Every day in every muscle and fitness publication it is drummed into us that we shouldn’t train for no longer than an hour. However, the problem is how do you know when you’re done and when you’re going beyond what is necessary? This article will highlight some typical tell tale signs which tell you that your workout has reached its climax.
There are many things which begin to occur as your body has been maxed out during a workout, indicating that you have done what is necessary. The first major sign is when your strength suddenly takes a huge slump. Throughout the workout you have lifted heavy, you have felt strong but now you don’t feel as though you could lift your gym bag let alone any real weight. This is a time where you should conclude your workout, as the muscle group you have targeted has clearly been demolished so now it is time to feed it to help it heal as well as grow.
Another classic sign which shows your workout is complete is when you begin to lose focus and your mind isn’t on the task at hand. This is generally because your muscles are sufficiently grilled and therefore you lose interest in training, you want to eat, drink and rest.
Finally, the pump which you get when you train is a great indication that you have hit your target muscle group effectively. Your muscles are bulging, veins popping and you feel about 6 stone heavier. However, when the pump begins to fade when your training it is a sure way to know your muscles have been broken down sufficiently. This is because the glycogen levels have been depleted therefore your muscles can no longer hold a pump. If your glycogen levels have been depleted this much then your in a catabolic state which you don’t want, therefore you need to end your workout and get plenty of protein and carbohydrates to take you back into an anabolic state again.
My personal take on the amount of time you spend in the gym is anywhere between 35-60 minutes. It all boils down to the intensity of the session. If I am doing 60+ reps on leg press, squats, leg extensions and so on with heavy weight, after 3 circuits I am out of there! This may only take 30 minutes, but the intensity is such that it wouldn’t be productive to continue. My muscle fibers are broken down and my glycogen levels are completely depleted, so its time to leave. Other days I may be there for an hour, but never much longer than 45 minutes. A lot of it comes down to instinct and knowing when you are done! This comes with experience and understanding the purpose of your workouts!