The more you train, the bigger you get – right?
In the gym lovers world, we always want more. I have been there. From doing 8-hour arm workouts, to 1000 rep leg day challenges.
Of course, it helps that my gym partner in crime is an athlete, and personal trainer.
Before training with him, I used to do full-body workouts all day, every day. But, as you probably know first-hand I wasn’t seeing results.
Until I trained with him. Within an hour, I was dead. My bones ached, my legs were wobbly. But more importantly, I started seeing results.
Which is why this article was created. Despite the controversy, is there any truth to keeping your intense workouts under an hour?
Through this article, I plan to delve into the science behind muscle growth, and explain exactly why you should keep your gym routines under an hour.
Table of Contents
Myth: Training More Improves Muscle Growth
I used to live by the principle of the more I train, the quicker I will get my Summer body, abs and all. At least, until I started training with a professional coach. Not only did his hour workouts leave me more exhausted then any other workout plan I followed.
But the secret behind it is simple.
Anabolic hormones are responsible for muscle growth, but in order to do this it requires ATP (energy). Catabolic hormones on the other hand chemically transforms glucose into ATP.
Overtraining can lead to more catabolic hormones in your body, which inevitably will lead to next to no results for your sweat. You always want a higher anabolic hormone count in your body. This means you have sufficient fuel to promote muscle growth.
But, that’s just the start. Here are three reasons why you should keep your training under an hour.
Workout Induced Cortisol Is Your Gem To Lean Body Mass And Hypertrophy Exercises
McMaster university, recently did a study on a 12-week training plan. The candidates were kept under a close eye, and at the end of the study it revealed candidates with a higher level of cortisol post-workout were more likely to gain lean body mass (muscle growth).
That’s right. Despite what the guru’s tell you, testosterone is not the secret to developing lean muscle.
Studies do reveal that endurance athletes see their cortisol levels rise over an hour though. So, if you are training for marathons or professional shows, then perhaps training over an hour isn’t so bad.
But, if you are an ordinary joe like me, the cortisol levels is the primary reason why I would say keep your workouts under an hour. Even with your awesome protein shake, pre-pump workout drink, and diet plan.
Here are some great workouts to try out that will leave you sweating it out – all under an hour.
Your Body Eventually Runs Out Of Fuel
Think about it this way, if you are driving your car out and about – the longer you drive, the quicker you will need to fill up on gas. No gas means no more travelling – right?
Your body works the exact same way, kind of.
While training, your body uses glycogen for energy. At max, you can store about 500 grams of glycogen a day. Which is plenty if you keep your workouts to under an hour.
But, as soon as you start “overtraining”, your body is going to run out of glycogen to burn off, which will then force it to start burning muscle for fuel, which is counterproductive.
Here is a tool to help you workout the amount of glycogen/carbs you use up during a workout.
Overtraining Is A Thing – And It’s Terrible For Your Body
I apologize to all the fitness enthusiasts who believe that overtraining is a myth. But the truth is it’s a huge contributor to the success or failure of your fitness exploits.
Think about it. Your body is a machine. When you train, it uses up proteins, carbs, and other nutrients to help you push out those weights. But there is a limit to how much nutrients you have up for grabs.
It’s virtually impossible to overtrain if you are putting in an hour a day. But as soon as your start having two, three or even four hour training sessions, this becomes a huge risk.
Not only will it stagnant your results. But you might also find yourself unable to sleep at night (nightmare!), getting sick frequently, and it can even lead to some serious joint pain.
But that’s not all there is to overtraining.
Even if you are only doing hourly workouts every day.
It’s that horrible word that starts with a D.
If your not seeing results, your diet is one of the most common reasons why. Training every day will do no good if you don’t have a decent diet in place. You need to fuel your body up properly for the training.
If you are not on a high nutrient count diet – you can also risk all training being classified as “over-training”, here are some tips to help you set up a great diet to get you one step closer to your fitness goals.