Gym-goers generally fall into two camps – those who cram in a super speedy session before work or in their lunch break, and those who treat a gym session like a day out, lounging between sets, taking breathers, stretching for hours.
But what’s actually best for your body? How long should you be working out for?
Obviously, there are lots of factors at play – schedule being a huge part of that.
Most busy millennials work demanding hours and often have long commutes – fitting in a workout between your social obligations and your side-hustle can be a monumental challenge.
For people like this – speed is of the essence. A 20-minute power run? Sign us up? A HIIT class that’s 30-minutes or less? Ideal.
But should we be putting more time into our fitness regimes? Is it more beneficial to spend an hour, or more, in the gym?
‘All too often people look at “goals” and how to achieve them based on other people’s values and not their own, which is why it’s important to do an ecology check before hand,’ says Charlotte De Curtis, personal trainer and founder of Too Hottie Coaching.
‘The way I coach my clients is by the guideline: there isn’t an optimum, only what’s optimum for you.
‘I would rather my clients train three times a week for 40 minutes consistently, for example, and do three amazing sessions that fit around their lives, rather than struggling to slaughter themselves with an average training session every day that they dread doing or that contributes to their, already unmanageable, daily stresses.
‘If it’s stressing you out, it’s not self-care.’
The NHS recommends that adults aged between 19 and 64 get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity – such as cycling or brisk walking – every week.
That’s 30-minutes every week day, or three 50-minute sessions per week. Pretty manageable when you look at it like that.
But that is the bare minimum – and if you’re working towards specific training goals, you might need to look at finding time for some extra workout minutes where you can.
‘Initially I always help clients get clear on what they want their life to look like and find their “why” before we even start looking at training for the goal,’ says Charlotte.
‘This makes sure that what they want to achieve is aligned to their values, their home life and getting an achievable balance.’
When you have a specific goal it can be tempting to just spend longer in the gym – but pushing your body to the extreme isn’t always the healthiest thing to do. Rest days are vital for building overall health, and ignoring your body’s need for rest can lead to burnout.
‘Although working out can be great for mental health, there is evidence to suggest that working out for too long, too hard and too often, not only hinders muscular recovery but contributes to hormonal imbalances leaving you feeling more tired, hungry and more stressed than when you started,’ explains Charlotte.
‘The best advice I can give is listen to your body and your intuition and don’t be afraid to go with the flow of your life.
‘Some weeks you might be full of energy and raring to go and other weeks due to life commitments, work, children, you’re just not feeling it.
‘We live in a culture of “go hard or go home” where our motivation should be constantly at it’s peak, but after thirteen years of coaching women in this area I believe, as an industry, we need to promote consistency and balance, rather than perfectionism – get away from the notion that there is an optimum at all.’
To the people who brag about spending three hours in the gym every Sunday – what are you actually doing there?
Posing in the mirrors, texting your mates on a stationary treadmill and watching Instagram stories doesn’t actually count as a workout you know.
Annoyingly, it looks the answer to this question varies for everyone.
The perfect length of your workout depends on your fitness level, what kind of exercise you’re doing and what you’re trying to achieve.
Hit your recommended 150 minutes of weekly activity, and see what you can build on from there – but, as ever, listen to your body.
I am Team GB
Toyota has teamed up with Team GB to re-launch the hugely successful participation campaign ‘I am Team GB’.
Inspired by the achievements of Team GB athletes and the amazing efforts of local community heroes, Team GB has created ‘The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day’, which will take place on the 24thAugust.
Over the weekend, there will be hundreds of free and fun activities across the country, put on by an army of volunteers; the ‘I am Team GB Games Makers’.
To Join the Team and be part of The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day sign up at: www.IAmTeamGB.com
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