How Long Should My Workout REALLY Be? | Workout Wednesday

"How long should my workout really be?"

This is a question I am asked typically as soon as I send out a plan to a client. Here is my full answer in detail…

First, what in the world are we “timing” anyway? This is always the first thing that pops into my head when someone asks me exactly how long their workout should take. What do you mean by “workout?” What exactly are we timing? 

  • Time spent doing actual work sets?
  • Time spent doing warm-up sets?
  • Time spent resting between sets?
  • Time spent doing pre workout mobility stuff?
  • Time spent foam rolling and stretching? 

Seems kind of silly now, doesn’t it? There’s just a whole lot of stuff going on at the gym, some of which isn’t even fully in our control, but all of which can add up and make a significant difference in terms of how long your workouts end up taking.

  • A basic full body workout for a beginner will be short. It may take just 30 minutes to complete. A full body workout for someone advanced could take twice as long… maybe even three times as long.
  • An upper body workout will usually last longer than a lower body workout, just based solely on the fact that there is more stuff to train (chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps vs quads, hams, calves).

For all of these reasons and all of the reasons mentioned before — many of which are out of our control — it becomes pretty obvious that the concept of there being some universally ideal amount of time everyone’s workouts should take is, well, silly. 

So then how long should my workouts be? The very best answer I can possibly give you to this question is actually another question. And that question is: who cares? Seriously! The amount of time your workouts take is something that just doesn’t matter at all, and it’s not something you need to be paying much (if any) attention to.

The one and only thing that matters is that your overall workout program and each individual workout within that program is designed correctly and intelligently for your specific goals and needs. As long as that has been done, your workouts will take exactly as long as they should be taking. Whatever amount of time that takes… THAT’S exactly as long as it should have taken!