Would it be better to spread my workout into two different shifts, or better to do it all at once?

My focus is to lose fat, gain muscle.

I am 5'11", weight 185 lbs and I'm 26 years old. I currently use Arnold's weight lifting program which I found on the web. Then I do post workout cardio, 45 minutes of elliptical and 15 minutes of treadmill at 3.5 - 4.0 speed.

I'm thinking of doing half the weight lifting in the morning with the full cardio program mentioned above. Then doing the rest of the weight lifting at night with another full cardio program.

2 Answers 2


Idealy you would do the workout all at once, and then spread out your cardio if you enjoy going more than once a day.

The problem with doing the scenario you describe is that depending on the intensity of the workout in the morning, you may be over doing it at night before your body has a chance to repair. This is especially true if your second workout is heavily using the muscles you already damaged earlier in the day. While your muscles may have recovered enough to 'do' the exercises, you might end up over-working them to the point of ineffectiveness.

However if your schedule only leaves you with a few days a week to work out and you want to cover more specific workouts, you can try to pair up antagonist/unused muscle groups in the morning/night. For instance you could do a Back workout in the morning, and instead of doing the common pairing of Back and Biceps (I don't know about you, but my Biceps are quite well used after a Back workout!), you could do Triceps.

If you want to get even more specific in your workouts you could pair true antagonist muscle groups (using their full names) into splitting up workouts into morning and night:

  • Pectorals/latissimus dorsi (pecs and lats)
  • Anterior deltoids/posterior deltoids (front and back shoulder)
  • Trapezius/deltoids (traps and delts)
  • Abdominals/spinal erectors (abs and lower-back : caution here, do abs first!)
  • Left and right external obliques (sides)
  • Quadriceps/hamstrings (quads and hams)
  • Shins/calves
  • Biceps/triceps
  • Forearm flexors/extensors
  • 2
    Also don't split up the cardio to anything shorter than half an hour, your body needs time to get the real fat burning going. So if your keen on doing two workouts, make sure not to skimp on the cardio!
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Mar 14, 2011 at 21:23
  • Ah ha! good addition! Commented Mar 14, 2011 at 21:28
  • Feel free to include it in your answer @Jeff ;-) I don't have anything to add beyond your original answer anyway!
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Mar 14, 2011 at 22:19
  • @Ivo, how much cardio should I do to ensure I'm burning body fat, and not just warming up? Commented Mar 14, 2011 at 22:55
  • I'm looking for a good reference @KerxPhilo, if I haven't added it tomorrow, leave me another comment :-)
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Mar 15, 2011 at 0:38

My recommendation - follows the program you have during the morning sessions and then a little cardio or some hobby at night. The last thing you want to do is burn yourself out and/or get tired and stop exercising all together. To much, to fast is not a good way to approach exercising and your health...work into it, build it up and constantly adjust - it's a life long process.

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