What’s the Ideal Workout Duration?

What I want to talk about today is How long should I train per workout? and basically What is the ideal workout duration that allows me to build muscle faster?

I think there is a little bit of ignorance around this concept, I don't mean it in a bad way, I just mean that most people don't really know.

Sometimes I show my workout routine to my buddies and they're all surprised and say Oh really? That's all you do?

My workouts are usually pretty short, always under 1 hour.

I know many people that stay at the gym for 1.5 or 2 hours. That's their idea of ideal workout duration, which is insane.

Insane and useless.

Really, I arrive when they've already done 5/6 sets, I do my workout and when I finish my shower and go out...

...they're still lifting weights!

Ideal Workout Duration: Keep it Short!

ClockAll I do per workout can be summarized in 12/14 sets, max.

I currently split my workout into 3 sessions per week. For example today I did:

  • 6 sets for chest
  • 4 sets for shoulders
  • 4 sets for triceps

...for a total of...14 sets.

I start with chest workout because it's the bigger muscle and I want to have full energy when I do it.

When you work out your chest there is always some shoulders and triceps workout involved, which allows me to do only 4 sets for each of those specific muscles.

Short Trainings Are More Fun

Let me ask you a question: who wants to go to the gym and start a 2 pages routine that has 30 sets or more to do in one day?

You have to be kidding me!

When I was young and ignorant (meaning that I ignored many things) I made that mistake. I thought I am gonna work out for 2 hours every day and build huge muscles in 3 months!

Yeah, the result was that after 3 months I quit going to the gym.

Yes...I quit.

I was too tired all the time, I was overwhelmed...in two words I was: over trained.

No muscle gains, frustrated, tired and...going to the gym was a nightmare.

Man, you have to keep your workout fun, otherwise you don't enjoy it any more. It becomes a job, or a boot camp when it is supposed to be fun instead.

Not mentioning how your joints will suffer in the future for that...

You are wondering why I didn't make my workouts shorter, I know!

Well the truth is that I didn't know, nobody told me how the body works.

I just thought that if I had to train less then I wouldn't see any results anyway.

Later I changed strategy and I started to see results, big muscle gains, and after 10 years now I still love to go to the gym.

Ideal Workout Duration: Keep an Eye on Testosterone

This is some very useful info. When you start lifting weights your body starts producing more testosterone and human growth hormone (HGH).

After 45 minutes your body stops producing testosterone and HGH and starts producing cortisol instead.

Testosterone and HGH are anabolic hormones while cortisol is a catabolic hormone.

Cortisol will "eat your muscle" and you really want to stay away from that.

Why is Cortisol so Bad?

If you train your body for too long you put it under lots of stress and it just can't keep up with it.

Your body will say "Hey, I need more energy, I can't burn fat and carbos that fast, I need to take energy from the muscles", and you end up burning the muscle that you built with so much patience and heavy work.


I think many people have this misconception that the longer you train the better, but it's really the opposite...unless you're on steroids.

If you take steroids well, you can work out from sunrise to sunset, and you don't care about cortisol.

You just go home and take a shot of testosterone and you fix the problem.

But for people like me, and I hope like you, that do everything natural, you really have to look at the clock.

Ideal Workout Duration: The Numbers

When you hit 45 minutes the bell should ring and you should go home and rest.

So yeah, the ideal workout duration is 30 minutes, 45 at the most.

It's better to split your routine into more short sessions than fewer longer sessions.

Alright, now that you learned what the ideal workout duration should be go to your gym and spread the word.

Don't worry about what they, now you know how to take advantage of your hormones and are ready to make big muscle gains!

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