How long should your workouts actually last?  Probably not as long as you think

How long should your workouts actually last? Probably not as long as you think

Juggling work and family responsibilities can take a lot of mental and physical energy. And let’s be honest: for many people, working out may seem like a luxury rather than a necessity. If you don’t have a lot of free time to work out, but want to make sure you get your steps in, you’re probably curious about how long it takes to reap the rewards of exercise. How long should workouts lastIn any event?

Here’s the minimum amount of time you need to spend training to see results, according to trainers.

How long your workouts should be


A good rule of thumb is to aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio three to four days a week. If you are trying to lose weight; prolonged, intense cardio sessions of 45-60 minutes are more effective for weight loss than shorter, moderate-intensity workouts Michael Jonespersonal trainer, movement and mobility specialist, explains.

Related: Here’s How Much Cardio You Really Need To Do Each Week To Lose Weight


Most weightlifting routines last between 45 and 60 minutes, with warm-ups and cool-downs. If you’re just starting out, you might want your workouts to be shorter (30 to 40 minutes) until you get a feel for how your body reacts to lifting weights, Jones says. As you become more experienced, you can gradually increase the length of your workouts.


If you are new to strength training, start with shorter workouts and gradually increase the duration as you feel more comfortable with the exercises. A general rule of thumb is to aim for 30 to 60 minutes per session, but even shorter workouts can be effective if done consistently and with intensity, Jones says.

Why overdoing it can be problematic

While the occasional hour-long workout is fine, in general, workouts should only last about 45 minutes. This counts for almost any workout, from cardiovascular workouts to strength training, Matt ScarfoNASM and Precision Nutrition Pn1 certified personal trainer, states.

This is because workouts longer than 45 minutes can actually put you at risk for adverse effects such as cortisol buildup from excessive stress, energy debt from glycogen loss, dehydration, and injury. due to poor form. If you are a long-distance cardio athlete like a runner or cyclist, you may need to practice running for longer periods of time to train for your runs.

When training for these events, be sure to do so with plenty of rest and recovery before and after the event, with plenty of fuel and intra-workout hydration during your session to keep your muscles fueled and your brain alert.

How many days a week should you train?

As a general rule, it’s best to start with two or three weekly workouts and gradually increase the frequency, says Jones, and adds that intense workouts more than four times a week aren’t necessary.

It is also important to listen to your body. If you feel too tired or sore, stop exercising for a day or two.

Related: These Workouts May Suppress Appetite, New Research Shows

How long to rest between workouts

If you are just starting to train, your body will need more time to recover than someone who is already fit.

For beginners, it is recommended to wait 48 hours between strength/weightlifting workouts. This gives your muscles time to repair and rebuild, Jones says.

As you get fitter, you can start reducing the rest time between workouts. For people who are already fit, 24 to 48 hours of rest is often sufficient. However, everyone is different; some people may need more or less time to recover, Jones adds.

If your body feels tired, you experience muscle soreness, or you are tired, you can skip a workout to give yourself more recovery time. However, if you’re feeling fresh, there’s no reason you can’t train every other day or every day, Scarfo says.

To ensure that you recover well, be sure to eat plenty, including carbohydrates and protein, to give your body the energy and tools it needs to recover. Prioritize sleep, too, so your body can rebuild while you rest, says Scarfo. Human growth hormone is essential for building muscle and is released during deep sleep, so aim to shoot for eight to nine hours a night for best results.

Next Up: Actual Exercise Is Only Part Of The Equation: Here’s What To Eat For Your Most Intense Workout Ever


  • Michael Jones, personal trainer, movement and mobility specialist

  • Matt Scarfo, NASM and Precision Nutrition Pn1 Certified Personal Trainer

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