Avoid The Common Mistake Of Overtraining

A common question people like to ask when they first start weight lifting is how long does it take to build muscle? The truth is it doesn’t actually take very long at all, you can expect really noticeable gains in just under 2 months providing you don’t make mistakes while you train and eat.

Overtraining is a big reason why people don’t see muscle gains as quick as they would like. A common misconception is that by training longer in your workouts, you will build more muscle. While the statement ‘no pain, no gain’ has some truth behind it; it only applies to workouts within the 1 hour time frame. If you workout any longer than an hour, there is a build up of the cortisol hormone, and this is a nasty hormone which shuts down muscle growth. Cortisol puts the body into what is known as a catabolic state which is the last thing you want when you’re trying to encourage muscle growth.

Leaving the gym as soon as it has reached an hour will benefit your muscle gains more than if you try and stay on at the gym to squeeze in some extra sets. Once you leave the gym you can prevent cortisol from rising by having something to eat to replenish your energy and protein, a good way of doing this is to have a protein shake.

Avoid combining cardiovascular workouts with weight training. It’s fine to do 5-10 minute runs as a warm up, but if you try and do long distance running alongside weight lifting there’s a good chance you will tire yourself out from the cardiovascular exercise.

Combining cardio and weight lifting also means that you won’t be able to spend enough time focusing on weights to build muscle, and if you end up compensating for this by staying at the gym for longer than an hour, you run into the issue of increased cortisol levels. The most effective way to workout is to assign certain days as being entirely cardio or weight lifting; this will improve your strength and fitness much faster.

Overtraining your muscles is also possible if you workout the same muscle groups too frequently. Generally, you needn’t workout for more than 5 times a week. You should also give yourself a day’s break after you have trained a specific muscle group before focusing on them again, this gives your muscles enough time to recover and grow stronger. For example, if you worked out your biceps and back on Monday, you wouldn’t train them again until at earliest Wednesday.

Make sure you workout hard but don’t overdo it, if you avoid over training you will build muscle at a much faster rate.

Sam also writes at www.musclebuildingdaily.com , a site that provides easy to understand muscle building tips and information on weight loss.


Sam James

You can visit Sam's website, Muscle Building Daily, for regular muscle building tips. Articles cover topics such as how to lift weights, weight loss, nutrition, supplements and health. Check it out!

5 thoughts on “Avoid The Common Mistake Of Overtraining

  • June 18, 2011 at 7:51 am

    What if you weight train for an hour, wait 3 and a half hours, then do a core/cardio workout for another hour?

  • May 10, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    I was especially guilty of combining weight training with cardio. I learned pretty quickly on my own that this wasn’t helping me with my strength gains at all. I did seem to lose a good bit of weight though…

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  • March 16, 2011 at 5:42 am

    I was guilty of this for the longest time. I trained every day for 2-3 hours, and then would return later in the day for another 90 mins to 2 hours. It got so bad that when I would lie on my back for my curls, crunches, etc., I would end up falling asleep right there in the gym!

    After that, I gave myself a couple days of rest, and cut back on my workout times, and actually saw more improvement when I was “lazy” then when I tried to kill myself burning fat.


  • March 15, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    It is hard to reach the minimum recommendations for exercise if you are trying to devote certain days of the week to only strength training or cardiovascular exercise. It is okay to combine the 2 and to get strength gains you don’t have to spend an hour doing weights. As long as they are done properly and with the right amount of weight, you will get strength gains.


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