Why Long Workouts Won't Cost You Gains !
You may have heard about the perils of stretching your workouts beyond the one-hour mark for fear of becoming "catabolic." Here's why you shouldn't let this old bodybuilding legend guide you! One of the (many) accepted "truths" of bodybuilding I've always had a problem with is the notion that if you train for more than an hour, you will become catabolic due to increases in the hormone cortisol. To hear some people describe it, there's a massive reservoir of a toxic gains-melting substance hidden away in your body, attached to a ticking clock like a time bomb.


I understand where people who propagate this idea are coming from, and it's logical at first glance. Bodybuilders want to avoid cortisol at all costs because it's catabolic, right? While this seems very simple, the truth of the matter is actually much more complex.Cortisol is a catabolic hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. During periods of stress, cortisol is secreted to help the body cope with stress and mobilize fuel by increasing protein breakdown and decreasing protein synthesis.[1] Starting a couple of decades back, muscle magazines made quite a stink about not training for more than an hour at a time, due to increases in cortisol. However, I have thought of this as an overblown concern for a long time for a few reasons:

  • Protocols much shorter than one hour have also been shown to increase cortisol if they are intense enough.[2,3]

  • While cortisol increases in response to an intense exercise bout, so do anabolic hormones like testosterone, IGF-1, and growth hormone.

  • On a personal note, I followed the mantra of "do not train for more than an hour to limit cortisol release" and had limited success. When I later switched to a higher-volume routine which lasted well past an hour, I saw better gains.

  • Nobody has proven anything magical about the 60-minute time frame. It's not as if cortisol sits at baseline,and then suddenly spikes and floods your body traps-to-calves immediately at 60 minutes. It's likely that cortisol release is more related to the stress applied to your body from the intensity of the workout than it is to the duration of the workout. Put another way, I'm confident you'd see a much greater cortisol release from doing a single set of squats to absolute failure than you would from doing 5-pound dumbbell curls for an hour and a minute.

  • Cortisol takes much longer to exert an influence than many other hormones. It's not like insulin, a hormone that binds to receptors on the cell surface and almost immediately causes changes in signaling that produce a rapid response. Instead, cortisol operates at the DNA level as what's known as a "transcription factor," and binds to specific sequences of DNA to either increase or decrease their rate of transcription to mRNA.

The upshot is that it takes much longer for those mRNA transcripts to build up and cause some sort of effect than it would for a hormone that functions more acutely, like insulin. Furthermore, just increasing or decreasing mRNA accumulation is not assured to produce an outcome, as the translation from mRNA to their constitutive proteins is also highly regulated.[1]

That may be a bit too much science for some of you, but the takeaway is that the transient increases in cortisol produced by exercise are likely mostly inconsequential and not in and of themselves catabolic. Rather, it is the long term, sustained elevations in cortisol produced by stress and disease that are likely to result in catabolism.

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Testimonials
  • Manish Renu

    Anuj has been the best trainer that I have hired till date, I have taken help from many trainers in the past with minimal or no result however with Anuj, I have had a different experience altogether. He is pretty knowledgeable, gives you honest & right suggestions and keeps you motivated in order to achieve the overall fitness goal. His workout & diet plan for me helped me in losing close to 7 kgs within a month. I would highly recommend people struggling with their fitness to at least have a word with him and see how it goes. I'm sure with his guidance and support you can definitely achieve your fitness goals. ..

  • Shradha Robert

    I finally took the plunge about 6 months back and the skeptic in me decided to get a personal fitness trainer through an app called Urban Clap. Of all the potential trainers that I received calls from, Anuj sounded the most professional and aware. Still a little hesitant, i decided to meet him to chalk out a plan and do some expectation setting. He came across very confident, courteous and passionate about his craft; someone who was extremely well-informed and knew exactly what he was talking about! There's always science and logic behind his explanations; be it the exercises or nutrition which for me makes him that much more reliable and his instructions that much easier to follow. Now after 6 months, in spite of a few misses on my part in the form of a sudden illness and sometimes sheer inconsistency and a lack of will, I've managed to shed about 14 kilos! Always ready to guide & motivate and also be strict wherever needed, whether it was training physically with him or simply following his carefully designed diet and exercise plans remotely, he has invariably been a great support. Here's wishing Anuj and SPT lots of success in the days to come! Cheers!! ..

  • Ishant  Kumar

    IF YOU DON’T FOLLOW A GOOD NUTRITIONAL PLAN AND WORKOUT, YOU’RE BODYBUILDING WITH ONE ARM BEHIND YOUR BACK. THANK YOU SO MUCH Anuj Tyagi bhai for my body transformation and guiding me or tell me about how a body functions works. You helped me alot to gain the physique that i have now . I cant forget that , be it diet , protein or exercise , he guided me with everything. Thank you so much for being there and supporting me...

  • abhishek chouhan

    Hi, so finally i am writing this, b4 i start lemme tel you this guy "ANUJ TYAGI" , he is a great human being before a fitness trainer . I met him when i was struggling with my fitness issues and had no one to actually guide me or tell me about how a body functions (how a body functions, what it needs and more over exercises that one has to perform ) . Just one amazing day i have asked him after finding his big poster in "DRONACHARYA THE GYM" , about how he built such an amazing physique starting that day and now ,its been almost a year he is my fitness expert . And i can proudly say he is a good soul and he has the vision to motivate to get fit because for initial few months i was being coached for free, i wasn't paying anything and after spending a good spam of 3 months , i have realized this guy should be my trainer because he knows what a body need and how it works and that too with out any Suppliments or steroids . I can proudly say he helped me to gain the physique that i have now . Three months TRANSFORMATION period , i cant forget that , be it diet , protein or exercise , he guided me with everything. Thank you so much much for being there and supporting me and hope to get trained by you soon...

  • Rishabh Kumar

    I was in a doubt to hire a trainer from a website as I have always taken training from the Gym itself. Anuj Tyagi proved me wrong by providing me well balanced meal plan and workout schedule as per my needs. He is the most humble trainer that I have spoken to. Appreciate the way he explains everything. I learnt much more from him online than I ever did during my Live PT sessions in the gym...

  • Amit Tyagi

    This May sound cliche coming from a brother but believe me if you are looking for genuine guidance w.r.t. your fitness goals then Anuj Tyagi is the right person for you. He is extremely focused when it comes to his client's transformations. For Anuj, it is not only about getting slim/shredding weight or bulking up those heavy muscles. He believes in total fitness. He will prepare your training and diet plan as per your goals. And if you follow his prescribed regime then I am sure you will be healthier........ ...

  • Gagan kaur

    I was very hesitant to hire a personal trainer, but after a few workouts I knew I was ready to commit. Workouts with my SixPackTummy trainerAnuj are never boring, and there are always new exciting exercises. It has only been three months now and I am in better shape than I have ever been, and I consistently have more energy. I have lost weight, gained muscle, and increased my endurance. I have also been able to increase my flexibility and improve my balance. Anuj is excellent at providing a full body workout, and at explaining the benefits of each exercise. ..

Blog

    Most weight loss cases are driven by desperation

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