How Long Should Your Workout Routine Last? Is One Hour Enough?

I usually try to hit the gym for an hour, three to four times per week. Once there, I walk on the treadmill for about half an hour, perform a strength training circuit (machines for legs, chest, back etc), and then stretch. I am in my mid-thirties and am starting to notice the pounds slowly creeping up. Do I need to exercise more?

An hour at the gym three to four times per week should be enough to keep the pounds away IF you are working hard enough.

Cardiovascular exercise burns calories and works your heart and lungs, and stretching brings your body into recovery after exercise. Strength training is the king when it comes to keeping the pounds away. Performing strength training with a vigorous effort using exercises such as squats, lunges and push-ups, burns calories while you are performing them, AND the muscle you build will help you to continue burning calories all day long.

Workout plan

As cited in a recent study from Harvard , the secret to staying slim is to focus on the amount of calories you burn, not in how much time you exercise.

For example, you could go to the gym for 60 minutes and do:

30 minutes of walking at 5km per hour on the treadmill = 150 calories burned
20 minutes on a strength training circuit = 75 calories burned
10 minutes of stretching = 40 calories burned

Total workout: One hour and 265 actively burned calories

Or you could go to the gym and do:
20 minutes of run/jog intervals on the treadmill = 200 calories burned
20 minutes of strength training with a vigorous effort i.e. squats, lunges push-ups = 150 calories burned
10 minutes of stretching = 40 calories burned

Total workout: 50 minutes and 390 actively burned calories

The bottom line: Effort = results. Your workout should feel hard to very hard for you.

Sarah Brown is a very healthy woman. She is not only a fitness instructor at Goodlife where she teaches Body Pump, Body Flow, boot camp and yoga but she is also a registered holistic nutritionist.