Evlo Fitness/Education/Body Composition/Is a long workout more effective?
Dr. Payton Busker, PT, DPT
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Is a long workout more effective?

Did you grow up with the idea that your workouts needed to be both grueling and long in order to do any good? SAME HERE. But luckily the tides are turning on both fronts. We now know that results don’t just come from time spent in your workouts or calories burned. But more from appropriate mechanical load to the muscles and adequate recovery time. 

So how much is enough when it comes to time spent in the gym for muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth)? Let’s discuss!

Goal: Muscle hypertrophy

For muscle hypertrophy, simplified as muscle growth, the mechanical load you place through the muscles is more important than time spent in the gym . Remember that not all exercises are created equal! Exercise selection is critical for delivering appropriate mechanical load to a muscle group. 

In her latest Fit Body, Happy Joints episode, Dr. Shannon goes into detail and gives examples of certain exercises that will more specifically target various muscle groups over others. She also discusses the importance of getting close to muscle failure within each set of your workout. This looks like difficulty with the last 1-2 reps of your set. 

Research points to 10 sets of work per muscle group per week as the maximum number of sets needed to achieve muscle hypertrophy. It also points to <5 sets being sufficient to achieve muscle hypertrophy if the muscles are effectively loaded and the sets are taken to failure.

Doing enough to make a difference, but not too much as to take away from your progress.

Exercise is only half of the equation. Recovery is the other. 

Unfortunately, the fitness world does not always prioritize rest/recovery. Many see rest/recovery days as wasted time and suggest committing to more time in the gym instead. However, recovery times builds our muscles up; workouts intentionally break muscle down! 

Find out how to determine if you are recovering properly in this previous blog post/podcast.

What class times look like at Evlo

In order to satisfy both the necessary load to the muscles + the important recovery piece, we work muscle groups 1-2 times per week in our classes. This allows for at least 48 hours before a muscle is worked to failure again.

5 Day Track

Class times: 30-50 minutes. 1, hour-long option available on Fridays. 

Muscle groups: We target quads and glutes/outer thighs twice a week with this track. We work all other muscle groups 1-2 times per week. Muscle groups for each class switch weekly!

Sets: 3-5 sets (depending on muscle group) per muscle group per class 

4 day track 

Class times: 30-50 minutes. 1, hour-long option available on Fridays. Extra recovery day on Thursdays. 

Muscle groups: We work all other muscle groups 1-2 times per week. Muscle groups for each class switch weekly!

Sets: 3-5 sets (depending on muscle group) per muscle group per class 

3 Day Track 

Class times: 50 minutes-1 hour

Muscle groups: This track targets the same muscle groups as the 5 day track. Wednesday’s Full Body Build + Burn class targets the same muscle groups as Wednesday’s Burn class + Thursday’s Barre class. We combine the Monday and Tuesday Build classes for 1, hour long Full Body Build class in this track!

Sets: 3-5 sets (depending on muscle group) per muscle group per class 

Which track should I choose?

We know the choice can be difficult! That’s why we created our custom schedule builder to develop a schedule that works for YOU. Click here to input your preferences and receive your results!

The great news is that you do not have to always stick to the same schedule. Craving more time off between each workout? Follow the 3-day track! Need the accountability of a daily class? The 5-day track may be the best option for you! 

In regards to muscle hypertrophy, the 3- and 5-day tracks may be the most effective/efficient way to achieve muscle growth as we target more muscle groups twice each week in these specific tracks. However, you can achieve muscle hypertrophy with our 4-day track if time does not allow for the longer, 3-day tracks classes or the additional Barre class in the 5-day track. As 3 muscle groups will not be worked twice in this track each week, you may progress slightly slower when it comes to muscle growth. But we plan to work out the rest of our lives! No need to rush the process.

We provide these different options so that Evlo gets to ebb and flow with the different stages and weeks of your life. Because we know that gentle consistency is the key to sustainable results!!

Are minis “enough”?

We get this question a lot! 

Evlo Minis are classes that are 20 minutes or less. We add new classes and formats weekly! 

Minis are one of the tools in our tool box for achieving that gentle consistency. They are great to incorporate into your schedule when you are:

  • Short on time 
  • Traveling
  • In a particularly busy season of your life
  • Just returning to exercise after a hiatus

Minis can also be a great tool for increasing motivation! Members often say that once they start a mini, they are motivated to do a little more movement than they thought they were up for! 

While minis are excellent for all of the reasons and scenarios listed above, we recommend you follow one of our “regular” tracks most consistently IF your goal is muscle hypertrophy. Given the quickness of these classes, we are not able to get in as many sets within the class as we can in our 30-45 minute classes! However, minis can be a great tool to use when you’re in “maintenance mode”.

Bottom line

Your workouts do not have to completely deplete you to make a difference. 

You do not have to spend multiple hours in the gym to “be fit”.

You can (and should) modify your schedule based on your current needs and lifestyle and still achieve results. 

And if you’d like to join a program that guides you through the different seasons of your life, click here for your 14-day free trial!!