?" A program you could do indefinitely is a bad program. You should be seeing measurable gains and eventually have to change up your program when you've progressed enough.

What do you mean it has "helped you maintain your weight and improve your fitness levels?" Have you gotten stronger? How much? Has your bodyfat percentage changed?

Lastly, you need to take a look at your goals and make sure you're doing the most efficient thing to reach those goals. At 5'10" and 240 you could be strong and fit, but I'll assume for the moment that you're overfat and not very strong. Your focus, particularly if you're on a strength program, ought to be your bodyfat percentage, not your weight. But maybe you don't want to be on a strength program, and you just want to lose fat and improve your metabolic conditioning, in which case you should try crossfit and log all of your nutrition with something like fitday.

Not all programs are good for all purposes. You need to be clear about your goals and how you're going to measure them. If your workouts aren't extremely difficult they're unlikely to be effective. And more exercise is not always better.
posted by ludwig_van at 4:04 PM on March 29, 2009

The idea that working out will disturb your sleep is probably not true. I can say anecdotally that it's never kept me from sleeping, and also read this. Of course, everyone's different, but it certainly won't hurt you to try this and see how it works for you.

In fact, working out in the evening can be quite good for you, as your metabolism tends to slow down then. Giving it a boost in the evening can increase your calorie burning.

I don't think it matters too much in the end, as long as you do workout. I've exercised at different times in my life for extended periods and appreciated each (generally speaking: morning, afternoon, and evening) for different reasons.
posted by dubitable at 4:16 PM on March 29, 2009

In terms of time of day, I have heard from countless sources that the most important thing about picking a time is making sure that it's when you are most likely to follow through. So, if you know that at the end of the workday, you will not actually work out more than 50% of the time, shoot for the morning or afternoon. Other than that, I've been told morning vs. afternoon vs. evening doesn't really matter.

As for amping up your routine, I am a huge fan of walking, outside or on a treadmill (and I loathe running). Some people hate the treadmill, but I find it's the best way to make sure I'm getting the most out of my time because I can set the speed and incline while also checking my heart rate regularly. Even though they are wildly inaccurate, I also use the caloric counter as a barometer of how hard I'm working one day to the next. Meaning, I may not actually burn the 700 calories in an hour that the display claims, but if one day it says 450 and the following it says 700, then I know when I'm exerting more energy and having a more demanding workout.

Adding 30-60 minutes of cardio a day, even a low impact walking routine, whether outside or on the treadmill, to your weight training will probably make a noticeable difference. Also, if you belong to a gym, chances are your membership entitles you to a complimentary consult, and a trainer could help you create a more successful regimen. Good luck!
posted by katemcd at 5:07 PM on March 29, 2009

Do more BJJ.
posted by the cuban at 6:15 PM on March 29, 2009

Yeah, I would extend the BJJ sessions to nightly. I would say, from experience, that more than two-a-days would be a bit much. If you could do a morning weight interval program, and some nightly program BJJ you would get in shape pretty quick.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:07 PM on March 29, 2009

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