So often we think if a little is good, more must be better right?
I’ve been doing orangtheory for almost six months now. It’s one of my favorite workouts, and I look forward to every class. Since I joined the local studio, I was intrigued by the elusive ‘orange 90,’ a ninety minute version of the class I’ve grown to love. About a week ago, I bit the bullet and did my first orangetheory 90 class with a couple of my buddies.
We sweat more than we thought was humanly possible. Ran almost 10,000 steps. Rowed a bunch. Threw some moderately heavy weights around. It was a blast! I was pooped for the rest of the weekend and ate a ton throughout the rest of the day.
It wasn’t until my Monday lifting session came around and I was still dragging that I started thinking about the impact of the ninety minute sweatfest. My Tuesday morning orangtheory class was also a rude awakening as I struggled to maintain my ‘normal’ paces and watched two individuals do a ‘double,’ completing both the 4am and 5am classes in the same day. That’s when it hit me.
Sometimes less is better.
As a recovering distance runner, that’s inherently hard for me to believe. Five years ago, my workouts almost solely consisted of ramping up my distance. If a five mile run was good, ten was surely better. And for some goals, like running a marathon, that may be true. But for most of us, aiming to slowly change our body composition or just be healthy, that’s not necessarily true.
There are many problems with extended workouts, as witnessed by yours truly 😀
- They aren’t sustainable. When you tax your body so heavily, it makes it so much harder to jump into your planned workout the next day.
- They increase the likelihood of injury. As you get more tired, it becomes harder to maintain form. Unless you are working with a personal trainer who is carefully watching you perform exercises, you are likely to swing or compensate throughout the motions.
- Your perceived level of exertion changes. Let’s be honest. You simply cannot push as hard at minute 80 as you could at minute 8, so the quality of your workouts may go down.
- Your muscles cannot recover easily. When you workout for a long time, you are taxing your muscles to a point that makes it difficult for them to rebuild in time for your next workout, minimizing your results!
- Your body may start breaking down muscle for fuel. When you reach the 45 minute mark in a workout, one of your stress hormones rises (remember your body doesn’t know the difference between stressing over a final exam or presentation at work and you killing it at the gym). When cortisol levels rise, your body may turn to your hard earned muscle to get through the workout.
- It can lead to overtraining. Elevated resting heart rate, crankiness, decreased performance, and excessive fatigue. NO THANKS.
It’s time to shift that mindset, friends! We don’t need to workout for crazy amounts of time to see results. In fact, doing so may hinder progress.
The moral of the story? If extra long training sessions are not required for you to reach your goal, they might not be the best way to workout. As for me, I went ahead and changed my schedule, back to the sixty minute class on Saturdays <3
How long are your workouts?