Splitting Workouts

Over the summer I got really used to working out for about 60-70 minutes hardcore cardio before I started bar prep everyday.

Unfortunately this was okay over summer where I had no schedule other than studying but now that I’m actually a productive member of society AND a slugabed I find myself rushing in for 30 minutes in the morning and then getting another 40-50 in at night.

Is splitting one’s workout as effective as doing it altogether? I hear conflicting views on this…some people say yes (i.e. I read it in the Time magazine summer issue about how all Americans are fat blah de blah) but I’ve heard that fat burning only kicks in after 20-25 minutes so the longer you go in one session is best.

I suppose I could work out more at night but I would prefer to do it in the morning if only for the reason that the longer I go in the morning the more energy I have for the rest of the day and for some unknown reason I feel like only morning workouts are really effective for me.

The solution for this might just be hanging up on my BF and getting up earlier but I’m curious if anyone has any opinions on the fitness aspect of splitting workouts (I know there are other gym bunnies on here)

Also before anyone lectures me…yes I do weight train 2-3 times a week as well.

My humble opinion is that if the alternative is no workout because you can’t make it fit in your schedule, it’s what you ought to do.

Since I’m assuming you’re not an elite Olympic athlete, any lessening in effectiveness in splitting a workout (if there is one, I don’t know) is probably not enough to worry about.

I thought 15 to 20 minutes was the fat-burning point. Damn.

As to your question, if you DO burn fat at 15-20 minutes, then you’re fine. But at any rate, some workout is better than no workout. You’re still moving, and there’s always some benefit to that (even if it’s not fat burning).

That is why (other than a brief warm up) I do my weight training before my cardio. That way I get to the fat burning stage quicker in the cardio since I’ve been expending energy lifting weights. It also means I’m able to lift a bit more because I’m less worn out.

My opinion is that for cardiovascular fitness, getting the duration to 30 minutes or longer is key. Fat vs. glycogen metabolism is something that I don’t notice kicking in on me until much longer, but maybe because I’ve never been well-trained for fat metabolism - usually my longest intensity would be ~2 hours (for which I have glycogen stores), and anything longer than that and I’m consuming calories along the way for replenishment.

The real reason to push the duration beyond an hour, again in my opinion, is to train specifically for longer duration events or sports-specific efficiency. If one is trying to increase the mileage of their longest run/bike/etc. then that will only come by getting out beyond that 60-90 minute comfort zone and really finding one’s rhythm.

If one is trying for fitness, toning, fat-burn, then split workouts could be great. Each can be done more intensely, which improves their effectiveness, and they can even be tailored for different purposes - say lower-intensity recovery in the AM and anaerobic intervals in the PM. To the OP, it would still be nice to have at least one longer workout, as you seem to indicate as well, since you’re putting in so much time per week anyway.

You didn’t mention what your goals are, and what level of training you’ve done in the past, and how much information you’re getting from your body in the way of feedback. Hope this helps, but sorry if it’s too general for your situation.

I have no goals for endurance triathlons, marathons etc…

My only goal is to not get a fat ass again since I just lost my lawschool based Cheetos + breakup of engagement pudge. Which I actually lost TWO times in lawschool alone but final exams always brought back Cheetos excess resulting in weight gain. This is the last freaking time I want to lose all that weight and since I actually have a normal working schedule rather than a homework + final exam schedule I feel that this time I have no excuse to let the weight creep on by the end of the semester (which no longer exist for me).

So to that end my only goal is keeping myself in my size 4 jeans. And yeah yeah yeah, I definitely have stopped eating the Cheetos and eat three small meals a day and no snacking which was probably a big part of the weight loss anyway and that’s stayed constant since the job started. The only thing that’s changed is that I now split my time.

I guess I just FEEL (maybe illogically which is why I’m asking for Doper opinions :)) that going for 60-70 minutes in ONE single go means that my weight will stay down rather than 30 in the morning and 40-50 at night and that’s based entirely on the fact that after 60-70 minutes I’m exhausted in a way that I’m not exhausted with this split schedule (although by the end I am really just going through the motions).

I had a personal trainer over the summer to kick the last ten pounds and we did mostly free weights, elastics that type of stuff…I found a Denise Austin video that replicates my old workouts with her and so I bought the same equipment and just increase the tension/weights about every month. I’m stopping once I hit about 10 pounds, though.

Oh, as far as my history goes

uhhh, field hockey player for a long time which was the only exercise I got up to college.

No exercising in college beyond constant walking which kept my weight down

Post-college I’ve spent an hour or more on cardio at the gym except for the three years of grad school where my commitment varied depending on my schedule and need to study.

So I’ve been a gym rat for a while, basically. I just started seriously doing the tension/weight training over the summer based on my interaction with my personal trainer, though.

Either one long workout or 2 split workouts should be good. You may burn more fat in one long 60-70 minute workout, but as you noted the intensity falls off near the end. You’ll probably get more training in 2 short workouts, and it will keep your metabolism high for more of the day - it usually stays high, and suppresses appetite, for several hours post-workout.

With the amount of work you are doing, you might consider getting out for some running too, unless you know that this doesn’t work for you.

And keep up the great work - you’ve certainly motivated me to put in a longer run today (after the kids go to bed). :slight_smile:

Splittting work outs can be more effective then doing everything at once. And if you are doing both cardio and lifting weights for weight loss you’re already ahead of the game. Exhaustion is not a reliable indicator for fat loss nor for muscle growth – although you might be able to boost the intensity if you don’t feel fatigued.

We learned about the fat-burning point in med school physiology, and like most things to do with exercise too much has been made about it. The real key is not to focus on a minimum time (interval running for short periods of time is effective for fat loss, although below 15-30 minutes), nor to view exercise as carte blanche to eat whatever you want, but to eat fewer Cheetos less often. Many experts suggest eating five or six smaller meals a day – I’ve tried this and it certainly reduces the urge to snack on crap. If you take your main meal an hour or so after you exercise, so much the better.

That’s freeking brilliant. That’s the way for me to go. Thanks!

Funny - I’m exactly the opposite if I’m doing both cardio and weights. :slight_smile:

Cardio gets me warm and the blood moving, so my stretching is more effective and less likely to pull something, and I tend to recover really fast from aerobic work. Then, I just use whatever time is left to hit the weights, and at the end of the weight routine I’ll be beat.

It’s interesting how each person’s body requires and responds well to different stressors - I guess that’s why listening to your own feedback is the most important aspect of long-term success. You’ll often hear the phrase that we are each an “Experiment of One.”