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Old 07-05-2010, 03:16 PM   #1
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Default W/o time, duration? Facts or fiction?

"Keep your workouts short, 45 minutes is good but under one hour or you will go catabolic!"
"Keep your workouts short and intense!"
"Working out for over one hour will increase your cortisol and be contraproductive!"

And so on, common topics in magazines and on the web ive noticed. Been thinking about this matter for a while, and im curious about your opinions, experiences, references and facts on this subject. Personally i like my workouts around 90 minutes, as for now atleast.

I belive this is nonsense written by lazy people who are afraid of lifting heavy ass weights for hours on.
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Old 07-05-2010, 03:35 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by big_swede View Post
"Keep your workouts short, 45 minutes is good but under one hour or you will go catabolic!"
"Keep your workouts short and intense!"
"Working out for over one hour will increase your cortisol and be contraproductive!"


And so on, common topics in magazines and on the web ive noticed. Been thinking about this matter for a while, and im curious about your opinions, experiences, references and facts on this subject. Personally i like my workouts around 90 minutes, as for now atleast.

I belive this is nonsense written by lazy people who are afraid of lifting heavy ass weights for hours on.
I have no problem with these statements. I think though it all depends on your pace. If you're resting well between sets, of course your time in the gym will be longer, but the intensity level of the workout may be low enough to negate any of the negative factors attributed to a lengthy workout. I guess you need to separate time spent training from time spent in the gym. They may be two different numbers. For me personally, I give it what I have budgeted for it. I'm not saying that my life is more complicated or busy than anyone else. I very rarely have much more time available than 90 minutes from the time I leave home to the time I return. Just a fact of my life.

If the marathon sessions work for you, you'll get no argument from me. I just prefer to not be there. I generally lose focus after 45 - 60 minutes of lifting anyway.
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Old 07-05-2010, 03:38 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by big_swede View Post
"Keep your workouts short, 45 minutes is good but under one hour or you will go catabolic!"
"Keep your workouts short and intense!"
"Working out for over one hour will increase your cortisol and be contraproductive!"

And so on, common topics in magazines and on the web ive noticed. Been thinking about this matter for a while, and im curious about your opinions, experiences, references and facts on this subject. Personally i like my workouts around 90 minutes, as for now atleast.

I believe this is nonsense written by lazy people who are afraid of lifting heavy ass weights for hours on.
I generally recommend an hour for most beginners because:

A) They really don't need more. And if you give them an inch, they'll take a yard.

B) If they can't destroy their muscles in an hour, as beginners, then they need to step up in general and more volume generally won't help.

There is evidence that training over an hour is counterproductive for some (or many naturals). Young lifters can surely get away with more because of high test levels. And older, conditioned lifters play by their own set of rules.

I suggest taking a look at this article by Casey Butt. Few are more educated on the subject of natural training.

The WeighTrainer - The Rules of Productive Weight Training for The Drug-Free Trainee

Here is his take:

Quote:
Rule #6: Keep Your Workouts To An Hour Or Less, Most Of The Time

This could become a very "scientific" rule, filling an entire article itself. But I'm going to try to keep it brief and simple. Testosterone levels (the body's main anabolic hormone) start to decline after about 45 to 60 minutes of intense weight training and catabolic (muscle destroying) hormones such as cortisol start to increase. This signals the point at which training is theoretically thought to begin losing it's effectiveness. In other words, based on the average person's hormonal response to training, it would seem that you'd be better off leaving the gym after about an hour and resting for your next workout because you're not going to stimulate any significant degree of additional muscle growth by training longer anyway. In addition, prolonged training requires the adrenal glands to produce elevated levels of epinephrine, cortisol and aldosterone. Over time, excessive training results in decreased adrenergic receptor sensitivity (making fat loss difficult and fat gain easier) and adrenal fatigue (as evidenced by fluctuating average daily body temperatures, decreasing blood pressure, low energy, joint pain and muscle loss). In short, your muscle gains will stop and you'll start getting fatter and feeling "run down". This probably won't happen in a few weeks, but over time adrenergic receptor down-regulation and adrenal fatigue due to overtraining (and psychological stress, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, etc.) is a large reason why many drug-free trainees keep working harder but get less in return. If you've had a life-long tendency to be fat and weak then you're especially at risk of this. As an advanced trainee you'll know where your personal limits are based on experience, but for beginners and intermediates that instinct hasn't been developed and they're best off just keeping the training session to about an hour or less.

So, unless you're advanced enough to reliably make the call yourself or are doing some sort of short-term, higher volume training routine for a few weeks (or months at the most), then most of your workouts should be one hour or less. For the vast majority of genetically typical trainees longer training routines, in the long run, are not more effective at building muscle and will most likely hold progress back. For intermediates longer routines are only useful for limited periods as part of weight loss phases or deliberately planned higher-volume phases (especially applicable to very advanced athletes). Practically all modern natural bodybuilding champions obey this guideline. Unless you are very genetically gifted (less than 1% of the population), 90% of your muscle mass will be built by hard workouts of about an hour or less.

