How long do your workouts last? Are you of the belief that the longer the better? Are you in there 60 minutes, 90 minutes, or longer? If you are, you might want to reconsider.
Hormones Levels are Correlated with Workout Time
Unless you enjoy spending all your time in the gym, you should consider cutting down on your workout time. Focus more on the quality of your workouts instead of the quantity. The longer your workout goes, the greater the increase in negative side effects. What are these side effects?
- Decreased testosterone production – here are 7 ways to increase testosterone production
- Decreased growth hormone levels – here’s how to boost growth hormone levels
- Increased cortisol production
- Increased risk for injury
- Increased risk for over-training
- Less time being spent with family and friends
Take a close look at the following 2 charts. You can see that the good hormones (testosterone and growth hormone) that are responsible for building muscle and burning fat, continue to rise until about the 30-45 minutes mark. Cortisol, which is released in response to stress, begins to rise after about 30 minutes.
10 Ways to Speed Up Your Workout
Based on data collected on hormonal responses and workout times, we should be keeping our workouts under 45 minutes. Here are 10 things you can do to get you in and out of the gym faster.
- Cut down on rest time between sets – if you typically finish a set and then sit there and wait until you’re ready for your next set, you might want to consider investing in an interval timer. It’s very easy for our rest times to get out of control.
- Try HIIT training (High Intensity Interval Training) – no other workout method is as effective at building muscle and burning fat in 20 minutes or less than HIIT. The great news is you don’t need a gym to do it. Read more about HIIT and see some sample workouts.
- Stop watching the TV – most gyms have TVs on while you work out. If you’re resting between sets and watching TV, it’s easy to let time get away from you. You’ll probably end up resting longer than you should be.
- Split up weight training days and cardio days – if you’re the kind of person who likes to keep strength training and cardiovascular training separate, and you’re spending an hour lifting weights and then doing 30 minutes of cardio, that’s a lot of work. Why not try weight training one day, and cardio the next? I can guarantee you that if you work out 6 days a week alternating cardio and resistance training, and couple that with a good diet, you will get the body you want.
- Supersets – ever tried supersets? This drastically decreases rest periods and boosts intensity levels – a win win. Take 2 exercises that work antagonistic muscles, and go from one to the next with no rest between sets. Example: Pushups/Pullups. Read more about supersets and see 9 more powerful ways to stimulate muscle growth.
- Turn off your phone – does this even need to be said? Put your phone away. Please don’t talk or text while you’re working out.
- Play some music – music elicits chemical responses in our bodies. It releases endorphins and adrenaline – hormones that boost your intensity and push you through your workout faster. Use music to your advantage. Here are the top 100 workout songs of 2012.
- Plan your workout in advance – you shouldn’t be winging your workouts anyways. You need to have a plan and a method to get from point A to B. Having a written workout plan means you know exactly what to do next, instead of wandering the gym in search of your next machine to conquer.
- Use the gym during off-peak hours – this goes without saying. The less busy the gym is, the better your chances of not having to wait for equipment. Unfortunately, this option isn’t always available for most. However, if you go to the gym 3 times a week, all on weekdays, consider moving one of the days to a weekend morning. The gym tends to be quieter then.
- Bring a water bottle – instead of making a trip to the water fountain after each set, why not bring your own water bottle and fill it up one time for your entire workout? It might not seem like much, but a 1 minute trip to the water fountain between each of your 15 sets equals 15 minutes of potentially wasted time. Here’s our favorite water bottle.
Incorporate just a few or all of these tips to get you in and out of the gym quicker. Don’t work longer, work smarter.