We all have strong opinions about how much time to spend in the gym. For many, one hour has been the go-to duration. But some athletes believe you won’t see results if you train for over two hours, while others work out for less than 20 minutes daily. So, what’s the best workout length?
Though there’s no single answer, knowing the factors that affect the ideal workout duration can help you create a routine that fits your goals and lifestyle.
This article will explore workout length and offer guidance to help you find the right balance for achieving the best fitness results.
Understanding individual needs
The best workout length is different for each person because of what you want to achieve, how fit you are, and how much time you have. You need to match your workout time with your goals. For example, if you just want to stay generally fit, your workout can be shorter than someone training for a sport or competition.
A powerlifter might spend 2 hours at the gym because they take long breaks between sets, while most people spend less time because they take shorter breaks. So, think about what you want to achieve and set realistic goals for your fitness journey.
Quality over quantity
In workouts, it’s better to have good quality than a lot of quantity. It’s important to make your exercises count and be effective to get the best results, no matter how long you exercise. Short, intense workouts can give you big benefits if you do them right.
You can use methods like circuit training or interval training to make the most of your time at the gym and get stronger, have more stamina, and lose fat.
Efficiency and time constraints
In today’s busy lives, time can be limited, so creating workouts that fit into your schedule is essential. Instead of always aiming for long workouts, think about making them shorter while still getting good results.
You have to adapt to your available time. Some days, you might have lots of time for a long workout, but other times, you might only manage a 30-minute session, and that’s alright. Quick workouts like Tabata or HIIT can help speed up your metabolism, make your heart stronger, and improve your overall health.
Consider individual fitness levels.
How fit you are decides how long you should work out. If you’re just starting, you might need more time to get used to exercise. People who’ve been athletes for a while can handle tougher and longer workouts. It also goes the other way. Beginners might need to do 12 sets to see results, while experienced athletes might need 15 sets or more.
As you get fitter, slowly make your workouts longer and harder. Pay attention to your body and rest enough between workouts to prevent overtraining and injuries.
Balancing cardiovascular and strength training
A good workout should include both activities for your heart and muscles. Activities like running, swimming, or cycling are good for your heart and help you build endurance. Strength training makes your muscles stronger, bones healthier, and your body burn calories faster.
Cardio workouts are often longer than strength workouts. That’s why you build more endurance when you exercise in the lower heart rate zones (aerobic) compared to the higher ones (maximum effort or HIIT). Doing both kinds of exercises makes sure you have a balanced and healthy fitness routine.
Individual preferences and enjoyment
The best workout length depends a lot on what you like and what makes you happy. If you don’t like long hours at the gym, shorter, intense workouts might work better for you.
On the other hand, if you enjoy longer sessions with different exercises and methods, that could be the right choice. In the end, it’s more important to keep going and stick to a routine you like than worrying too much about how long each workout is.
Workout length based on the muscle group trained
You don’t need to spend the same amount of time working on your arms and legs. To work on your arms, you can do 10 sets with short breaks and finish in about 30 minutes. But for your legs, you might need 15 sets or more to work all the muscles and longer breaks, which could take around an hour or even longer.
So, how long your workout is will depend on what muscles you’re training. Smaller muscles need less time than bigger ones.
Your workout time depends on your personality.
If you have lots of energy or ADHD, and I say we’ll do a 2-hour leg workout with 3-minute breaks between sets, you’d think I’m crazy. Energetic people prefer shorter and more intense workouts to use up that energy.
If you’re patient, you might be fine with a workout lasting over 90 minutes and taking your time. Your personality affects how long your workout should be, so choose what suits you.