When it comes to total workout time, less is more.
To create power and develop strength and endurance you want to get in the gym, perform an intense workout, then get out.
No more than 60-minutes max (I actually prefer 30 to 45-minute range).
Certainly, if you want to stretch and foam roll and that takes you over the 60-minutes, I’m cool with that.
Training will naturally boost your testosterone levels significantly higher than normal. This increase peaks around half an hour into your workout.
Eastern Bloc researchers determined through blood samples taken of their athletes, that at 45-minutes you testosterone levels begin returning to normal. 60-minutes in, your body begins to produce less testosterone and more cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that eats muscles tissue and increases body fat storage.
Obviously, we want to avoid this!
Another reason to stop training at 60-minutes is overtraining. Overtraining happens when the volume and intensity exceed your ability to recover properly. Overtraining can lead to fatigue, setbacks, and even injuries.
Each workout I design, I personally test. I can assure you, 30-minutes is plenty of time to yield positive results.
The workouts I have most recently designed are in the 20 to 30-minute range. Do not let the short timeframe of these workouts fool you – these programs are very intense.
You should be at the gym to work. Not talking to friends and watching TV. Always push the pace.
Develop an assassin mindset when it comes to your workout. Get in, be intense, then get out.
Another benefit of shorter sessions is that they allow more frequent training sessions. Shorter workouts allow for a higher intensity to be applied.
Mental focus can wane after the 30-minute mark. It’s much easier to train knowing you’ve got 45-minutes ahead instead of 60-minutes. You can dial in with pinpoint focus and raise the bar each workout. You want to feel like you dominated the workout and not the other way around.
Beyond 45-minutes you begin to lose your steam. I’m sure you can relate this to golf. You know when you are at the range and are getting tired. Your shots start to suck and you lose focus. You pack in the clubs and go grab a beer or relax. You know you will be back tomorrow and be just fine.
Same goes for training. Work too long and you get tired, get sloppy, and lose intensity. We want to avoid this.
Begin your training sessions with a good warm up. A good warm up gets the blood flowing and mind warmed up even on days you don’t feel like doing much. I’m not talking about walking on a treadmill either.
Warm ups should consist of mobility drills, activation exercises, and foam rolling.
Christian Henning, NASM-CPT, gfs, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer