I'm confused - I should only work out three times a week?

Dear Rocco,

I work out five days a week, doing stretching, push-ups, heavy lifting (well, for me anyway ) and a 30-minute elliptical workout. I'm 43, and at six-foot-four and 205 pounds, I'm slightly over my BMI "average" weight (by five pounds). I never touched a weight prior to three years ago. Since then, I've dropped more than 60 pounds and went from a 42 to a 36 waist. Now I'm starting to work on "bulking" up my mass.

In a download I received from your website, you wrote: "Allow 48 hours rest in between weight-training sessions. This is the approximate time that protein synthesis takes - the mechanism by which your muscles are repaired." I'm confused - I should only work out three times a week?

-Brian

The reason for your confusion is valid. So many fitness professionals throw so much crap at you, it's hard to comprehend. If you're working out five days a week performing all the activities you've stated, then you're definitely doing something wrong. If you're truly doing some heavy lifting, you do need to rest in between workouts ... no matter what the bodybuilding magazines say!

If you feel stretching is beneficial to your workout, keep doing it, but do it after your workout. I, for one, don't believe in stretching if you're going to be working your muscles through their full range of motion.

As for your 30 minutes on the elliptical, do it after your weight workout and cut it down to 20 minutes. Work out on the "hills" setting for two minutes, then go as fast as you can for two minutes, and so on. If you want something to do on the in-between days, go take a yoga or pilates class.

Rocco Castellano is the founder of askROCCO Media, which provides boot camps, seminars and online fitness services at askROCCO.com. He is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine and has written "askROCCO Uncensored v1," available at bookstores everywhere. If you need a daily dose of Rocco, check out his blog at askROCCOblog.com