Exercise -- we know that any small amount is better than nothing -- but when it comes to specifics, is there a magic number as to how long we should be working up a sweat for? And is it possible to work out too much?
Obviously, this will depend on what exactly it is you’re training for. In terms of general health, Ben Lucas, co-founder of Flow Athletic said more training wasn’t necessarily better.
“Everyone is different, however in general, 30 to 45 minutes of high intensity training allows for maximum hormone output -- where testosterone increases and calories are burnt,” Lucas told The Huffington Post Australia.
However, any longer than that at a high intensity is not recommended.
“Unless you are training for a marathon or a specific health need, exercising for longer than 45 mins at a high intensity increases your risk of injury,” Lucas said.
As for how many high intensity workouts you should be doing, Lucas said it would depend on what kind of results you were after.
“At a minimum, you should be working out three times a week, however four is optimum and they don’t all need to be high intensity,” Lucas said.
According to the Department of Health, adults aged 18 to 64-years-old should ideally be active every day and accumulate 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes to 2.5 hours of vigorous physical activity each week, along with at least two muscle strengthening activities on two of those days.
Lucas recommended taking a one-for-one approach when it came to mixing high and low intensity workouts and advised for each of his own clients, he would always take into account other variables. These included profession (whether they were sedentary or active during the day), how well they sleep and nutrition.
“If anything, the lower intensity workouts like swimming or yoga helps you recover from the high intensity sessions, so you’ll feel and perform better on your next high intensity workout,” Lucas said.
Dylan Rivier owner and director of Built By Dylan makes the point that longer sessions aren’t necessarily better.
“You can train for 30 to 40 minutes at a high intensity and yield the same results as a 90 minute session at a lower intensity,” Rivier told HuffPost Australia.
Rivier said 45 to 60 minutes including a warm-up (10 minutes) and cool down (5 to 10 minutes) was sufficient.
The importance of having “rest days” between strength training is something both Lucas and Rivier strongly advised.
“If you’ve done an all over body strength conditioning day, it’s important that the next day you do something different and rest the muscles worked -- do some cardio instead,” Rivier said.
But it’s not just about exercise. In order to best benefit from your workouts it’s what happens outside the gym that counts, too.
“Recovery is such an important part of training -- and that means having sufficient sleep, nutrition and a work life balance,” Rivier said.
“There is no use in flogging yourself at the gym five times a week if you’re not eating or sleeping right -- you end up going backwards,” Rivier said.