If you read my last post, I mentioned about the current wave of offers to entice you to join the gym. Hopefully, I helped you to get some clarity as to whether joining the gym is the right thing for you to do. So if you are at the gym, here are a few pointers to help you in the right direction.
The body is great at adapting. It is what we are best at. With the correct level of stress and recovery, your body is quite remarkable at adapting to most things thrown at it. Where we suffer or don't hit goals is we don't use the correct amount of stress or we don't use the correct amount of recovery.
In this example, exercise is the main stressor. If you are a cardio person, the main stressor will be the length of your workout time and the intensity you work at. You want some stress, but unless you are training for an event which requires long distance work, you don't need to do cardio for an hour in the gym. If you perform a workout several times per week, the total time you spend in the gym can get shorter. If you run twice a week, you might want to do 20-40 mins. If you train more than this, I would suggest you do 10-20 mins of continuous work. You might be asking what do you do for the remainder? Weight's circuits, warming up and some trunk/core work would be best.
If pure weights are your thing, recovery is the key here. It's difficult to over exert yourself in a weights session as you're limited by how much you can lift. However, what you need to take into consideration is when you next train that muscle and how hard you train it. When I used to train at Crystal Palace with powerlifters and GB athletes, they trained 5+ days per week. However, they had lighter sessions as part of their programme. A concept alien to most guys in the gym. This only really applies if you train more than twice a week. Aim for a day off in between tough workouts. Some of my clients train twice a day so it is possible to train with weights many times in the week. However, you need to ensure that you don't do two mammoth sessions back to back. In fact, you will find that your lighter sessions help you get bigger and stronger. Particularly if you work on mobility and weaknesses. The hardest thing will be reining in our ego and not caring about others judging what you are lifting.