How long should a workout take? Is there an ideal length of time that I should work out for? These are the most frequently asked questions of any PT, gym owner, health professional or training partner.
The truthful answer is: no, there’s no perfect or exact time you should workout or train for, even with all the advances in training, gadgets, styles and types of training such as HIIT sessions, and new machines that promise amazing results.
There is one thing here that is important, though – do not over-train. Over-training is simply doing too much and not letting the body rest and recover from the last training session. Yes, that’s right – I’m telling you to rest and recover.
Determining how long you work out for is up to you, and will depend on a few different variables, such as how busy the gym is, if it’s raining or too cold, or if you work out at the beginning or end of the day.
I’m a big believer in if you do something every day that helps your quality of life, then that’s a perfect workout – even if it’s just a 10-minute stretch with your mate. Don’t sweat the small stuff; don’t think that you must do one or two hours of exercise every day, or think that you’ve “failed” at your goals if you only do half a session.
Here are some tips to frame your workouts and remember, it doesn’t mean a workout is better for you just because it was longer:
- Make sure you do the movements correctly. This is all about safety – don’t rush your movements because you have a short amount of time. Getting bigger, stronger and fitter will come in time, but don’t rush; overtraining can cause injury.
- Try training for 20, 30 or 40 minutes to see how you feel and how you train, and in turn, try some longer sessions of 50, 60 or 75 minutes. You could build in a longer session once in a while to see how you like them.
- If you’re enjoying training, it all becomes easier and you’ll get more out of it.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Look at the bigger picture and plan ahead.
- Always have the option to move things around – like your training time – sometimes thing pop up and we need to be flexible.
- Have a short workout (20 minute) option ready to go if you only have a small window of time.
- If you’re going for a run, have a route planned in your head. You can always add to it if you have extra time.
- If you’re having a busy day, take a few five-minute breaks for some quiet ‘me time’ – visualisation is great.
- If you don’t feel up to working out, take a break! You can always do a session later.
- Have nutritious food ready to go when you finish training.
- If you have 30 minutes, do 10 minutes of cardio training (walk or run), 10 minutes of strength and 10 minutes of core.