If you do have the time and energy to devote yourself almost completely to bodybuilding, don't participate in any strenuous work or sports, then you may be able to push some of your training sessions to more than an hour. To do it successfully will require a very keen sense of your own recovery abilities (i.e. you're an experienced lifter) and the diet of a king. That's right, one of the very often overlooked aspects of hard training is a hearty diet to go with it. Don't think you can hit the heavy iron for an hour and a half or more and get away with eating like a mouse. One of the necessities of hard training is a big appetite. Big weights = big feeds. There's no way around it. Train like a maniac and eat like a bird and you'll burn out in no time. Eat like a pig and train like a wimp and you'll get fat. The two - heavy training and heavy eating - feed each other, so to speak, and one without the other just won't work.

But in any case, you must remember that weight training is not an endurance event. If you want endurance go for a jog. And how many big, muscular long-distance runners do you know? I'll guess again. None. Why? Because endurance training (such as jogging, cardio, weight training for long sessions) doesn't build muscle. Beginners - no more than an hour. Intermediates - no more than an hour unless you're trying to lose weight and know when to say when. Advanced - if you've a keen sense of your body's abilities you can try pushing it to 1:30 or so, but make sure you've got the food intake, rest and down-time to support that level of training. If all your ducks aren't in perfect line then it's an hour for you too. As Bob Hoffman would say, "Even the smallest hole will sink the largest ship eventually."

At least 95% of the people reading this should be working out for an hour or less, 95% of the time. You've got 60 minutes to send your body the signal to grow. Don't waste time on crap exercises. Lift the big weights and go home and eat something. That's how strong, impressive drug-free bodies are built, not loafing around the gym half the day, sitting on every useless exercise machine there, and deluding yourself into thinking you're working hard.
I am on the fence on this issue. I really don't see any point in workouts longer than 75 minutes. My philosophy always will be, if you can't kill yourself in that amount of time, you need to step it up.

I think a general guideline is that if you haven't mastered muscle building, volume is pointless.

Intermediate and advanced lifters already know what works for them, so if they want to live in the gym...have at it. The old schoolers didn't start trainees off on mega-sessions. So when we read about Hepburn or Grimek marathons, remember that they didn't run out the gate training like this, and probably wouldn't recommend it for a beginner.

Casey DOES NOT place this limit on advanced lifters. And he does not throw it down as a be-all, end-all for everyone.

Now steroid users play a different ball game. They need volume to stimulate receptors.
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Old 07-05-2010, 03:45 PM   #4
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Thanks guys, and btb that was great reading! Will try to shorten it down a bit just to see what happens over a period of time.
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Old 07-05-2010, 03:48 PM   #5
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Thanks guys, and btb that was great reading! Will try to shorten it down a bit just to see what happens over a period of time.
Well, you're training hard, and obviously you know how to add muscle. So don't necessarily rush out and train less.

My main caution is always to beginners who want to train chest 7 times a day, or do 2.5 hour bicep marathons.
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Old 07-05-2010, 04:00 PM   #6
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I can't think of any reason to train longer then one hour.
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Old 07-05-2010, 04:01 PM   #7
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Well, you're training hard, and obviously you know how to add muscle. So don't necessarily rush out and train less.

My main caution is always to beginners who want to train chest 7 times a day, or do 2.5 hour bicep marathons.
Yes i see your point. Im gaining with my way, strength and mass, but maybe i could gain even more by shortening it down? Worth a try! Will develop this thought into action i think, in a suitable way =)
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Old 07-05-2010, 04:08 PM   #8
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Yes i see your point. Im gaining with my way, strength and mass, but maybe i could gain even more by shortening it down? Worth a try! Will develop this thought into action i think, in a suitable way =)
You could possibly shorten the workouts more and see improvements. It doesn't hurt to try. I trained about 75 minutes per workout my first 2 years and made amazing gains. I train about 50 minutes per workout now and make great strength gains.

I would start by watching time between sets. Not sure if you do this currently, but try to limit time between sets on non-major (squats, deadlifts, bench) exercises to 90 to 120 seconds.

You have been making amazing strength gains. So you could cut back a bit for severla months and see how it treats you. Never hurts to experiment.
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Old 07-05-2010, 04:09 PM   #9
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My workouts vary from 45mins to 1.5 hours, and for the most part my numbers keep rising.
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Old 07-05-2010, 04:12 PM   #10
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My workouts vary from 45mins to 1.5 hours, and for the most part my numbers keep rising.
As they say, don't fix it if it isn't broken.
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