Working out for two hours at a time is extremely demanding. It can be useful to push yourself through a plateau or to prepare for a particular event but should only be undertaken by people with plenty of training experience. It's important to have a clear purpose for training at this intensity and to prepare carefully for it. Make sure you are well-hydrated, that you've eaten sufficient quality calories to support this level of activity and that you will be able to spend some time recovering after the workout is done.
Get Warmed Up
While it's important to warm up before any workout, a two-hour session requires serious preparation. Walk on a treadmill, jump rope or box with a bag for five to 10 minutes. Then do two to three sets of bodyweight movements that mimic the movements you will be using later in the workout to warm up the necessary muscles and practice the movements in advance. Include some light stretching and mobility work to ensure your joints are warmed up and to reduce your risk of injury. Your warm-up should last around 20 minutes.
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Start With Strength
Strength training is highly effective for building lean muscle mass, losing body fat and increasing your overall strength, power and endurance. Once you've completed your warm-up, move onto the weights. This segment of your workout should take around an hour. A whole-body weight workout should be comprised of the following exercises: squats, deadlifts, lunges, calf raises, bench presses, bent-over rows and overhead presses. Do three full sets using weights that allow you to complete at least eight but no more than 12 repetitions of each exercise.
Take A HIIT
Once you've completed your weight training, take a five to 10-minute break. Have some water, let your muscles rest and prepare for some high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is highly effective for burning calories while maintaining (and even boosting) lean muscle mass. Using a skipping rope, treadmill or stationary bike, perform a ladder sequence. Work for 30 seconds, rest for 10. Work for 40 seconds, rest for 20. Work for 50 seconds, rest for 30. Work for 60 seconds, rest for 45. Then, perform the entire sequence again in reverse. This should only take you around 10 minutes but will be a very challenging part of your workout, particularly after your weights session.
Slow Down With Cardio
At this point, you should have completed 90 minutes of your two-hour workout. Your muscles and central nervous system will be very tired, and mentally, you'll be feeling worn out as well. In order to round out your workout, walk or cycle at a moderate pace for 30 minutes. This will help reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol that will have been released during the earlier parts of your workout. It will also give your muscles a chance to cool down and to reduce the likelihood of delayed-onset muscle soreness after your workout.
- CNN: Aerobic Exercise: How To Warm Up and Cool Down
- Better Health Victoria: Resistance Training -- Health Benefits
- International Journal of Obesity: The Effects of High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise Training on Fat Loss and Resting Insulin Levels of Young Women
- Men's Fitness: 5 Ways To Cool Down After A Workout