How long should I workout?

I have said this before. I will say it over and over and over and hopefully reach more individuals with each post. There is no reason to workout for longer than 45 minutes to an hour. Further, surpassing one hour and 15 minutes puts you at risk of diminishing returns.

My antecedent
Recently the comment was made to one of my class attendees – why do I not make my class longer if there is no class after it. This was a gym employee, referencing me and my class. My class is an hour. 8-10 minutes to warmup 40-45 minutes of WORK and 5-10 cool down and stretch. (This is based on science, as well as the accepted exercise recommendations.)

Diminishing returns
What does that mean? In its simplest sense, it means you will continue to work but that the results will taper off. In other words – you begin working for nothing. If you are desiring weight loss, working out for a single extended period of time will not increase weight loss. If you desire strength gains, you will not see greater results from a longer workout and may even see fewer overall strength gains as a result.

Click the link for a great overview of the principles to fitness development.

A time and a place
There is a time and a place for everything. Are there situations when lengthy workouts will happen? Sure, for body building type workouts. For endurance athletes – who also refuel and train diligently and mindfully.

Unless you are an adrenaline junkie, fitness fanatic, athlete, or fitness professional, the chances are that you do not WANT to workout, let alone workout for extended periods for time (e.g., and hour or more). I cannot think of a single good reason to make a group fitness class longer than one hour. I will not set individuals up to dislike exercise. I will not set them up to see minimal to no results. I will set you up for success.

The bottomline
What is the hope from working out longer? Improved results? This is unlikely. Improved health? Research shows that you can improve health and fitness in as little as four minutes (review research by Dr. Izumi Tabata and colleagues).

Do you just want to workout for a longer period of time because you love it? Then go ahead and do it. But know that results will not improve.

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