HOW LONG SHOULD I WORK OUT? (30 minute workouts)

Can a short workout really be effective? How long do I have to workout to see results? Those are really common (and good!) questions. If you haven’t heard me say this about ten million times lately… I’m on a 30 minute workout kick and I have no plans of quitting.


If you’ve ever asked yourself:

“Can I really workout less and see better results?”


…then, this post is for you. I will answer that question and hopefully, set you in the right direction.

lauren gleisberg outside in black lululemon shorts and adidas sneakers
Just so you know where we are heading- I am going to walk you through a few things:
1. how 30 minute workouts have changed my fitness game
2. the 1 main thing I try to accomplish in a workout regardless of time
3. how to accomplish quick workouts without sacrificing effectiveness
For the vast majority of my fitness journey, my workouts were about 60 minutes start to finish. Why 60 minutes? It’s simply how long it took me to get through the workout I would write for myself. 
The first big step in my training was when I began training smarter not harder.
What I mean by that is I learned how to workout more efficiently. I learned how to order exercises to see better results without physically doing more. I became more aware of how long I was taking to rest; I realized I wasting 10+ minutes per workout by not focusing.
For example, I would go to change a song and somehow end up reading an email or scrolling on Instagram. Like, what?! haha.
Making just a few changes, I was able to take my workouts from around 60 minutes to 45 minutes total.
As my life got busier (within the past year especially), I noticed I was skipping workouts, which isn’t like me. I’m all about a rest day and I take them every week but this was more like “eh, I’ll go to the gym later” and then I just wouldn’t.
This is where my fitness game improved…
I created the new 30×30 Fat Loss Shred workout plan a few months ago and I tested the program before I released it. The workouts are 30 minutes for 30 days. To my surprise, I completed every. single. day. (prior to that, I was skipping 1-2 workouts per week).
That’s when it struck me… 30 minute workouts are my thing!
Mentally, I can easily motivate myself for a 30 min workout. Getting to the gym isn’t as difficult when you know the workout will fly by. Also, the pace of a 30 minute workout keeps me engaged the entire time.
Because I was working out so regularly with the 30 minute workouts, my results started getting better. and better. and better. (full progress post on that here).
Honestly, it’s transformed me. I went from enjoying some workouts and dreading others to truly wanting to go to the gym regularly. I feel good after. I am proud that I’m staying consistent. It’s been such a positive experience for me.
I am working out LESS and seeing BETTER results!
The big thing to remember about workouts of any duration is that quality is far more effective than quantity.
A 90 minute workout to person A may be just as effective as a 30 minute workout that person B completed. Quality matters!
There is one big thing I focus on during a workout… muscle breakdown.
We always talk about “results” but what does that even mean?! Results such as visible, more sculpted and defined muscle comes from muscle breakdown.
When we workout, the act of weight training causes micro tears in our muscle cells. Given that we are allowing our muscles to rest and recover, those tears rebuild themselves, becoming bigger and stronger.
BIG THING – muscle breakdown doesn’t just happen. It’s definitely an accomplishment.
Muscle breakdown requires us to use challenging weight, struggle to complete reps, etc. It’s not as easy as doing a few curls. Simply using dumbbells doesn’t mean we are causing deep enough muscle breakdown to see results.

Because of this reason, I focus on just 1-2 muscle groups per workout, set specific rep goals and use challenging weight. It is also why you rarely see me doing a total body workout.
Bottom line… if the goal of a weight training workout is muscle breakdown then focus on just a few muscle groups and perform quality sets/reps to maximize your time spent in the gym.
Let’s say you’re like the old me who was completing 45 minute workouts. How do you shorten that workout time yet keep the effectiveness the same?!
1. SHORTER RESTS – this was the biggest factor for me. I realized I would spend several minutes resting in between sets. I didn’t need that rest but I was just taking it because I got caught up in other things. For a short while, I timed my rests because it helped me speed things up. Now, I don’t time my rests but I am very aware of when I am physically ready to hit another set (which is pretty quick!).
2. GREATER FOCUS – focusing more on the workout and nothing else can decrease your time in the gym. I bring a water bottle to the gym daily because I realized I was spending several minutes walking to the water fountain, waiting in line and then walking back to the equipment 5-10x per workout.
Side note – I giggled as I typed water fountain because I grew up in Wisconsin where we called that a “bubbler” haha. What do you call it??
Another thing – I create workout playlists and I try my best not to switch songs. When I focus less on my phone, I can cut another few minutes per workout.
3. SET A 30 MIN LIMIT – try out #1 and #2 and then just set your limit. What you can achieve in 30 minutes is great. Feel satisfied with what you did and end your workout there.
I really want you to know you can workout less and see better results. Trust me when I say me of all people didn’t really think that was truly possible until I experienced it for myself.
Focus on quality, focused workouts and staying consistent. Consistency is key. If you’re just doing short workouts every so often, that’s not what I’m talking about. Short workouts work because you will squeeze them into your schedule.
If you need a set plan on how to start with 30 minute workouts, I HIGHLY suggest my new 30×30 plan!
I know you can become an advocate for short yet effective workouts too!

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