Everyone who has just started working out at a local gym has the same question on their mind: how long should I stay at the gym. Sadly, there’s no universal answer. It all depends on what you’re trying to achieve, whether it’s weight loss, strength training or just your daily dose of activity with no end goal. It also depends on the intensity of the training and a lot of personal factors.
However, while there is no universal answer to this question, there are still some general rules you can follow and see if they fit your training goals. Read on to learn more about how long your gym sessions should ideally last according to your training routine.
General Fitness Sessions: 60 Minutes
Fitness sessions are great for your health and for staying in shape. They are also a great way to fight stress and improve your general wellbeing. Still, believe it or not, there’s such thing as overdoing your fitness sessions.
A study conducted in 2005 evaluated the effects of different fitness training times, taking into account 40, 80 and 120-minute moderate workouts on a treadmill. The results of the study showed an increase in cortisol, known as the stress hormone, after a 120-minute session. Even though it’s true that our body needs cortisol to function, higher levels of cortisol have been linked to a lot of negative side effects like weight gain and cognitive issues.
According to this study, the ideal time for a fitness session is between 40 minutes and an hour. Anything longer than that could lead to increased stress levels. It can also affect your testosterone levels and hinder your muscle building efforts. With fitness sessions, it’s also important to take into account the intensity of the exercises.
High-Intensity Interval Training: 10 Minutes
High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT is famous for delivering results much faster than standard training cardio sessions. However, due to its extremely high intensity, you should be cautious about how much time you spend exercising. While you might be tempted to work out longer and improve your results, even more, a study conducted in 1994 has shown that longer and frequent HIIT sessions can have side-effects like mood swings, sleeping disorders and decreased performance. With this type of exercise, it’s important to give your body the time to recover. Therefore, 10 minute HIIT sessions are generally enough.
Strength Training: Between 30 and 60 Minutes
If you want your strength training to yield benefits, you should limit your strength training workouts between 30 and 60 minutes. Single sets have been shown to deliver equally effective results in building strength and promoting muscle growth as multiple sessions. And while you should take this with a pinch of salt as not all of us were built equally, it is a good starting point when planning your strength training workouts.
Keeping your strength training workouts shorter will also ensure your body doesn’t strain. With strength training, quality is more important than quality. Therefore, by making your workouts as effective as possible during those 30 to 60 minutes, your strength training will give better results.
To sum up, while there’s no universal time for each of these sessions, there are some rules based on extensive studies you can follow to make the most out of your gym time.