How long do I have to work out to achieve my desired results? Does working out longer mean I’ll reach my goals faster? Here, we will evaluate the pros and cons of mini workouts vs. longer duration workouts to see if one method is “better” than the other.
Hint: Sometimes both are best!
The latest buzz in the fitness industry is the idea of quick, calorie-burning mini workouts that get your heart rate elevated just enough to produce a sweat. Fitness expert and Nike Master Trainer, Joe Holder, actually coined the term “exercise snack” when talking about these workouts: brief, usually 15-minute long, routines that still have the long-term health benefits of your more traditional long workouts.
Usually 10-20 minutes long
Improve base-level strength
Improve sleep quality
Improve coordination and body control
Improve blood sugar levels
This study shows that mini workout routines were more effective to stabilize blood sugar levels than longer training sessions
Can be done multiple times per day
Poor program structure can lead to poor workout results
Doing too much or too little HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) vs. LISS (Low-Intensity Steady State) training
Too many HIIT sessions can negatively affect health, leading to impaired mitochondria, spiked cortisol levels, and increase stress on joints
LISS cardio may lead to burnout and overuse injuries
Many routines are HIIT-based which often means higher impact
These can be tough for older individuals or those with compromised joints
Hour-Long Class Sessions (Boxing/Kickboxing)
Hour-long fitness classes, or "meals", can be some of the best exercise that you can get. The main benefits of a longer workout session are the ability to build your endurance, work your full-body, and practice your technique for a fitness specialty, for example: boxing, kickboxing, MMA, etc.
Increase cardiovascular endurance
Increase work capacity
Great for sport-specific training
Allow for full warm-up, cool down, coaching, and proper recovery during workouts
Most people need to build up their endurance for long workouts
Need adequate recovery
Rest between sessions is crucial
Cause mental fatigue
When this happens, injuries are more likely to occur
Things To Consider
Ultimately, the optimal workout length comes down to you on an individual level and what works best for your schedule and goals. Consider your experience, timeframe, and resources, and ask yourself:
Do you have time for regular, full boxing classes?
Are you getting adequate rest between workouts?
Do you know where to find mini workouts?
Quick online searches can yield thousands of “exercise snacks” making it overwhelming to choose
Mix It Up!
We know that no day will be exactly the same. Some days you may have time and want to get in a good 45-minute, 10-round boxing workout, and other days you may only have time to get in a quick 15-minute kickboxing session before starting work. So we say mix up your training each week and add both workout lengths. Here are some examples of how to incorporate both styles of sessions.
2-3 hour-long sessions per week
Example: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday split
2-4 mini sessions on days in between
Example: Monday, Friday sessions
Something Is Better Than Nothing
Keep your workouts fresh and fun. At the end of the day, remember, any workout is better than none!
Are you ready to train like a fighter? Get access to hundreds of boxing, kickboxing, strength, conditioning, recovery, and stretching workouts that will push you mentally and physically. Download the FREE FightCamp App and train with real fighters from the comfort of your own home.