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I have been going to the gym for almost 3 months now, focusing on gaining size. I have been going 5 nights per week (Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) and have noticed good gains, especially in my arms, chest, back and legs. I have gained roughly 4kg, bringing me to 70kg (154 pounds).

I haven't made major changes to what I eat, though I have been making the effort to have breakfast every day (previously didn't) and have invested heavily in high quality proteins such as Utilmate ISO Mass Xtreme Gainer. With that said, I do get at least a large serving of vegetables per day and don't eat anything obviously bad (like fast food, chips, chocolates, etc).

I also haven't done much cardio, because from what I've read or heard that will reduce my gains.

I'm putting all that I can into my goal which is to get quite big and then next year this time shred down. I want to go as far as I possibly can to gain quickly and effectively, so I've thought about going to the gym twice per day now. What I have realized though is I don't know what I should do in the mornings; whether it's some type of pure strength building workouts (like cross-fit style aimed purely at getting stronger), cardio and core, or just more weight lifting.

The latter seems most appealing for my goal, but I'm not confident that lifting weights twice per day will be beneficial. I'm also finding it hard to include a morning weight session in my weekly routine without getting the feeling that I'm just going to wear myself out for that night, or the next day.

Pure strength training sounds more appealing because I figure that will lead to me being able to lift heavier and thus gain more quickly, but I'm not sure if that's how that works either. A lot of the strength training stuff also seems quite cardio heavy and again I don't want to take away from my gains.

Is it worthwhile going to the gym twice per day, or even just going in the morning two or three times per week? If so, what can I do there to best compliment my goal of getting big? I was also wondering if I could even just do cardio and core (to get abs as well) without affecting my gains too much, considering I will still be doing those weight sessions as per current 5 times each week.

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Sort of similar to this fitness.stackexchange.com/q/8131/3778 –  FredrikD Oct 30 '12 at 7:34
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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Training more do not necessarily give more gains. You don't gain mass DURING the training, you gain when you rest AFTER the training.

When working out, regardless what type of training, your cortisol levels will rise. Cortisol is a hormone which is released during stress. Among other it will reduce protein synthesis and prevents muscle growth. When you rest, cortisol levels will slowly drop down to normal and your body will again be able to rebuild you muscles.

If you just constantly adding more exercise your cortisol levels won't go back down to a normal level, and you will not be able to gain mass. If this is maintained for a prolonged time you will move into overreaching, where cortisol levels are chronically high. This will affect your overall health and can take months to come out of.

A dead giveaway for this is when adding more then one workout per day. Here we are moving into elite athlete land. Full time athletes usually train more then once a day, and seem to be doing fine with that, right? But consider they are doing QUALITY rest between workouts (no work to go to), they have a physician who monitors their health on a weekly basis and they have ramped up training for several years (overreaching is also quite common and injuries is going to happen sooner or later).

So, stick to your 5 times per week. Do moderate or no cardio. And monitor your weights closely, to stand still for a week or two is normal. Standing still or even decreasing your weights for several weeks, then you need to pull back and rest more.

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+1 for the monitoring. Besides monitoring weight, monitoring "energy level" is also essential. –  FredrikD Oct 30 '12 at 12:45
    
Thanks for this answer, I've done several hours of reading on Cortisol and can see why I should stick to one workout session per day max (or at least one workout session to 6+ hours of sleep). Appreciate it! –  Marty Oct 30 '12 at 22:08
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It's awesome that you've been able to make regular exercise a habit bro! Just don't over do it. You actually grow when you rest so you must leave time for that. otherwise you run the risk of inhibiting gains due to exhaustion and over training.

If your dead set on working out in the mornings it can be done, but I would make the morning workout the hard balls out session and then come back in the evening on my way home from work and just run through a set or two of burnouts on the same muscles worked that morning or if you did chest and shoulders or something doing rotators that evening is a great way to get your rotator workouts in. I think core and cardio is a good morning workout too. I know you're afraid to loose gains through cardio, but some light cardio a few times a week will keep you conditioned for when it comes time to cut and you have to crank up the cardio. Also, since you'll be burning more calories you can increase your food intake to compensate which means more nutrients for your muscles :)

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