One question we get asked a lot at EVO is: “how long should my workout at the gym be?”. Of course, we’d all love to hear that five minutes of sweating is all we need for a long life and godlike physique. And while we know this news would be welcomed with open arms, it’s far from the truth.
The truth is that the answer is different for every person. Sleep and nutrition are vastly important to the length of your workouts – if you’re eating rubbish and not getting eight hours of shut-eye, you’ll struggle training regularly and burn out.
Other factors can influence the time you spend at your local club, including the actual quality put into your routine, your physical abilities, equipment used, and your fitness and health goals.
There is no definitive answer. But this guide will give you a rough idea, looking closely at different workout goals – whether you’re bulking up or shedding fat.
National Health Service recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week, as well as two strength-building exercises that focus on your major muscles.
If we’re looking at how long your workout at the gym should be, this could be broken down into six half-hour sessions a week, with one rest day. Three of those sessions could be strength training, while the other three focus on cardio.
While not everyone can fit in this kind of routine, everyone has time to exercise. There are other ways to squeeze in your 150 minutes. One is to perform more vigorous activities for a shorter period of time: sprinting, aerobics, gymnastics and warrior ropes all make you breathe harder and faster.
A rule of thumb is that one minute of working out hard gives you the same benefits of two minutes of moderate exercise. So feel free to cut your time in the gym in half: just work at double the intensity for the same results.
Turn up the intensity – a solid 30-to-45 minutes of purposeful training, three to five days a week, is better than a longer and less focused session. Be sure to spend 10 minutes warming up and another 10 cooling down and stretching. The quality of your workout is crucial for weight loss. Functional movements such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, rows and other core work can burn calories even after you leave the gym and supercharge your fat torching.
When it comes to bulking up, less is more. To stimulate the growth of muscle cells and get stronger, hit the gym hard and get out. Spend no longer than one hour weight training, including warm-up time. Try this 15-minute barbell workout for serious muscle sculpting, performing each movement as quickly as possible with proper form.
It’s crucial to take a rest day between weightlifting sessions to give your muscles time to recover and grow. Rest days also prevent you from overloading your joints or tearing a tendon. Two days in a row is the maximum you should be doing consecutive weights workouts, unless you’re an experienced lifter.