How Much Time Should I Be Spending In The Gym?

how often should you go to the gym

So, how long should you spend in the gym? This is probably one of the most popular questions asked in fitness forums, especially for people just starting out. Unfortunately, the amount of time will vary with each person. 

There isn’t a single workout or amount of time that is generic and works for everyone no matter the size, weight, body shape, or age. I suppose it just depends.

I browsed the forums, read different books and magazines on this subject and couldn’t find a one size fits all. 

So, this article will highlight the different reasons why you should and shouldn’t be spending more time in the gym. Have a look and see which one of the points are relevant to you and your current situation.

It Depends On your Fitness Level

I have made this the first point in this article. Probably because it is the most important one to consider no matter who you are.

Everyone has different fitness levels. Some people have no problem spending 4 hours in the gym, while others can only manage one hour. It does depend on your fitness level really.

Only you will know how many hours you are comfortable training in the gym. If you can’t go on after an hour, then this would probably be your limit. However, if you feel an hour isn’t long enough and feel that you have the energy to do more than I say go for it! 

Not only does it depend on your fitness level, but it also depends on how long you can afford to spend in the gym too. 

Depending on the days and hours you work, may determine how many hours you can train in the gym at any one time.

There is an important note of caution, though. Don’t overdo it. I would even go so far as to say et some advice from a professional fitness trainer.

They should be able to determine the number of hours that is right for you. The last you thing you want is to cause injury to yourself.

The funny thing is, the more you workout, the fitter and stronger you will become. What works for you now may not work for you in six months. Your fitness level will undoubtedly change based on how frequently you exercise.

Depends On The Type Of Workout

The amount of time you workout isn’t the only factor in this equation. It also depends on the type of exercises you are doing too. 

How hard are you pushing yourself? A lot of things will depend on the intensity of your workouts. For example, if you are using a High-intensity interval training (HIIT) training program, then you probably won’t need to hit the gym as frequently as most people. 

The sheer level of intensity and impact on your body is probably the equivalent to multiple workouts. This will also determine how much time you spend in the gym. 

Using HIIT will mean you won’t need to go to the gym as often and is a nice hack for those they don’t have that much time. 

These types of workout are extremely popular for those that don’t have a lot of time and can typically squeeze these in before or after work.

If you are one of those people that loves to train, then you can always squeeze in a little light workout at the weekend if you like?

Depends On How Much Rest Time You Have

Do you remember those times when you are looking around the gym, and you see people standing around doing nothing? 

You probably think to yourself, “just look at those lazy, so and so’s.” However, there is a perfectly good reason why they are standing or walking around doing nothing. This is their rest time, and they are taking time out between sets. 

This is especially true for those that are lifting heavy weights and need a little downtime so that they can prepare for their next training session.

The amount of downtime you give yourself is significant. Not only does this allow you to get your breath back, but it also means you are resting your muscles too. 

This extra timeout allows you to get some decent stretches in and gives you time for a little recovery.

With this extra rest, time means you are likely to spend a lot longer in the gym. So, depending on the type of exercises you are doing, and the range of exercises you do will have a bearing on how much time you spend at the gym. The more rest time you have, the longer you will spend in the gym.

The Average

Did you know that the recommended time to train is 30 minutes a day, three days a week? However, if your goal is to lose weight, I’m not too sure that would be enough time. 

If losing weight is your primary motivation, then you would have to increase the amount you exercise as well as maintaining a balanced healthy diet. I did talk about this in a previous article - What Fitness Program Is Right For Me? Here’s an excerpt from it below:

What Are Your Goals?

training goalsThis is a really important question to ask yourself and will determine which road you choose to go down really.

Is the goal to feel great and look good naked, get healthy or simply be happy? The answer may be all three.

Whatever the reason is, you need to be crystal clear in your “why.” It’s only when you come to terms with this question can you move onto the next step. 

Having a collection of reasons is ideal. If the goal is to lose weight, then this isn’t a strong enough reason and not specific enough. 

The more specific, the better. The deeper you go with your emotions the easier it will be for you to push through when you feel you are struggling. It also means you are dedicated to putting both the time and effort to make it work.

Part 1 - Identify and focus on that goal

  1. I want to lose 30 pounds
  2. I want to pack 20 pounds of muscle
  3. I want to be able to fit into that dress I haven’t worn in years.

Part 2 - Write down what you feel you would accomplish

  1. What is your “why” I won’t feel embarrassed when I start dating again
  2. My life would start to improve and I will feel better about myself
  3. Who am I doing this for? My wife, my husband or myself?

Part 3 - Be realistic - How often can you train?

  1. I can train 3 days a week for a couple of hours. 
  2. I’m a single mum and can only train once a week at the weekend, probably a Saturday
  3. I’m a machine. I have no problem training every day for a few hours at a time.

Once you answer these questions honestly, then you should have a good idea of the amount of time you are going to spend in the gym. Depending on your fitness and weight loss goals, you may need either increase the frequency or the time spent in the gym.

Previous article What Fitness Goals Should I Set?

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