When it comes to workouts, more is better, right? Wrong. Hitting your training long and hard doesn’t always give big gains. But the once-a-week approach won’t get great results either.
Sadly, there’s no magic number. Ultimately, your individual goals and needs determine your ideal training time. Figure this out, and less time is often more.
Here are some smart questions to help:
Yes. Time limits are a good idea for two reasons:
First, they stop time-wasting doing counterproductive exercises e.g. inclined dumbbell press followed by inclined barbell bench followed by inclined machine press. Unlimited time can also lead to damaging overtraining.
Second, they stop you chatting, texting and checking yourself out in the mirror. Focus makes you faster, so arrive with a time limit – and stick to it.
If you’re new to working out, an hour’s workout will probably be more risky than rewarding. To avoid injury, burnout or plain boredom, build up slowly. 30-minute workouts are about right. Your strength and stamina will quickly build. Then simply add on a couple of minutes each week.
Your workout duration should also depend on the intensity and type of exercises you’re doing. Walking for 30 minutes on the treadmill is easier than a full sprint!
What sort of exercises do you want to do? Higher intensity workouts are shorter so could be done on busier weekdays. Then hit the gym for longer low-intensity sessions on the weekends.
Many exercises – mainly strength and interval training – involve recovery periods between sets. A 40-minute gym session might only involve 20 minutes actual training.
If this is your type of workout add on at least 10 extra minutes to your training period.
Mixing up your workouts is a great way to see continuous results. Try to alternate longer and shorter workouts throughout the week.
Perhaps you do a 40-minute run on Tuesday evenings, Hussle a 20-minute weights session on Thursdays lunchtimes and an intense Spin class after work on Fridays. Not forgetting (of course) that vital recovery day somewhere!
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Whatever happens, I make sure I do on tabata-style workout each week. That covers for me, so I dont need to count minutes of anything else.
I just tend to keep it simple and spend 45 minutes at the gym each time I go, which leaves 15 minutes for prep/shower etc. I find this works very well for me regardless of the type of workout I'm doing.