How long should you train?

Many people think that the longer one trains, the better the results. Although a certain amount of training is necessary, it is possible to train too much or too long. So how long should you train?

One of the factors involved is the amount of glycogen the body still has in store to use during exercise. When the body’s glycogen stores are emptied, it can not sustain a high training intensity and muscle tissue will be broken down to supply the necessary energy.

Normally, the body has sufficient supply for 45-60 minutes of fitness training. In well trained athletes this supply can be increased to 90 minutes. It is therefore important that a training never lasts for more than 60-75 minutes (this time is longer because fitness training allows recovery periods). Sometimes training for a longer period is possible, but make sure carbohydrates are replenished by a sports drink or other fast carbohydrates.

During training the body produces the stress hormone cortisol. When it is produced in large quantities and it can not be broken down because one trains too long, cortisol levels can rise more permanently. This is seen as one of the causes of overtraining, in which performance decreases and recovery from training is slow. An elevated cortisol level breaks down muscle mass, effectively countering the effects of training or even breaking the body down further.