7, 20, 30, 45 minutes … How long do your fitness sessions need to last in order for your body to reap the benefits? In this article we give you the keys to a successful training based on the type of exercise activity and your objectives. Follow our guide to find the pace that’s right for you!
What To Take Into Consideration…
It’s difficult to determine the optimal duration of a fitness session because it depends on each individual, and will be determined by the following five factors:
- Your sports objectives
- Your skill level
- Your availability (time)
- The number of sets done
- The rest time between each set
The effectiveness of your fitness sessions does not depend on the length of time that you devote to them but rather their regularity, your technique, and how much motivation you put into your training. Simply take the needed time and listen to your body. Bear in mind that the length of your session should not become an obstacle that keeps you from making progress.
Before Training: Warm Up
Whatever fitness exercise programme you choose, you should always start with a warm-up. It should last 5 to 10 minutes. Do some cardio exercises and functional movements. The goal is to gradually raise your heart rate, warm up your muscles one by one, and get your joints moving.
For weight training sessions, you can do a few reps with weights in order to get your body used to the load.
The key is to get there gradually without rushing your body. A good warm-up will prevent risk of injury.
How Long Should A Cardio Session Be?
A cardio training session allows you to burn energy while building your cardiovascular endurance and improving your breathing. Find out how long your cardio training sessions should last based on the goals you wish to reach:
Objective 1: Getting back into a sport, or physical rehabilitation. The goal of this training is to maintain your fitness level and limit how much fat your body stores.
- Activity: walking, slow cycling, seating spinning
- Intensity: low
- Duration: start with one 30 minute session per day, then increase it to 45 minutes (at least 3 times a week in order to get results).
Objective 2: Weight loss The goal of this training activity is to burn calories.
- Activity: running, exercise bike, cross trainer
- Intensity: medium
- Duration: a 40-minute session 2 or 3 times a week, then increase the length and frequency of your sessions based on your progress.
Objective 3: Increase your performance, and cardiovascular and lung capacities.
- Activity: sprint, interval training, cycling
- Intensity: high
- Duration: a 20-30 minute session 2 or 3 times a week with a 48 hour recovery time between each session.
Please note: As you increase your performance, your body will need more energy to keep your muscles nourished. So your muscles will burn more calories and you are continuously increasing your metabolism.
How Long Should A Weights Training Session Be?
Unlike cardio training sessions which are measured by time spent, body-building or weight training sessions are measured by the number of sets and reps performed for each exercise. You should adjust this number based on your goals and skill level—progress gradually! Don’t forget to repeat each exercise on both the left and right sides.
Objective 1: muscle strengthening and endurance
- Duration: 6 to 10 sets of 12 to 20 reps each, for each exercise
- Load: minimal
- Rest time between each set: 30 seconds
Objective 2: body-building (aesthetics)
- Duration: 6 to 10 sets of 8 to 10 reps each, for each exercise
- Load: medium
- Rest time between each set: 1-1/2 minutes. Allow 48 hours of recovery before working out the same muscle group again.
Objective 3: muscle strength
- Duration: 6 to 10 sets of 3 to 6 reps each, for each exercise
- Load: heavy
- Rest time between each set: 2 to 3 minutes. Allow 48 hours of recovery before working out the same muscle group again.
After Training: Cool-down and Recovery
For a full and effective session, remember to take a few minutes to cool down in order to gradually lower your heart rate. Use your cool down to stretch your muscles with some stretching exercises to prevent your muscles from aching.
Recovery time is also critical! Your muscles need time to repair and rebuild between training sessions. You should adjust your recovery time based on the intensity of the muscular effort made during your session.
Lastly, in order to get the most out of your effort, avoid working out the same part of your body or the same muscle group two days in a row.
So as you can see, it’s difficult to specify a particular time that an effective fitness session should last. It all depends on your objectives and skill level. Listen to your body and keep a regular schedule for whatever training programme you follow. The ball’s in your court!