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Personal Training Session Length

Posted Sep 21 2011 5:23pm

When it comes to workouts, sometimes less is more. Most personal trainers sell only hour long personal training sessions. I have a bit of a different philosophy when it comes to session length.

Most of my San Diego personal training clients and those who come to my Del Mar personal training studio workout with me for 30 minute sessions. In fact, I don’t offer sessions that are longer than 45 minutes anymore. Why, might you ask? Through my hands on testing with clients over a three year period, the clients who train with me for shorter session times see faster and better results. They are also less likely to get injured and less likely to build-up unsightly bulky muscles while freeing up more time in their day.

My group workout clients stretching after a training session.

A great trainer should be able to incorporate a warm-up, workout and cool-down into a thirty minute time period. This trainer should also be able to “kick your butt” in this thirty minute time period. (when I say kick your butt, I mean leave you sweating and fatigued)

I have also found that sessions lasting longer than thirty minutes tend to be less aerobic which will do nothing in terms of supporting weight loss. A thirty minute session keeps the trainer on his or her toes and allows for a quick, dynamic and cardio boosting session. This is how you burn calories and ultimately lose weight. There should be nothing slow and methodical about a training session for weight loss, for example. (This isn’t Yoga or Pilates we’re talking about here…)

How many trainers have you been to who spend the first 15 minutes of your session watching you warm-up on the treadmill and waste the last 15 minutes chatting about what’s on TV? Does your trainer walk around with a clipboard? If you are purchasing sixty minute workout sessions you are wasting your time…and your money. There is absolutely no reason why you need to spend an hour with your trainer and unfortunately this has become the industry default session length. In other words, I would prefer to see someone for thirty minutes, 4-5 times per week as opposed to sixty minute sessions, only twice per week. Results come through frequency and with frequency is commitment.

Ask yourself this the next time you are working with your trainer: At what point in the workout does the workout actually start and when does it end? How much total time did I actually workout? Am I wasting my time and money?

Trainers ask yourself: Can I give my clients effective workouts in a short period of time? If not, what am I doing wrong? (*hint-walking around with a clipboard could be your problem)


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