How long should you train at the gym in order to get the best possible anabolic response from your body? Is it better to work out an hour or for 3? Are 30-minute sessions too little?
This is a very important issue, and ignoring the precise answer to the question above can lead to many mistakes that may jeopardize your efforts to increase your muscle mass.
In this video, I will try to explain as clearly as possible how long your training sessions should be.
There are various points to take into account before determining your ideal workout length:
After 45-60 minutes training, the levels of anabolic hormones start dropping while the levels of cortisol (catabolic hormone) rise. This results in loss of muscle mass.
Training for too long over-exercises the muscles, deriving in overly slow muscle recovery and diminished muscle grow. If your genetic structure is the one of a skinny guy like me, it can be even worse. All this, without taking into account cortisol increase, nor damage to other body systems, like the nervous and immune systems.
Sessions that are too short don’t give the body enough reasons to grow muscle.
Minimizing the rest time between exercise sets maximizes the production of testosterone and growth hormones, because it increases the workout’s intensity. As I’ve already mentioned, these hormones make muscles grow faster and easier.
Resting for too long between exercises and sets (which can frequently happen when we start chatting too much at the gym) decreases the intensity of your session, lowering the amount of anabolic hormones produced by the body as a result of exercise.
Keeping all this in mind, I will now teach you the 2 basic rules that will help keep your training session at its exact length:
Rule #1: If you are training for more than 1 hour, this means you are either a) overtraining, or b) resting for too long in between exercises. Try shortening these breaks. Remember that your main aim when hitting the gym is to train, not to chat. This is where your true commitment to the objective, muscle growth, becomes noticeable.
If after following these guidelines your training time is still over 1 hour, you’re doing too many sets or too many exercises. Either reduce the quantity of sets, or of exercises.
Rule #2: If your training session lasts less than 30 minutes, you are not doing enough exercises and/or not enough sets per exercise.
As you can see, Rule #1 will prevent you from over training, and at the same time it will maximize your workouts’ intensity, promoting your body’s hormonal response.
Rule #2 prevents you from training too little, causing your muscle growth to be below your potential.
To round up, we can conclude that the ideal training time is between 40 and 60 minutes. Naturally, you will not be seriously affected if you exceed this time limit by 5 or 10 minutes, but keep your sessions within this general rule.
Always remember that to maximize muscle growth, your training sessions should be as intense as possible. That is, if your aim is to repeat the same exercise 12 times, do so with as much weight as possible, and reduce the resting time between sets and exercises.
I hope to have cleared your doubts about the ideal workout length. I know these tips will come in handy, because they have helped a skinny person like me fight against my genes and gain more than 44 pounds of muscle!
Until next time!