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Old 09-13-2006, 08:13 PM
stillflabby stillflabby is offline
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Default Optimum Training Time

Some of you may have followed the discussion Venom and I had in the following thread:

The Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse Question ?

we seriously hijacked the thread, but it was very interesting.

it started with me making the statement:

you shouldn't be in the gym much longer than 45 minutes it's a good idea all the way around!!!

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Venom asked if I had any info to back that up, and that's where the ball got rolling. I'll try to get it all quote here:

you shouldn't be in the gym much longer than 45 minutes it's a good idea all the way around!!!

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Do you have any studies or particular theoretical rationals in support of this advise?

Old school indicated in his article Diurnal that 60-90 minute sessions of high intensity training were permissable. In a proper periodized split, and with correct diet and supplementation, I am unaware of why this would be unadvisable. However, I am always happy to make adjustments, if there is any scientific evidence suggesting otherwise. [img]/forum/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

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Quite honestly no studies, but anytime I've ever read about optimum time in the gym it's been 45 minutes as the magic number. I did read a paper (sources unknown) that says cortisol levels start to increase at around 45 minutes. I'll try to find something more concrete.

It could be one of those case where there was ONE poorly constructed study done, and EVERYONE jumped on that band wagon.

I'll check out that article too, thanks for the post.

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in looking through that article, i find where he says anything over 1 hour should be broken up:

Upon completing 1-1.5 hours of training, if intensity is high, it is most optimal to cease training; however, conditioning, as well as mitochondrial density can be factored into this equation and greater detail of this topic will be discussed in the future.

General recommendation is to train for an hour and, if higher volume is desired, split up the training quantity into an AM/PM split. This would also be optimal for recovering depleted glycogen levels and other factors which will be discussed in the future of JHR.

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It may be that things start to change at that 45 minute mark and they advise breaking it off there. not certain.

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Thanks for the feedback, SB!

I think practice distribution is absolutely vital. So I am definitely not a believer in going on a marathon run in the weight room. [img]/forum/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img] You simply cannot maintain the same work output for that long.

But when saying what time is optimal for training, I think that is very hard to assess. There are so many variables to consider. For instance:

1. Catabolic hormones such as cortisol
2. Total practice. The more total practice you can get, typically, the more you will learn. This is a conodrum in motor learning. Because while you want to distribute your practice, you also want to optimize TOTAL practice. So finding a middle ground between the two is probably best. It also allows you to target more muscle fibers. So this is a definite advantage.
3. Are you able to maintain work output? There are creative ways to manipulate this.
4. Rest periods. I.E. is it a very dense 90 minutes, or do you rest a lot, as typical strength routines do? This should impact the situation
5. Nutrition. Whether you are bulking or cutting. Just consider pre-workout nutrition; usually your body is in a negative protein balance during a workout. But with essential amino acids right before your workout, results indicate you are in a POSITVE protein balance.
6. Training status

I doubt people that are recommending sticking to 45 minutes or less are taking all these factors, among others, into account.

I think that there is not a universal time frame in which you should always train. Because as shown above, there are so many factors to consider.

From my experience, on bulks, when I eat TONS of carbs, I can easily maintain a high workout put for 90 minutes. I also implement some techniques to enhance this. For instance, combining muscle groups. When one muscle is fatigued, you move on the next. Also, you take into account exercise order. You perform power and heavy compound lifts early, and isolation movements later in the workout.

Will longer workouts increase cortisol? From my research, yup. It pretty much increases linearly with intensity and duration. The threshold for intensity, depending on diet, is above 60%. I am not sure if there is a threshold on duration (i.e. 45 minutes). But would be extremely interested if there are any studies on that!

To summarize my experience, I think around 90 minute’s works pretty well. Much farther beyond that, for a consistent bases, and I can't maintain the same work output. My pumps decline and I tend to drag more during the workout. But often times, I train for 45-60 minutes and get a great workout in. Right now I am cutting, and I really distribute my workout routines, and not many of my workouts go far beyond an hour. I top out at 90 minutes on some occasions.

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I was thinking about this during my workout today. And what I really hit on was pre-workout nutrition.

If you are eating slow digesting carbs and proteins, wouldn't this keep you anabolic longer? Same theory as the pre-bed meal. If you down some chicken and brown rice pre-workout, you'll definitely still have that in your system working for you after 45 minutes of training.

And as you said, intensity plays a role. I imagine someone doing a 45 minute HIT routine would be in for some major cortisol, but 45 minutes of a higher volume type workout and you'd be fine.

Is there anyway you can set this up in a lab setting? I know you can do some cool stuff in the labs, but didn't know if this is in that realm.

maybe I should start a new thread for this somewhere, we are hijacking the thread, and this is TERRIBLY interesting to me.

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Is there anyway you can set this up in a lab setting? I know you can do some cool stuff in the labs, but didn't know if this is in that realm.

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Absolutely. I have no question in my mind that it is something we'll test, sooner rather than later. I would just need to do a much more in-depth review of the literature, and think of all possible confounding variables, and then propose an experiment. Most likely, this would be several experiments due to all the variables involved.

Starting a thread on this would be great. If you do, start it in the research forum, and quote our discussion thus far, so people have a background on the topic.

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I'd love to see if anyone else has any input on this, any studies they've read, personal experiences that might help with any research to be done and variables to be considered.

things that come to my mind are:

intensity level
time (of course)
hydration level
level of health (colds, alergies, etc)
experience (are you a newbie?)
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