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How Long Should Your Workout Be For Optimal Results?

By Dr. Juan Salinas

Among the many training-related questions, one inquiry sticks out again and again:

“How long should my workout be?” 

At first glance, the question is perfectly logical and practical. People aren’t looking for a shortcut or an ancient secret to muscle gains and fat loss. Instead, they simply need a realistic guideline for the length of each session.

But, upon closer inspection, that simple question hides multiple answers. So, let’s discuss.


How Long Should My Workout Be?

The short answer here is that it depends. Yes, everyone would love a specific response to the seemingly simple question, but things don’t work that way. 

On average, the suitable length of time for a workout is between 40 and 60 minutes for most trainees, but the exact length will depend on factors like:

  • Goals
  • Fitness level
  • Intensity
  • Frequency
  • Nutrition

Let’s break down each of these and how they might influence your workout length.


Five Factors That Play a Role In How Long Your Workouts Should Be

1. Goals 

Those with general goals like improving their functional fitness could benefit from shorter workouts. In contrast, trainees dedicated to building the most muscle possible might need to train for over an hour each time they are at the gym. 

2. Fitness Level

Folks new to training enjoy quick progress without doing much because they aren’t used to that specific stress. But, as people gain experience, build muscle, and get stronger, progress slows down, and improvements occur more slowly.

To counter that, more advanced trainees often have to do more training and push themselves harder, increasing their sessions length.

3. Intensity

Training at a higher intensity allows you to do more work in less time, so you don’t have to dedicate as much time to exercise. In contrast, a lower intensity workout would also have to be longer for you to cause the necessary disruption to keep making progress.

For example, a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout might only take you 15 minutes. In contrast, you might have to jog for an hour to burn enough calories and make it worth the while.

4. Frequency

Just as intensity dictates workout length, so does the frequency. The less frequently you train, the longer each session should be to cause the necessary stimulus for you to make progress to your goals. In contrast, the more regularly you exercise, the shorter each workout can (and should) be. Those training daily might only need to exercise for 20 minutes to accumulate the necessary volume and cause an adequate stimulus.

5. Nutrition

Your nutrition (and related goals) will also significantly affect how long each workout should be. For example, let’s say you’re in a calorie deficit to lose some fat. In that case, your workouts should be slightly shorter and less demanding to make up for your impaired recoverability. In contrast, eating more food to gain weight and build muscle would allow you to train harder and longer.



There you have it. As with most things, your workout length will depend on numerous factors. But, aside from paying attention to your training, you should also look at your nutritional habits and see what improvements you can make. 

P-Nuff Crunch is one snack we recommend for active individuals because it tastes great, offers a rich nutritional profile - including complete protein, is low in calories, and helps you reap great benefits from your training.