What happens when you train for more than an hour?
If you read fitness websites, magazines, or often discuss bodybuilding with friends, you’ve probably heard that an hour is the longest amount of time you can spend training at the gym.
It’s not a surprise because almost two decades ago, this lie was popularized around the world — and some people still believe in it today.
Moreover, some folks started to think that to endure workouts surpassing the one-hour mark, a person has to use steroids, be genetically gifted, or be a long-time fitness “professional.”
However, none of these “facts” are real because they are mostly backed by general thinking rather than science.
Another thing that popularized the one-hour workout myth is the misunderstanding of cortisol, a catabolic hormone whose levels increases when people train for an extended period.
Too much of cortisol creates a catabolic state, which is the opposite of an anabolic state. When your body is in an anabolic state, it means it is primed for growth. However, when cortisol makes an appearance, it breaks things down for energy.
For instance, an anabolic environment skyrockets by producing more testosterone and results in faster muscle growth and fat burning.
Also, if you want your body to be in an anabolic state as often as possible you should try to get enough sleep, eat healthy, and exercise.
Another reason about why long workouts aren’t as harmful as gurus make them out to be is the fact that cortisol levels depend on the intensity of your training.
For instance, you can do high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for 30 minutes and boost your cortisol levels more than a 90-minute long mediocre training session.
Furthermore, testosterone levels increase by training hard and for an extended time period, so it negates the negative effects of cortisol of slower muscle growth and fat loss.
So, questions like “how long do you train?” aren’t completely right because some people rest longer between sets and use lighter weights.
That means that even if they spend more time in the gym, they achieve less by wasting more time.
For example, while famous actor, Sylvester Stallone, was training for Rocky, he spent up to five hours building his physique and training for boxing.
But Stallone is still alive and looks a lot better than most people his age, and because of his hard work, he became rich and famous around the world.
The bodybuilding legends of yesteryear trained up to five hours a day in order to build the physiques that popularized bodybuilding. Arnold, especially, favored long workouts; training twice a day — morning and late afternoon.
Of course, not everyone should train five hours a day, but it’s enough to realize that if you want to become stronger and more muscular, you need to train hard and most often for longer than an hour.
The key is to know what and how to do, learn more about fitness, and try new things.
So, if you train for an hour a day because you’ve heard that it’s the best solution to improve, don’t be afraid to increase the amount of time you train and try something new.
This will allow you to keep bodybuilding enjoyable as well as help to find the best way to achieve your goals.