This was a great topic and good discussions. I've asked myself the same question.
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
1,335 2/25/13 3:15 P
I do 90 minutes a day unless there's some reason not to (though the last half hour in particular, which is later in the day, is fully intended to be a low-intensity "slog" just to get the blood flowing). I don't believe it's too much at all. In fact, for the purpose of general calorie burn and basic fitness, I am pretty much the opposite of people who say "quality over quantity". There are a few reasons for this.
One: for people who are coming from a very sedentary lifestyle (and I'm one of them), actual quality can be very, very hard to come by at the beginning and for a long time. And if you do push yourself that hard, it can be hard to keep up long term, or you could get discouraged easily or freaked out at how bad you feel. Low-intensity "go for an easy walk for a while" type exercise is something that many more people can handle, very easy to motivate yourself mentally for (since you know you won't be killing yourself to do it), and so on.
Second: I once, back in my 20s, had a job that kept me doing the equivalent of light exercise all day every day. A fair amount of walking, lifting lots of things that weighed 5-10 pounds, and so on. I still ate like hell, but I've never been so skinny in my life. Also in terms of health, there is some evidence that small amounts (time-wise) of exercise in an otherwise sedentary life are not nearly as advantageous as simply being active (in any way) for longer periods of time.
So for both of those reasons my goal from the beginning has been to exercise a LOT, and let the quality take care of itself. So far I'm perfectly fine with it, I'm feeling good and losing weight, and the quality is slowly increasing as my fitness does. Assuming calories are adjusted correctly and so on, and especially given that you're enjoying what you're doing, I think you're doing everything right.
I don't think you're doing the wrong thing at all.
Fitness Minutes: (8,977)
30 2/25/13 2:49 P
I've researched that a lot myself because I've gotten into it very much and was wondering if I would eventually do myself harm. General opinion seems to be that 90m per day is not overdoing it as long as you are getting in some rest days. I split my workouts, one in the morning, another at night. Recoup for more intense workouts. And if you're worried about not losing weight because you're gaining muscle, look in the mirror! You may not lose weight according to the scale, but I bet your body is changing shape for the better! (Also note that I no longer use the ticker...!) Yay muscle!
Thanks for the responses. I agree that no amount of working out can out do a bad diet. For our anniversary we had a few meals out that probably weren't the best choices. This actually caused a 2 week set back in my weight loss...back on track and the pounds are coming off again.
Note to self...some indulgences are not really worth it. I have goals and there are some foods that apparently don't agree with the process. The kryptonite for me is bread...my body does NOT like it! I get bloated and weight loss stalls if I have too much (more than one piece a day).
You've gotten some good advice already, but I'd add that you should consider doing cardio and strength on separate days. The only way I could do 45 minutes of cardio and then do a decent strength routine would be to really dial down the cardio to a very low intensity. If I did up the intensity, I think my strength workout would suffer quite a bit.
Try splitting them up for a month or so and see if that shakes things up for you. When doing cardio, go for a shorter duration but much higher intensity. As others mentioned, your heart rate is the best measure, but the "talk test" works too. On the strength side, make sure you're lifting weights heavy enough to get you to fatigue in 12 reps or less, and make sure you're hitting all the major muscle groups each time. Allow at least 48 hours between strength sessions, possibly more if you need the recovery time. Have one day a week of rest and recovery with either no workout or a very light one such as a walk or yoga.
Are you tracking your intake, and is the info you entered into Spark accurate (calories burned, goal weight, etc)? If not, adjust those and see what range it gives you. Then work on getting within as many of those ranges as you can every day with the most nutrition-dense foods you can.
Lastly, can you keep up spending this much time for the long haul? I spend 4-5 hours a week, and that's plenty for me. You might be headed for burnout or injury if you keep to that schedule...just be sure to listen to the cues your body will give you.
The benefits of exercise really come from its quality, rather than its quantity.
It is possible to get more out of an intense 20-25 minute cardio workout, than a less intense 45 minute workout.
