One of the most asked questions when starting out in the gym, or if you’re looking at starting up a new routine, is “just how long should my workouts last?” A lot of this comes down to individual factors, the intensity of the workout, the type of workout or what your goals are etc. so here’s a basic outline that should help…
For the sake of maximizing your strength and growth, you’ll find that keeping your strength training sessions around 30-60 minutes will give the best results for your time. Age and avoiding overtraining (or under recovering) also play a big role here, so the 30-60 minutes is the norm to help balance the results:recovery protocol. High-volume workouts (utilizing a lot of sets, exercises or heavy weights) are often associated with central nervous fatigue that can lead to reduced performance, illness, and mood issues, so try to focus on quality over quantity.
Aerobic (cardio) Workouts
Cardio is great for your health and fitness, but you should look to try and keep your cardio workouts under the 60 minute mark. Just like with strength training, doing too much each time you work out can increase the levels of the stress hormone (cortisol) in your body…this can lead to muscle loss (which can lower your metabolic rate to burn fat), as well as effect your overall performance. Studies have shown that 40-60 minute cardio workouts seemed to have the best overall effects on the body.
Obviously there’s a few outliers here…for example if you’re training for an endurance race you may need to clock up more time in the gym. Or if you’re doing a HiiT workout, these tend to be much more intense on your body and therefore should be kept to roughly 10-20 minutes on a cardio machine. Higher intensity needs more time to recover therefore short and sweet is key there!
There’s no exact set time as to how long you should be working out as there are so many factors that play a part in it, but these are the general guidelines should give you a good indicator for where to start. Supplementation, nutrition, adequate recovery can all help your work out more often and more intense, but the key here is to balance effectiveness while avoiding over-training. Set up your gym protocol so that it works for your goals, needs and lifestyle.