What is the optimal time frame for an effective workout session from the time you begin your first set up until you complete your last one?

45 minutes? An hour and 15? 2 hours?

The truth is that there really is no single “best” answer here.

The simple guideline I would give is that your workout can last as long as you need it to as long as your overall training intensity, energy and focus has not significantly declined.

When your workout length begins drifting into the upper ranges, your mental drive and physical performance will begin to steadily decrease, and this has two main consequences…

First off, the specific exercises you perform towards the end of the workout will not be executed with optimal focus and intensity, and this will negatively affect the stimulation of whichever muscles you’re attempting to train.

Secondly, because your overall focus has dropped, you may also be increasing your chances of injury due to less than perfect form as you become increasingly fatigued.

It’s impossible to put an exact time frame on when this will become an actual concern, as it will be affected by several factors…

Workout Type – An all-out leg workout consisting of squats, leg presses and Romanian deadlifts is going to take a lot more out of you than a moderate intensity bicep and tricep workout.

The specific muscles you’re training and the exercises you’re performing will play a huge role in how long you can effectively sustain your strength and energy levels.

Nutrition – The consistency of your diet in the 12-24 hour period prior to your workout can have quite a measurable impact as well. If you ate poorly the previous day and in the hours leading up to your session, expect a drop in your overall performance, and vice versa.

Individual Fitness Level – Some people are simply more well-adapted to intense weight training due to their experience level and genetics, and this affects how long and hard they’re able to train.

Mood And Motivation – The mind plays a huge role in the outcome of our workouts (and in pretty much everything else we do), and if for whatever reason you’re feeling particularly pumped up and motivated to lift on any given day, you’ll likely be able to train effectively for longer periods of time.

Supplementation – When taken 30-45 minutes before your session, a select few pre-workout supplements can give you the extra mental focus and strength needed to continue your workout for an extended period of time if necessary. (Get my no B.S supplementation guide here)

Because of all the potential factors that can come into play, there’s really no necessity to put a specific time frame on your workout in terms of minimum and maximum length.

For most people in most situations, you’re probably looking at a workout lasting in the range of 45-90 minutes from the time you perform your first working set until the completion of your final working set (this excludes warmups).

This is just an estimate, however.

In any case, don’t obsess over the specific time frame of your workouts.

Just make sure that…

A) You’re getting all of the necessary work done.

B) You’re not taking any more rest between sets than is necessary.

C) You’re able to maintain a high level of focus, strength and intensity all the way through in order to effectively stimulate your muscles and maintain proper form at all times.

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