The duration of your workout majorly depends on your nutrient intake, recovery time, and the purpose of the workout.
Although many scientists and fitness experts generally recommend workout duration of 30 to 90 minutes, exercising for excessively long without enough rest has side effects that can potentially harm your health.
1. Understanding Workouts and Energy Pathways
First things first; how does your body derive energy during workouts?
Although energy production during a workout is majorly obtained from burning calories, energy recruitment in the process physical training goes beyond burning calories. During an exercise, your body has a number of other sources of energy known as substrates, including glycogen and creatine phosphate.
Every intense workout that runs for two minutes or less causes your body to use the energy generated from the glycogen and creatine phosphate. The body does not use oxygen when burning down these substrates to produce energy. Examples of high-intensity exercises that draw energy from substrates include sprinting and weight lifting.
On the other hand, low-intensity exercises that last longer draw energy from glycogen and fats. Here, oxygen is used to break down the fats and glycogen. Examples of low-intensity workouts that draw energy from glycogen and fats include walking, swimming, and cycling.
2. Event Workout
Training for competitive athletic events such as triathlon and marathon requires you to exercise beyond the recommended daily workout duration of 30 to 90 minutes.
Typically, this form of training occurs under the supervision of your trainer or coach. As a result, training for an event should be an exception to the rule, and possibly the only one. Remember, you want to win that much coveted medal and your coach wants to achieve his goals too. Refueling your body with electrolyte and carbohydrate sources before, during, and after workouts helps to prevent fatigue when training for such kind of events.
3. Weight Training
During weight training, your body depends on two substrates: creatine phosphate and glycogen. Depending on factors such as storage capacity and nutrition level, the amounts of these substrates in the body vary from one person.
Since they are only stored in limited amounts, they are prone to depletion when your body gets involved in intense training. As a result, fitness experts recommend 30 minutes or less of exercise sessions involving weight training. If the training persists beyond 30 minutes, your body is forced to break down its proteins for energy.
This hinders muscles building, making the training ineffective. Additionally, when the level of proteins in your muscles reduces significantly, you may suffer from protein deficiency, which is harmful to your health.
4. Cardiovascular Training
If you are engaging in cardio exercises, your goal should dictate the amount of time the training lasts.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, an aerobic training of moderate intensity for cardiovascular fitness should last for 30 minutes. This is ideal, especially, if losing weight is not your concern, and you should perform them 5 days a week.
If your cardio workout is meant for both fitness and weight loss, then each session should last between 60 to 90 minutes, claims Sahand Rahnama, a health expert at the of the University of Michigan Medical School. Remember, your body begins to burn the stored fat after about 40 minutes of aerobic training.
5. How Much Is Excessive Workout?
When you engage in a workout, your body relies on carbohydrates for energy.
The carbohydrates used are in the form of glycogen. Regular excessive training results in the depletion or reduction of glycogen stores. It may also hinder your fitness goals by causing the production of high amounts of cortisol in your body. Hence, a workout can be said to be too much when it causes chronic low glycogen and high cortisol in your body.
6. Risks of Excessive Workouts
No matter how good something may be, too much of it can turn out to be poisonous.
Excessive exercising overstrains your body, leading to a myriad of side effects, including depression, fatigue, trouble sleeping, mood swings, and lack of appetite. Other possible drawbacks include eating disorders, mental disorders, and weak bones due to reduced bone density.
According to David Knowles, a professional bodybuilder, too much training increases your chances of injury and staleness. It also reduces your motivation for regular training. To avoid these problems, David recommends a recovery period of 2 to 3 days between workout sessions for a particular muscle group.
If you must reach the recommended daily session duration of 60 to 90 minutes, then you should incorporate a cardiovascular exercise session to avoid straining another group of your muscles.
7. Why Recovery Is Important
Who does not want to rest after an energy sapping activity? I guess no one. Engaging in intense workouts longer than you should do may cause your body muscles to sustain minor tears, leading to soreness. Having enough rest or recovery time after long workouts allows your body to regain energy and repair any torn muscles as you gear up for the next exercise session.
Failure to have enough rest results in fast fatigue, which may affect your subsequent workouts. To avoid these problems, fitness experts generally recommend at least a full day of recovery per week. The recovery period is longer in the case of strength training.
8. In conclusion
In a nutshell, it is worthy to remember that the effectiveness of a workout out is not determined by the length of time. Rather, it depends much on other factors, including motivation, techniques, and regularity. You need to listen to your body and see how it responds to the workouts. Take a break when your body needs it.
When you experience the signs of over-training syndrome including apathy, irritability, insomnia, mood changes, and loss of appetite, then it is time to change your workout tact. Remember, the duration of your training should not hinder your next training.
Each workout session should be a step in the right direction and should clearly show progress. It does not matter what goals or determination you have, listening to your body can only better your workout results.