How long is your gym session?

I want to share an observation and a question in the end.

When it comes to the gym - I have always been an in and out person. Before work/during lunch break/evening class. Come in, do your routine, out. 1h including changing clothes. And it seemed like people around me did the same. No one was slacking around the machines, nobody picking too many conversations. So called, chop chop.

But lately with the pandemic and my schedule being a tad more flexible I have been fishing out the low times at the gym, and discovered a completely different crowd. I didn't really followed who does what, but given people's tempo you can see they take their time between machines or sets, they roam around, etc. They treat it a social club. To my surprise though these are also the by far more fit people, then the average joe in my gym (and also younger), so you can't blame them for slacking, they seem to actually doing something byfar more "right", then my routine. Which made me think if, in an autopia world with infinity time on our hands, the way to fitness is actually spending 3-4 in-eficient hours at the gym then a focused 1h? I mean you keep moving around, you are away from the fridge. So you are on your phone half the time, but maybe that is the way to stay consistent and show up everytime?

Those of you who sustained a consistent training perdiod, is this the aim? Given no other time constraints?


  • boilerdawg2009
    boilerdawg2009 Posts: 907 Member
    I don't have the greatest social skills so even if I'm there on my day off and have all the time in the world, I still stay focused and don't loiter. If I had unlimited time every day I might stay longer, but it would be just to get more done.
  • claireychn074
    claireychn074 Posts: 793 Member
    “Inefficient” is an interesting concept. My training sessions take 2-3 hrs, and a chunk of that will be my 2-3 minute breaks between sets. Those breaks allow me to regroup, get my breath and importantly, for my muscles to recover enough for the next set. The breaks are necessary in Olympic lifting or powerlifting, but less so in a general fitness routine (moving between muscles is enough of a rest, whereas I’m using the same muscles for my movements).

    Are my 2-3 hours an efficient use of my time? I could certainly achieve more in other areas of my life if I didn’t spend so long in the gym, but it’s my hobby and I enjoy it 😀
  • It’s necessary for me to take 3 to 5 mins between sets. I’m not being lazy or sociable though I do talk to people. I need the rest time. Different strokes for different folks
  • ciaoder
    ciaoder Posts: 119 Member
    I work at a big box gym and see all types. There’s a big difference between people using different modes of training and people who are exercising. The right answer depends on the individual and their goals.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,859 Member
    The gym itself...about 40-45 minutes lifting 2x per week. I do a spin class or something here and there and try to get in for yoga on Sunday. But the gym isn't my sanctuary. I'm generally an active person...not necessarily "working out"...I'm just active. I ride my bike a lot. I mountain bike and/or hike on weekends. I walk my dog most days. I commute by bike on Fridays if the weather is good. I like rock climbing and bouldering. Kayaking in the summer. Swimming and scuba diving...riding my trick scooter at the skate parks with my two boys, etc. I have a desk job, but in general I live an active lifestyle outside of work, but very little of that is in the gym. The notion of spending hours in the gym is to me, pretty nauseating. If I'm going to spend 3-4 hours doing something, it's probably going to be hiking a mountain or riding a mountain or climbing some big *kitten* rocks or something.

    I will spend a few hours today being active as I'm heading to yoga shortly. It's a nice day so I'm going to ride my hard tail to the gym via some dirt single tracks that run along the river...nothing crazy, but it'll get me 20 miles round trip and an hour of yoga. This afternoon I'll walk my dog for about an hour or so depending on whether we walk down to the river or just around the neighborhood.

    But yeah...3-4 hours in a friggin' way in hell. I don't really have any particular "training aim"...I just like being active. Some days I'm more active than others...I'm much more active on weekends as I have more available time. Also taking time to rest is I don't know that anyone's aim should be 3-4 hours of training per day. I also like Netflix.
  • BrianSharpe
    BrianSharpe Posts: 9,148 Member
    In the before times when I went to a gym I found that the 6AM crowd was the more get in and get out (and typically older) than the after work crowd but I also suspect that may have been a time constraint with getting the workout completed and getting to work vs a little more leisurely approach after school / work.

    Personally I'm a morning person but with gym closures etc during the pandemic I've set up my weights in the garage so no more gym for me (I've had my treadmill, bike trainer & C2 rower at home for years so I was literally just doing strength at the gym).
  • EliseTK1
    EliseTK1 Posts: 393 Member
    I used to be that person who spent 2+ hours at the gym. When I first got really into weight lifting, I would meet up with a few friends to work out, and it was a combo of socializing and concentrating on 1-2 major muscle groups with ample rest between sets. I was doing a 5-day split of back&biceps, chest&triceps, legs, core, and endurance/cardio. It worked beautifully for me especially in building strength due to using higher weights with more rest in between. I was also super motivated to keep it up because it was a fun, social activity.

    Nowadays I get in and get out, but my fitness level is still progressing nicely. I agree that it’s a personal thing based on your specific goals. It’s certainly not necessary to do it that way to be in excellent shape. However if I were given all the time in the world plus the people to hang with, I would absolutely go back to spending multiple hours at the gym.
  • HoneyBadger302
    HoneyBadger302 Posts: 1,677 Member
    edited March 1
    When I was still going to a gym (now have a decent small home gym set up post-covid shutting everything down), I was typically there for 1.5-2 hours, not including any showering/changing/etc. I only had one (full time) job, and typically went first thing in the morning. The crowd then was generally friendly but focused - there'd be some chit chat between sets or the like, but people were there to get their workout in. It was generally the same faces though, so you'd get to know people a little bit too.

    Most folks seemed to be there for a similar amount of time, some in and out faster, some took longer. I did see that afternoon or evenings brought out a different crowd.

    Now that I'm in my home gym, and have a part time job first thing in the am before my "day" job, I've trimmed my workouts down a bit and they typically take me about an hour give or take 10 minutes depending on the day. No chit chat since it's just me, the dog, and the cat LOL.
  • JBanx256
    JBanx256 Posts: 1,172 Member
    For me it really depends on where I am in my training cycle & what specifically I'm doing.

    Toward the beginning of a mesocycle, especially if it's an upper-body session, I may be done in 45 minutes, definitely under an hour.

    Toward the end of a mesocycle, especially if it's a lower-body session, I'm over 1.5, probably pushing 2 hours.

    Also if my schedule accommodates it, I may or may not throw a brief bout of mobility work etc at the end of a session, so that can tack on ~15 minutes or so.

    I am "headphones on, world off" when I am at the gym and avoid chit-chat if at all possible.
  • whitej1234
    whitej1234 Posts: 263 Member
    Thank you for your answers, I wasn't aware some training routines require long rest periods between sets. The longest I saw on my programs were 30 sec-1 min, longer breaks between machines. So I learned something and it explains for sure some of the routines I saw.

    And of course it is all about what works for each of us. BUt I was trying to learn from people around me that looked like they know what they are doing, and one option is to go move in to the gym in the evenings. Don't know if I will get the chance to give it a try, but maybe someday :)
  • claireychn074
    claireychn074 Posts: 793 Member
    I should also add (as I didn’t put it in my original post) that it depends on what you’re actually in the gym for. General fitness / strength can be done quicker, especially if you have other sports or activities. My sport is Olympic weightlifting so I spend hours on the technique and mobility in addition to lifting heavy weights. Others on here use the gym as a complement to outdoor sport like cycling or running, so they don’t need my 3 hours and 2-3 min breaks between sets. But do I envy those who have shorter workouts? Yes sometimes 🤷‍♂️😀