July 20, 2015
How Long Should You Workout?
One question I get asked a lot is how long my workouts are and people are often shocked by the answer. Folks think I must spend all day in the gym. Well, I actually do; as a personal trainer the gym is my second home but when it comes to my time I'm never working out for more than 45 minutes. True story. Ok maybe a little over an hour when you take into account my pre-workout foam rolling, activations and stretching after the workout. This wasn't always the case. There was a time when I really believed that more was more. If I worked more I'd get more results faster. Makes sense right? I remember in my mad quest to get competition ready a few years ago spending hours in the gym. I'd maybe do an hour of cardio then another hour of weights. And I'd do that as often as I possibility could. And then I wondered why my extreme fatigue wasn't paying off in gains. Legendary strength coach Charles Poliquin has cited numerous studies and personal experiences as keeping workout to less than 45 minutes to keep a favourable androgens to cortisol levels. When a workout lasts more than 60 minutes your body's cortisol (stress hormone) levels rise leaving your body overly stressed which is never good for either fat loss or muscle gain. A very important point to remember is the magic doesn't happen when you're working out -- it happens during recovery. Poliquin mentions that if you are on mega beast mode 2 1-hour workouts in a day are way better than 1 2-hour workout. Cardio, if you do it (I rarely do) is best when it's HIIT; Short, fast and intense. And is best done on a day when you aren't lifting. This is how a typical strength training workout goes down for me: Foam rolling: 5 to 15 minutes Activations: 5 to 10 minutes Workout: 45 minutes (about 5 lifts) Stretching: 5 to 10 minutes So stop wasting so much time and get effective.