What Is The Best Workout Length? This May Surprise You...

Published: 02nd July 2010
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Have you ever been daunted by the prospect of having to work out for hours in order to get an amazing physique?

Perhaps you may have fallen for the conventional wisdom that the more time you spend in the gym, the better your muscle gains will be?

Think again. Staying too long in the gym can actually be counterproductive. Short and intense workouts are the way to go if your goal is to maximize your muscle gains. Spending additional time in the gym is not going to provide you with any additional benefits.

Contrary to what you may think, it might end up reducing your muscle gain. Here is the explanation: The body releases a hormone called cortisol after forty five minutes of any form of strenuous exercise. The effect of cortisol is that it breaks down muscle tissue in order to provide additional energy to the body during strenuous activity. As a result, by overtraining you could actually end up losing muscle.

Ideally your workout should last no more than an hour. This does not include the couple minutes of warm up that I usually recommend. Going beyond an hour means compromising the important recovery time. The recovery period is extremely important because this is when muscle growth actually occurs. This is why it is important to sleep at least 8 hours every night, especially on days when you have had an intense workout.

The other benefit of doing short intense workouts is the mental factor. You are much more likely to dread and skip multi-hour workouts whereas you would likely look forward to a shorter one. Doing long workouts is one of the reasons why many get de-motivated and do not stick with the program.

Avoid chit chatting and making small talk while you are in the gym as this tends to drag out the length of your workout. Focus intensely on getting your sets and reps done, and be out. Of course, as I have stated before, having your pen and notebook handy makes this easier as race to check off the list of exercises. Winging it and not having a plan makes it much more difficult. Not only that, you spend your lime less efficiently.

And if those are not enough reasons, when you do long marathon training sessions, you stress out your joints more and increase the likelihood of injury. As you know, all it take is one serious injury to put you out of commission for a while, which could set you back several months in attaining your goals.

Lastly, if you do overly long workouts and you let them take over your life and other activities, you will soon start resenting the workouts and start skipping a session here and there. Of course, this impedes your progress. With short intense sessions you can be in and out of the gym relatively quickly and be free to pursue your activities.

You will be much happier and complete if you also have a life outside of the gym. In summary, short and intense is good. Long and drawn out is bad. No more than an hour (excluding warm up time). Remember this and you will avoid the temptation to get distracted and lose focus when in the gym.

By Don Demarco. Don is an amateur bodybuilder and fitness coach. He shares bodybuilding secrets learned over several years at Men's Workout Heaven Enroll for a FREE Muscle Building course. Visit Men's Workout Videos

Have you been misled by these popular fitness myths? Don debunks them at Men's Workout Heaven

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