How Long Should My Workout Be?

How Long Workout Image

Stephen Holt, Timonium personal trainer

Millions of readers of national fitness magazines including Shape, Women's Health, Fitness. Woman's Day, Family Circle, Runner's World, (and many others) have made their exercise programs both more effective AND more efficient with fitness and nutrition advice from "America's Baby Boomer Expert," Stephen Holt.

Seems like everyone who calls me has the same question …

“How long are your workouts?”

Or the cringeworthy,
“Do you do 30-minute workouts OR 60-minute workouts?”

[Yes, I literally cringe every time I hear that. There are other numbers. And just as viable.]

It’s not your fault. Many trainers think that way too.

Back when I was the Education Director at the MAC (now ACAC), one of my duties was creating the contract we used with clients. Part of that contract delineated “55-minute sessions.”

The “extra” five minutes was supposed to allow us to prepare for the next client. As an over-deliverer, however, I gave every client 60 minutes in an effort to give them even more than they paid for.

One day I noticed a trainer doing what I was allowed to call “a poorly chosen exercise.” [My main duty was to advise the fitness staff in a positive and non-judgmental manner.]

When I asked her why she did that particular exercise, she said she “needed some fluff to fill out the hour.”

On the surface, it might feel like “a full” 60 minutes is getting your money’s worth, but filling that hour with fluff isn’t helping you at all.

In fact (as we discussed in a recent issue), you’re better off with a shorter workout and taking advantage of having more time to recover.

Again, results happen in your recovery, NOT in the workout itself.

Work hard. Recover harder.

So, how long is a workout?

As long as it takes to elicit results – and no longer. [In the sciences we call this the Minimal Effective Dosage.]

There’s no magic in 60-minutes. The length of your workout is based on your customized program.

Final answer:
“The workout is the workout.” 😉


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