And 'working up a sweat' is a pretty poor guide to workout intensity. Your heart rate is a better guide. You should be aiming to get your heart rate well into the 'cardio zone' - 75-90% of your maximum (and your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age). You don't need a heart rate monitor for this - just pause your exercise for 10 seconds and check your pulse manually (and then multiply by 6 to get beats per minute).
And while we are on the topic of measuring, it is a common response when starting/increasing an exercise program for your muscles to retain water. This increase in your lean mass can lead to little change in the scale, even as you are burning fat. However, muscle and water are considerably denser than fat, and typically this shows up as inches lost, even if the scale is being unco-operative. The tape is a much better means of tracking your progress than the scale. If you are losing inches, you ARE losing fat.
The one area where you may be working out too much is the weight room. Strength training works by creating microscopic tears in your muscle fibers, which then grow back stronger. But it takes time for this to happen, and most experts recommend resting your muscles 48-72 hours between ST sessions. 30-45 minutes sounds reasonable, but doing this every day is too much - stick to 2-3 ST sessions per week. Also, duration is an even worse measure of ST effectiveness than it is of cardio. What matters in ST is that you are genuinely challenging your muscles. It is possible to throw light weights around for 45 minutes and get very little benefit. Lift heavy, and aim to fatigue your muscles in 12 reps or less. If you can do 12 reps, it is time to move up to a heavier weight. Remember, quality over quantity.
Fitness Minutes: (75)
64 2/18/13 3:28 P
I agree with what a lot of the other folks are saying here. It's so true; one can exercise all they want but if they are eating too much, the weight won't come off. Are you keeping track of your caloric intake? Do you know how much you need after you have run the numbers? I'm pretty sure there are tools on the site here to help you figure it out. I know that some of the weight loss mentors I follow (e.g. Tom Venuto) suggest one reduces their caloric intake by 15-20% below the daily maintenance level. This will help them drop the pounds.
It's pretty simple. You can exercise all you want, but if you're eating too much, that weight is not going to come off. Remember that as you lose weight, your caloric needs decrease. Cut down on the calories and chances are you'll bust through that plateau.
On a side note: If you have the time and enjoy working out 90 min. a day then by all means stick with it. But I don't think it's really necessary...30-60 min. per day should be enough depending on the workout. Try HIIT (high-intensity interval training).
I do an hour and a half a day.... today 90 minutes swimming crawl.... 20 minutes treading water..
Fitness Minutes: (14,252)
9,689 2/18/13 2:33 P
Muscle gain isn't the culprit here. Muscle gain doesn't happen over days or weeks, and definitely doesn't happen at a calorie deficit.
An hour and a half a day may indeed be too much, though. Are you taking any rest days?
You should not be working the same muscle groups each day; if you do, you end up breaking them down, rather than building them up, because your muscles get stronger on rest days! Have you updated your fitness goals in your sparkpeople range?
What's your current calorie intake, weekly weight loss goal per week, and calorie range? WEight loss is about what you eat, not how you burn your calories (although exercising helps the process immensely.)
Fitness Minutes: (1,099)
63 2/18/13 1:52 P
You're weight has probably stalled due to muscle gain, this is a good possibility since you said you've lost inches. I wouldn't necessarily say and hour and a half is too much, it is a lot, but I do the same. Just mix up your work outs. Make sure you do some core and cardio every day, chest and arms one day, legs another. Switch between the bike, treadmill and row machine - I'll do 1/2 my treadmill workout, hit the bike, hit whatever weights, hit the row machine and finish my treadmill workout. It lets my heart rate get shot up, brought down, shot up again, etc. Mixing it up keeps my body from becoming "routine."
Fitness Minutes: (15,322)
449 2/18/13 1:39 P
I am on a journey to a healthier lifestyle. My husband and I work out about 1.5 hours a day. 45 minutes of cardio (working up a serious sweat) and about 30-45 minutes in the weight room.
My weight seems to have stalled a bit...is it possible I'm working out too hard? I would hate to cut back because my energy level is through the roof and I feel great, not to mention my body is reshaping and I'm losing inches.
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