Personal Training Session Length

When it comes to workouts, sometimes less is more. Most personal trainers sell only hour long personal training sessions. I have a bit of a different philosophy when it comes to session length.

Most of my San Diego personal training clients and those who come to my Del Mar personal training studio workout with me for 30 minute sessions. In fact, I don’t offer sessions that are longer than 45 minutes anymore. Why, might you ask? Through my hands on testing with clients over a three year period, the clients who train with me for shorter session times see faster and better results. They are also less likely to get injured and less likely to build-up unsightly bulky muscles while freeing up more time in their day.

My group workout clients stretching after a training session.

A great trainer should be able to incorporate a warm-up, workout and cool-down into a thirty minute time period. This trainer should also be able to “kick your butt” in this thirty minute time period. (when I say kick your butt, I mean leave you sweating and fatigued)

I have also found that sessions lasting longer than thirty minutes tend to be less aerobic which will do nothing in terms of supporting weight loss. A thirty minute session keeps the trainer on his or her toes and allows for a quick, dynamic and cardio boosting session. This is how you burn calories and ultimately lose weight. There should be nothing slow and methodical about a training session for weight loss, for example. (This isn’t Yoga or Pilates we’re talking about here…)

How many trainers have you been to who spend the first 15 minutes of your session watching you warm-up on the treadmill and waste the last 15 minutes chatting about what’s on TV? Does your trainer walk around with a clipboard? If you are purchasing sixty minute workout sessions you are wasting your time…and your money. There is absolutely no reason why you need to spend an hour with your trainer and unfortunately this has become the industry default session length. In other words, I would prefer to see someone for thirty minutes, 4-5 times per week as opposed to sixty minute sessions, only twice per week. Results come through frequency and with frequency is commitment.

Ask yourself this the next time you are working with your trainer: At what point in the workout does the workout actually start and when does it end? How much total time did I actually workout? Am I wasting my time and money?

Trainers ask yourself: Can I give my clients effective workouts in a short period of time? If not, what am I doing wrong? (*hint-walking around with a clipboard could be your problem)

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About Nikol Klein

Nikol Klein is former Professional Ballet Dancer turned Women's fitness expert. She currently works with Women all over the world as a personal trainer and Ballet Strength coach to dancers.

Posted on September 21, 2011, in fitness, personal training, weight loss and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. When I workout with my trainer I sometimes feel too tired to get through the hour session and we cut it short. I don’t get a refund though. I think you are onto something with the shorter sessions.

  2. Nikol, I completely agree… With 30 min sesions you can increase your clients intensity higher for a short perid and not lose their focus or form. Burn more calories through HIIT sessions and compound movements to ensure a full body workout.

  3. Nikol, As a Personal Trainer I completely agree… I only do 30 minute sessions with my clients as well. Every point you make is valid and it is what I tell my clients. With 30 min sesions you can increase your clients intensity higher for a short period and not lose their focus or form. Burning more calories through HIIT sessions and compound movements to ensure a full body workout. They can opt to do cardio either before or after our session. No need to pay me to stand beside them and watch.

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