Is It Bad To Workout For More Than An Hour?

November 18, 2022 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “is it bad to workout for more than an hour?”. There is a long held belief in the fitness industry that it is a cardinal sin to workout for more than an hour.

The reality is a bit more nuanced, and this article will help you to understand whether longer workouts are really as terrible as many people think.

Is It Bad To Workout For More Than An Hour?

Overall, it is not a cardinal sin to workout longer than an hour. This question as a whole hinges on many factors. Firstly, if you are enhanced you can train for even 3 hours at a time fairly regularly without too many negative effects.

If you are natural and do 3 hour workouts regularly you would suffer more from increased cortisol and recovery issues. Whilst it is true that cortisol levels do rise the longer you workout for, it is not as detrimental as people believe. 

If you allow for adequate rest between workouts and fuel your body well with adequate nutrients, you can make good gains in size and strength even with some longer workouts.

Ideally shorter workouts around an hour in length done more frequently would be more optimal. You can recover better and make better gains in strength and size long term as your body makes faster adaptations. 

Fuelling Your Workouts Well

It cannot be understated how important it is to fuel your workouts well for better results. If you come to the gym with no fuel in your tank and no energy the chances of having a great workout are diminished.

Just by supplying your body with the right nutrients prior to a workout can enable you to workout harder and for longer. This will improve your results and lead to gains in strength and size.

In this way you can train for longer than an hour without suffering too many ill effects. If you are not well nourished prior to a workout, then working out for two or three hours will be very detrimental.

Your body will enter into a catabolic state faster and you will not achieve the gains that you hoped for in the long run with this approach. In my case, I like to eat a meal of meat and rice prior to an intense training session.

It could be chicken breast and rice or beef and rice. These are my two favourite pre workout meals. You are getting in quality protein and carbohydrates to give you the energy you need in the gym. 

I also like to take some BCAAs with me to the gym along with some pre workouts for an additional boost and enhanced recovery.
chicken and rice

Cortisol Levels

It is true that longer workouts over an hour do raise cortisol slightly. Really long workouts of 3 hours or more would raise it further.

Cortisol is the stress hormone and is produced in the adrenal glands. High cortisol levels can be associated with negative things like weight gain, fatigue, muscle weakness, headaches and high blood pressure.

It is important to note that people who are suffering from depressive states or have high levels of stress and anxiety will have higher cortisol levels. Exercise as a whole has been shown to be a positive force in reducing stress and anxiety.

For most people, working out for two hours is not going to be too detrimental. If you have adequate sleep and are getting in quality nutrients, you will not see negative results from this.

If you train for two hours or longer at a time very often each week, it is more likely to be detrimental. This is because your recovery abilities will be lacking and the cortisol increase would be more pronounced.

The key is to balance your training, rest and nutrition to ensure progress and move in the right direction with your fitness.


Overtraining is a big buzz word in the fitness community. Very often people can train a lot harder and more often than they think without “overtraining”.

If you are finding that you are going backwards in your training and getting weaker, this is a sure sign that you could be suffering from overtraining.

This is especially true if you are doing long workouts frequently and not getting sufficient rest or quality nutrition. This could mean that you are in a more catabolic state and you need to change things to fix this problem.

Therefore, you can use real world feedback in the gym to identify this. Keeping a workout log and tracking your workouts is essential. To make real progress long term you have to take consistent action and track everything as you go.

If last week you were bench pressing 110kg for 5 reps and this week you get 6 reps – congratulations, you have made progress! This is all we are ever striving for in our fitness journeys, making small incremental progress that adds up over time.

People Taking PEDs

People who take PEDs can get away with doing long workouts quite frequently with no ill effects. This is because their testosterone levels are elevated and they can recover a lot faster than naturals.

As such they can handle higher volumes of training and make faster progress. PEDs can include anabolic steroids, pro hormones and SARMs.

People who are natural have to pay attention to their training at a much more granular level and have to especially keep an eye on their nutrition and recovery.


Final Thoughts

Is it bad to workout for more than an hour? In short, it is not bad per se. So long as you provide your body with the right nutrition that it needs you can do 2 hour workouts a few times a week and make great progress.

You will know if you are working out for too long as you will see real feedback in your training. If you see that you are getting weaker and smaller then this is a sure sign that you need to investigate further.

The most optimal way to train would be shorter one hour workouts done very frequently during the week. This would allow for greater strength gains long term as your body makes faster adaptations and can make faster incremental gains.

If you have any comments on this topic, please leave them below. As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!

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