Updated: Aug 24
When it comes to exercise, finding the right balance can be a real challenge. On one hand, we want to push ourselves to achieve our fitness goals, but on the other hand, we don't want to overdo it and risk burnout or injury. So, the question "how long should I workout for?" is one that many individuals ponder. In this article, we'll explore the factors that influence the ideal workout duration and help you discover the sweet spot that suits your unique needs and goals.
Understanding Your Fitness Goals
Before determining the optimal workout duration/#of classes per week, it's essential to consider your fitness objectives. Are you aiming to improve cardiovascular endurance, build muscle, lose weight, or maintain overall health? Different goals call for varying workout lengths and intensity levels.
For general fitness and health maintenance, experts recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week, spread across several sessions. If you are doing our 60-minute classes, that translates to 4-5 classes/week. However, if you have specific goals like training for a marathon or gaining significant muscle mass, you may need to invest more time in your workouts.
Quality Over Quantity
While setting a specific time frame for your workouts is important, the quality of your exercise routine matters just as much, if not more. A well-designed workout that targets different movement patterns and includes warm-up and cool-down periods can be more effective in achieving results than simply extending the duration of your session. Luckily, if you're regularly taking class, warm-ups, cool-downs, skill sessions to move better, and personalized coaching are all baked into the class. You just have to focus on putting in the effort!
Hitting a plateau just doing an hour a day? Sometimes more doesn't always mean better. Make sure you are working with your coach to appropriately scale the workout to get the right intensity. Intensity is the greatest driver of adaptation, more so than volume.
Listen to Your Body
Every individual is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Pay attention to your body's signals and adjust your workout duration accordingly. These signals look like excessive soreness, fatigue throughout the day, trouble sleeping, and a lack of coordination and speed. Over time, you'll learn to recognize when you need to push yourself harder and when you need to take a break to prevent injury or fatigue. Avoid dramatic increases in volume or intensity, especially when starting out. It is better to ramp into working out early on in your fitness journey to ensure you can come in repeatedly than to bury yourself and be too sore to move for several days after.
Balancing Conditioning and Strength Training
An ideal workout routine to develop overall fitness should strike a balance between cardiovascular conditioning and strength training. Conditioning workouts elevate your heart rate and promote overall cardiovascular health, while strength training helps build muscle, increase metabolism, and improve bone density. Aim for a mix of both to attain a well-rounded fitness regimen. Our Crossfit classes develop a variety of movement patterns and styles of training to develop a well-rounded fitness while keeping things interesting.
Progressive Overload for Long-Term Success
Regardless of the duration of your workouts, one key principle to keep in mind is progressive overload. This means gradually increasing the intensity, duration, or complexity of your workouts to challenge your body and continue making progress. Whether it's adding more weight to your lifts or running an extra mile, this incremental approach will help you avoid plateaus and achieve sustained results. If you are still improving from your workout routine, be wary of adding more volume...or in short, if it isn't broken, don't try and fix it.
Recovery and Rest
Equally important as the duration of your workouts is the time you dedicate to rest and recovery. Muscles need time to repair and grow stronger after being subjected to the stress of exercise. Failing to allow sufficient rest can lead to burnout, injuries, and hinder progress. Make sure to incorporate rest days into your weekly routine and prioritize getting enough sleep for optimal recovery. When starting out, we recommend a schedule of two-three days on and one day off of our classes. Once you are several weeks in you can adjust accordingly.
At the end of the day, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question, "How long should I workout for?" The optimal workout duration varies depending on individual goals, fitness levels, and schedules. Remember to focus on the quality of your workouts, listen to your body, and strike a balance between different types of exercises. By doing so, you can create a sustainable and effective fitness routine that helps you reach your goals and enjoy a healthier, more active lifestyle.
If you're having a hard time knowing where to begin with your fitness journey, we'd love to help you out. Book a free call with one of our coaches to get your questions answered by clicking "free trial" in the top right of the screen here. We'd love to chat!
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