How Long to Exercise for Your Best Female Figure

The idea that a longer workout = more fatloss and a better body is about as outdated as wearing a thong leotard over spandex tights to the gym. The fact is that quick workouts have been the standard for quick fatloss and a lean toned body for well over 10 years.

BUT the guidelines on when to go long and when to make it a quick workout are not as clear for most people. Here are 3 practical tips on long vs. quick workouts plus all the reasons why you need a little bit of both.

How Long to Exercise Tip #1: When Longer Workouts are Best for Your Body & Goals

The top reason a longer workout is better is endurance. Anybody who is training for a long race, endurance sport, or going on an adventure tour that will involve a lot of walking, hiking, biking, and/or kayaking will benefit greatly from longer workouts.

A long workout is considered anything that’s over 45 minutes in length and can last up to 2-3 hours. This type of duration builds the stamina and endurance necessary for hours of activity and prepares you psychologically and emotionally for long periods of activity as well.

Some days I go walk for 3-4 hours so that I can build endurance to do steep 8-10 mile hikes that take all a day. How long to exercise should be based on your fitness goals, lifestyle and preferred activities.

The second reason a longer workout is better is when the workout is being used to recover from an illness, surgery, injury or stress.  A longer workout allows you to work at a slower less intense pace and minimizes additional stress on the body so your body recovers faster.  The best length for this type of workout is 45-90 minutes at a moderate to lower pace.

Most weeks I do one 60-90 min. yoga practice because my body needs that much stretching to stay injury free. How long to exercise depends on what your body needs right now to get or stay healthy!

The only reason longer is necessary in these situations is that working at a slower pace means you need more time to fit in all the exercises necessary for recovery including mobility exercises, strength, endurance, balance and flexibility.

How Long to Exercise Tip #2: Sometimes Quick Intense Workout get better results

There are actually hundreds of reasons to opt for a quick workout instead of a longer workout but the 7 reasons below are the most important.

  • Boosts Fatloss and Results – When you train for shorter periods of time you can increase intensity big time and this boosts fat burning hormones that help your body burn stored fat for up to 48 hours after the workout. This is called the after-burn effect or metabolic effect.
  • Increases Motivation – Quick intense workouts take up less time but they produce amazing results and results are the reason most people exercise. Being able to see or experience a difference quickly without spending all your time exercising is incredibly motivating and keeps you motivated to keep going long term.
  • Keeps You Consistent – Consistency is key to improving fitness levels and burning more fat and a shorter workout that takes up less time is easier to fit into a busy schedule 5-6 days a week.
  • Makes You Efficient – One of the best things about a quick workout is that it makes you incredibly efficient and banishes time wasting breaks and distractions that reduce calories burned and fatloss.
  • Prevents Boredom – If you’re like most people you would agree that most long workouts are generally time consuming and can be boring which is often the reason people quit. With short workouts you don’t have time to be bored. It’s over faster than you think and leaves you wanting more!
  • Saves Your Joints – Long workouts are notorious for repetitive movement patterns that lead to injuries and pain syndromes. Quick workouts are short so you can train different movement patterns each day and this is much better for your joints and your posture.
  • Simplifies Your Workout – A long workout can get extremely complicated and involve dozens of exercise while a quick workout is often 6 exercises or less and this allows you to focus on fat burning intensity vs. complicated routines.

How Long to Exercise Tip #3: Most Women Need Both Long & Quick Workouts

The truth about how long to exercise is that one isn't better than the other. It really depends on your body goals, your lifestyle, your preferences, your health, and how much time and or intensity your body can handle.

The truth is workout duration should vary based on your goals but the main reason to mix it up with workout duration is to prevent fatloss and fitness plateaus.

If you're trying to burn fat and lose weight you need both quick and intense and long and moderate workouts to get results.  If you're sick or stressed and just trying to get healthy focus on moderate to lower intensity workouts of any length that allow you to do what you need to do to restore health.

If you're training for a race or endurance event or vacation focus on both long workouts to build endurance and short restorative workouts or short functional training workouts that will keep you injury free.

Still not sure how to combine long workouts & quick workouts...

Not sure how much exercise or what type of workouts will help you burn the fat and sculpt your best female figure? Get started with Your Best Female Figure and Hourglass Waist fitness plans and learn the simple way to customize your fitness routine to your body, your goal, your lifestyle and your preferences.