Oftentimes, you might hear from a colleague that they have been spending more than an hour in the gym. At certain times, you might feel insecure about yourself whether or not you are doing just fine on your gym workout sessions. So, exactly how long should you work out?
We wrote this article to help you figure out just how much time you should spend at the gym. After all, it can be a bit overwhelming to see a plethora of recommendations out there on the internet or from your friend. Let’s break down the factors affecting the length of your gym sessions.
How much time should I spend at the gym?
Generally speaking, going to the gym for more than an hour will exhaust you badly and it could even damage your health. Make sure you also have a warm-up for about 5 minutes before you do any kind of physical activity because this will protect your muscles and bones from getting shocked.
Most trainers will tell you that at least 30 minutes of going to the gym will be okay, so long as you don’t make yourself suffer too much. The amount of time you should spend working out is largely dependent on your fitness levels so don’t feel ashamed if you don’t work out as frequently as your friend.
Now that we told you about those facts, the amount of time that you should spend in the gym depends on various factors and there is no exact right answer at times. It depends on key factors, and we will list them down below:
Type of training that you want
Generally, there are two types of training programs that most trainers recommend: strength and hypertrophy. Strength training focuses on building up power while hypertrophy is more suited for those looking for gains.
Their training programs are different because you want specific results for them. For instance, the number of reps, time for rest, and fitness level come into play. What you want depends on your goals, although some people incorporate both in their program and routine.
As mentioned above, the type of training can also be mixed and matched. While we already mentioned that strength training is mostly for athletes and hypertrophy is good for those who just want to build their muscles, weight loss is a different story and can vary.
Most trainers recommend a hypertrophy training style but the weight can either be low on high or could even be alternated. The number of reps also mostly depends on the fitness level of the person who wants to lose weight.
How do I know the amount of time I should spend at the gym?
The general formula for finding out your ideal workout time goes like this: multiply your time under tension (when you use your muscles) by the number of sets, then do the same for rest time (multiply by the number of sets). Then, add them together with your 5-minute warm-up and that should be your recommended total gym time.
With that in mind, you should know what kind of program or training method you are doing to calculate just how much time you should spend at the gym. Let’s look at these two:
Strength training is for getting better at lifting weights. This type of training usually involves heavier weights (since you are going to enhance your strength, after all). A session mostly made for strength training will only have about four to eight reps per workout type, usually at around 12 sets.
You can increase the number of sets as you go and if your body is ready for it. Strength training also involves longer rest periods since you will want to gather all of your power during these breaks to be able to either lift or exert effort in your workout.
The tempo used for a time under tension for strength training is usually one second up and down (or two seconds downwards) because enhancing your strength needs to be done in a faster manner in comparison to working out for gains.
Suppose you have 8 reps in one set and you have a 3-second tempo, which gives us 24 seconds for the set. Multiply the number of sets you want to do, which gives you the time under tension. If you do 12 reps, you get 288 seconds or 4.8 minutes.
The recommended rest time for strength training should be 1.5 to 2 minutes. Let’s say you are a beginner and want to have a 2-minute break. Multiply it by your 12 sets and you get 24 minutes. Using the formula above, that means you should do 33.8 minutes of workout with those given variables.
Hypertrophy is for building muscle mass (a.k.a. getting gains). These types of workouts focus more on higher reps to specifically target muscle groups. The tempo you should use for hypertrophy or muscle gains should be slower in comparison to strength training.
Typically, you’d want a tempo of 4 seconds for a single set. If you do about 10 reps, it results in 40 seconds, which is barely a minute. Multiply it to the number of sets you want (we’ll go with 12 again, for example) and get 480 seconds or 8 minutes.
The rest time during hypertrophy, on the other hand, should be shorter. Let’s say that you have a 1-minute rest, which you multiply with your number of sets, in which you get 12 minutes. Adding the warm-up, you get 25 minutes for hypertrophy training with the variables we mentioned.
There is no universal length of time that you should spend on the gym, but it shouldn’t be longer than an hour! A total of 20 to 30 minutes is the usual norm, which includes your rest and warm-up times so that you don’t overwork your muscles or spend too much wasted time at the gym.
Always take into consideration the type of workout you want, your fitness level, your goals, and other factors before you decide how much time you should spend at the gym. We hope that this guide helped you out!