I'm sure you've heard various arguments that make you believe your 1 and a half hour workout is just not enough or that you only need 20 minutes a day to make a change. Or even that you can get the elusive six pack in 6 minutes. So what the hell do you listen to and follow?
Well, I know this is perhaps not what you want to hear but it totally depends on your goals and what you want to achieve. So here's a little info that might help you decide how long and what you might need to do to get the results you're looking for.
Muscle building: This is one that lots of clients like the sound of due to the fact that its best achieved when you EAT! To successfully build muscle you need to eating a calorie surplus. This means eating more than the number of calories that maintains your current weight.
So when it comes to the workouts what should you be doing? A really simple plan to follow would look something like this.
Monday - upper body
Tuesday - Lower Body
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - Upper body
Friday - Lower body
Sat and Sun - Rest or something a little more chilled- yoga, jog, cycle etc
So what should your reps and sets look like? Again, try and keep it simple.
3-4 sets of 6-8 reps.
Remember the last couple of reps should be tough but you shouldn't be failing too often.
A workout like this can take some time as rest is important. Recommended 2-3 mins for compound moves. I would say an hour to an hour and half is probably realistic. If you're taking longer than that then stop taking selfies and chatting on whatsapp between sets!
Fat Loss: Now I feel like this area is one that most of my readers may be interested in. Although I'm sure you all look fantastic. It's the curse of being female. There is not really a one size fits all workout for this. Consistency is key and so is a CALORIE DEFICIT! This unfortunately means eating less calories, I know, boo! While eating less is key to this area, regular workouts help and can dramatically change your body shape.
Weight training is magic. One 45 minute heavy session in the gym can have you burning calories faster for up to 72 hours after your workout. That's amazing, hey? This does however mean you need the will power of a superhero as you will have a hunger that just doesn't go away with a small handful of nuts. But if it was easy we'd all look like Alicia Vikander in Tomb Raider.
Is cardio needed for fat loss. Not especially. It can speed things up a little but it's boring and adds another half an hour or more to your gym time. However, it can maintain or increase your overall fitness. And I will always include some cardio in mine and clients programmes. This could be as simple as a dog walk (not just round the block) or a little interval session on the treadmill.
(Read a little more here https://www.verywellfit.com/cardio-and-weight-training-and-fat-loss-3498325)
Fitness: This is perhaps the most flexible and difficult one to decipher. Everyone's idea of 'getting fitter', is different. AND to add more confusion to it as you get fitter your workout's have be longer, tougher and more intense. I know.... it's a lot.
So, what should you do? You know what? Like fat loss, consistency is important here as well. The best thing to do here is do what you enjoy. If you hate it you, if you're anything like me, will find ANY excuse NOT to do it. Unless you are training for something specific the best thing to do is include a variety of exercise into your weekly schedule. This could include an hours session in the gym lifting weights one day then going for a jog the next and joining your mates for a HIIT class another day. Consistency and progression is important here. As you get fitter (cardio and strength) you will need to find new (or heavier) ways to challenge your body. And again, unless your training for something specific you can increase your cardio fitness with just 20 minute workouts or a long run.
(FitBit have a great article here if you want to read more https://blog.fitbit.com/5-simple-ways-to-boost-your-cardio-fitness/)
I hope this helps a little. I know it can be really confusing. Over all i would recommend finding something you like doing. Make it social if that helps, buy new leggings if that helps, just figure out what you want to achieve and work from there and if you have any questions please feel free to get in touch in the comments.