Working out an hour-long will negatively affect our hormones and limit our progress; that is what most people believe.
Others say that there is no need to worry so much about overtraining because the more time you train, the faster you’ll progress.
What should you do?
In this article, we’ll go over exactly how long should you workout each day to build muscle or lose weight? And that’s not only my personal opinion, but it’s backed by scientific research and evidence.
How Long Should I Workout a Day?
Generally, the average 45 to 90 minutes of workout a day is sufficient for most trainees.
But, what is the best workout length?
Most people believe it’s 45 minutes.
Because after about 45 minutes, our body starts dropping testosterone levels while increasing the cortisol level, leading to muscle loss and increased body fat.
However, researchers don’t find enough evidence that suggests exercise-induced hormones can lead to more muscle gains.
So, it does not make sense to looking for the 45-minute mark for getting out of the gym to stop cortisol releases in the body.
Your workout length is dependent mainly on the workout program you’re following.
For example, if you’re doing a total body split, it will probably take longer than the Bro split workout routine, where you train any specific body part (like chest) in a day.
So, let’s move into what should be your workout length for achieving any specific goal.
To Stay Healthy
A study published in the HHS Public Access recommends performing about 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week to maintain and improve overall health.
And that could be aerobic exercise, bodyweight moves, weight lifting, or the combination of them.
So, to maintain a healthy fitness level, our aim should be to work out at least 150 minutes per week. We can achieve this by doing 30-45 minutes of exercise 3-5 days a week.
To Build Muscle
First of all, it doesn’t seem necessary to train for 2 hours or more to build muscle.
In the beginning, working out for about 30-45 minutes, 3-4 days a week, is enough to get results.
After gathering some exercise experience, try to hit every muscle group at least twice a week with a 5-6 times a week workout schedule to speed up your progress.
Because multiple studies show that increasing training frequency, intensity, and volume will lead to more significant muscle growth. (1, 2)
Related: How Long Does It Take to Build Muscle?
As I said before, when you’re following a total body split, you’ll need more time to complete your workout than the Bro split.
For example, when you hit the upper body in a total body split, generally, you need about 60-75 minutes to complete it, while training any particular part can be done in 45 minutes.
So, rather than focusing on workout length, you should increase the training intensity to maximize your workout results.
Related: Top 5 Proven Ways Increase Muscle Size FAST
To Lose Weight
Generally, 30 minutes of challenging physical activity every day is sufficient to get in shape.
If we want to lose weight, increasing training duration like 45-60 minutes can be effective in burning more calories.
However, a study published in the American Journal of Physiology found that the average overweight man doing 30 minutes of intensive training every day loses the same amount of weight as training 60 minutes daily.
So, to lose weight, our main aim should be to take a calorie deficit diet rather than workout duration and frequency.
Because we all know that the fundamental of losing weight is to “burn more calories than you take in.”
You can follow a workout split like 3-4 days of cardio exercise for about 30-45 minutes along with 2-3 days of weight training to lose weight
This means you need to exercise about 200-250 minutes a week to promote significant weight loss, according to a 2013 study.
Related: How Many Times Per Week Should You Do Cardio?
However, in the end, losing weight is more likely to do with your diet rather than your training. So, keep your calorie intake in check while staying consistent with your training.
How long should a full body workout take?
When you’re doing a full-body workout, it usually takes a longer time than training a single body part.
Generally, a full-body workout routine, 6-8 exercises with three sets of 8-12 reps, takes about 45-60 minutes to finishes off.
However, when you are training at a higher intensity for muscle hypertrophy, it can go a little longer than that.
And it’s reasonable because you need a longer rest time in between high-intensity sets.
Can too much exercise decrease testosterone?
It’s a common belief that “working out too long can lead to lower testosterone levels.”
Is this true?
Basically, when we work out, our body naturally boosts testosterone levels, which is supposed to improve performance, help in gaining muscle and burn fat.
After around 45 minutes, our body starts dropping testosterone levels while increasing cortisol levels, putting our body into the catabolic stage.
The catabolic mode is when our body starts using muscle tissues as a primary energy source and starts storing more fat.
So, it seems that 45 minutes may be the best time to get off the workout, and something more than that can minimize our workout results.
But is there any truth behind this?
After reviewing many studies, researchers concluded that there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that exercise-induced hormones like testosterone, growth hormones and cortisol will lead to more muscle growth.
Even if there any positive effect, studies found that it’s very minimal.
Summary: Exercising for 45 minutes, one hour, or even one and a half hours will not have a significant adverse effect on your results. All you need to focus on is the quality of your workout rather than length.
Whether you’re working out for 45 minutes, 60 minutes, or 90 minutes, all times are correct as long as you focus on your training intensity.
Now I want to know, would you follow a Bro split or full-body workout routine?
And how long are your previous training length?
Let me know by commenting below. I would love to hear from you!
Read Next: How Many Times a Week Should You Workout?