Short Workouts vs Long Workouts

Short Workouts vs Long Workouts – Which is Better?

Woman Performing Squats

When it comes to exercising, the majority of people who want results give up before the journey has even begun. The major reason for this failure is time restraints. We all have busy lives and sometimes can’t figure out how to fit an hour long workout into our schedule. This is where the possibility of mini workouts comes into play. By the time you are done reading this article, you will have a different outlook on how long you should be working out to achieve the results you desire.

The Benefits of a Mini Workout:  Overview

Do you remember seeing those late 90s infomercials where you could lose weight performing a 15 minute workout? Or perhaps you recall recent ads where you can achieve ripped abs in just 10 minutes a day? This is not the type of workout I am describing when I discuss mini-workouts.  If you perform the correct type of exercises in a timely fashion, you can get a great mini workout in as little as 15 minutes. A mini workout should take 10 to 15 minutes, utilize multiple muscles for each exercise and have little to no rest period.

Benefits of a Mini Workout:

  • Quick
  • Efficient
  • Cuts out useless exercises and wasted rest periods
  • Burns calories and promotes muscle growth as fast and efficiently as possible

Remember that the majority of weight loss and muscle growth happens alongside of a very balanced and proper diet. I am not stating you can’t achieve results without a proper diet, but it certainly accelerates the process. Experts say that at least 50% of our physical changes occur through our nutrition and not our completion of a workout routine. Especially for athletes, without proper nutrition your will not experience peak performance.

What about Long Workouts?

Let’s break down a standard one hour workout completed by a typical fitness enthusiast:

Typical 1 hour Workout:

  • 5-10 minutes of warm up
  • 45-55 minutes of exercises
  • 5-10 minutes of cool down stretching
  • 55 – 75 minutes: total time

That time does not include taking pre-workout supplements. While longer workouts allow you to get the exercise completed for the day in one lump of time, it requires a serious time commitment on a consistent basis, which is the reason for such a high failure rate.

How Hard to Push and YOU

Very briefly I’ll go over the importance of being in the target heart rate zone for exercising. If you fall under the target heart rate zone then you’re quite honestly wasting your time. Calories are only burned when the body needs to work harder to produce energy. Here is a simple formula to get an estimate of your target heart rate zone.

Calculate Heart Rate Zone

Formula: 220 – (your age) = estimate max heart rate

Remember that this number is only an estimate. However, this gives you a rough idea of your max heart rate. Most fitness professionals recommend 55-85% of your max heart rate to be your target zone. Staying in this number during exercising will promote the best changes for muscle growth and weight loss.


The Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health recommends at least 150 minutes of exercise per WEEK. Assuming we do a 5 day split with 2 days rest you are looking at 5 sessions of 30 minutes each. Now, break that down into three 10 minute workouts per day and you can start to see the positive benefits of exercising through mini workouts. Mini workouts are easier to work into a busy schedule, easier on your joints, prevents over training, and allows you to maintain a higher energy level throughout the day.

Give mini workouts a try for a couple weeks and see for yourself!

About the Author:

This article was written by Sergeant Michael Volkin, military fitness expert and inventor of Strength Stack 52, fitness cards that turn body weight exercises into a fun competitive mini workout.



Author Profile: Michael Volkin Michael Volkin is a U.S. Army veteran, author, and entrepreneur. He served as a sergeant in Operation Enduring/Iraqi Freedom as a Chemical Operations Specialist where he received an Army Commendation Medal. He has a Master’s degree in Science and has authored four books in three genres. His best-selling book, The Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook, prepares recruits for military basic training. He is also the inventor of Strength Stack 52, bodyweight fitness cards designed for military personnel.

Disclaimer: The views of the author are his or her own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Ask The Trainer.
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