Current guidelines recommend 60 minutes of exercise a day for weight loss. For muscle gain, you’ll see guys putting in as much as 120-minutes in the gym. Not only is this a waste of your time, it’s a path to preventing and reversing progress. Recent research shows that when it comes to exercise, less is more.
60 minutes of exercise a day? Factor in actually getting to the gym, checking in on Facebook, flirting with that girl in the squat rack, flexing in the mirror, sending a selfie to that special someone , and taking a shower. Well, shit.
AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FO DAT.
Feeling like you’re required to put in 60 minutes on the treadmill to lose fat, or pump out 3 sets of 12 reps on 4 different chest exercises, will make the gym feel more like a stressed workplace, rather than the healthy escape it should be.
ENTER THE MED
The minimum effective dose (MED) is defined as:
the smallest dose required that will produce a desired outcome
To boil water, the MED is 212°F. Boiled is boiled. Higher temperatures will do nothing except consume more resources that could be used for something more productive.
For your workouts this translates to:
To remove fat -> Do the least necessary to trigger a fat-burning cascade of specific hormones.
Side note: Your main focus when it comes to fat loss should be hormone optimization, aka getting your body to work FOR you. The focus on calories in/calories out will not only turn you off to living a fit lifestyle, it will keep you on a hamster wheel, slaving for minimal results, and constantly bouncing in and out of the latest fitness fads. Which is exactly what the industry wants.
To add muscle -> Do the least necessary to trigger local (specific muscle) and systematic (hormonal) growth mechanisms. More advanced processes like your prostaglandins and transcription factors are also affected. But you probably don’t give a shit. Unless you’re a scientist (the real kind, bro).
BUT… WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!
Well, lets look at this study published by the American Journal of Physiology last year.
This 13 week study showed that people who exercised 30 minutes a day lost 4% body fat, while people who exercised for 60 minutes a day lost 3%.
The takeaway of the study is that increasing exercise past a certain threshold is not only redundant, it’s counter-productive. Oh, and that slow-go cardio absolutely sucks for losing body fat, but we already knew that.
Let’s say you mimic that awesome new “Dwight Howard Superman Shoulders ” workout program you read in that shiny fitness magazine. You liked the fitness model they paid and photoshopped, and decided that this IS the program for you.
The first exercise calls for 5 sets of 12 military presses – It’s the equivalent of sitting in the sun and burning for 4 hours when your MED for Vitamin D is 10-15 minutes.
There are no studies that show you need 5 sets of 12 to grow. In fact, it’s the opposite. Studies show that one proper set of 10 is just as effective as three.
Not only is this a waste of time, it’s a path to preventing, and possibly reversing your gains.
Remember, bro – the organs that repair damaged muscles have more limitations than your desire to get FUARKING SHREDDED BRA.
For a given muscle, like the shoulders, activating the growth mechanisms might require only 90 seconds of tension using 65 pounds, once every 7 days.
For fat burning, it could mean as little as 12 minutes of high intensity interval training every morning.
Like everything related to fitness results, this changes with everyones unique genetic makeup, as well as their muscular adaptability. The secret for maintaining lifelong sexiness is to experiment, monitor your results, and find out what works best for your body and lifestyle.
When it comes to exercising for muscle gain and fat loss, more is not better. While this post is meant to help you with achieving shorter, more effective workouts (so you can spend more time flexing your new abs in the mirror, bro) – your greatest challenge will be resisting the temptation to do more.
SO WHAT CAN I DO?
1. Throw out the idea of a 60 minute workout being “optimal”
2. Focus on your overall workout INTENSITY, not the overall duration.
3. Check yourself out in the mirror and send a selfie to someone special.
If your workouts are exceeding 60 minutes, you’re either not working at a high enough intensity, or you’re resting for too long. Both detrimental to your success.
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