Workout Duration

One of the common questions I am asked is how long should a person spend in the gym? My usual response is as long as necessary for you to achieve the results you desire. This might seem like a vague answer, however what is important to remember is that the length of the workout is not as important as the intensity of the workout. As an example, let’s say that I spent twenty minutes walking on the treadmill on Mondays and ran on the treadmill for twenty minutes on Wednesdays. The time spent on the treadmill would be the same, however the Wednesday session would be more effective at burning kilocalories and provided I was in a negative energy balance, (burning more kilocalories then I take in) I would burn more bodyfat. This can be seen clearly in Athletics, sprinters and marathon runners are both extremely fit and lean, yet the sprinters training sessions will be shorter and more intense.
The same principles apply to making resistance workouts effective. In my twelve years working in the fitness industry as well as twenty years exercising in different gyms I have seen that the people with the best results are the people who keep their workouts short and intense. This is because they do not waste time talking to people for ten minutes in-between sets, they focus on their workouts then talk to people when they are done. I have found that the people who like to brag about spending three hours a time in the gym look the same year after year, simply because they spend two hours talking and put minimal effort into the time spent exercising. If your gym training is intended to improve performance for your chosen sport, then the duration in the gym will be determined by the demands of the sport. If, however you are going to the gym to feel fitter then long marathon style workouts will not be required.