Kayla Itsines: Are Longer or Shorter Workouts Better For Fat Loss?

The notion that longer = better is not always true.

Fat Loss, Kayla Itsines

This is one of the most common questions I get asked.

If we are realistic, many of us simply do not have the time to be working out for 1-2 hours every day and exercise seems to be the first thing most people drop when their schedule starts to get too busy. We all have a lot to juggle in life, and despite our best intentions, we may not always get that full hour each day to solely focus on having a fantastic workout.

So the question is do those short workouts really count?

Firstly, let’s start at the beginning. Regardless of what type of exercise you do, you should congratulate yourself for actually doing it in the first place! Every effort counts, even if it is small – so remember that. Most people don’t give themselves enough credit when it comes to working out.

Now, let’s move on to the actual workouts themselves. Many people have this preconceived idea that they need to complete at least one hour of exercise daily or else it doesn’t count. When they don’t find enough time in their schedule to fit this in, they give up on exercising for the day all together, which does not bring them any closer to their fitness goals.

Instead of focusing on the length of the workout, I like to focus on its effectiveness.

For example, doing one hour of cardio everyday for 6 weeks vs training for 30 minutes daily doing a few different styles of training. The notion that longer = better is not always true. One thing you have to remember about working out is that the type of workout you complete is what is going to make the difference to your body’s fat loss capabilities. Lifting weights for one hour focusing on certain parts of the body only, such as triceps, may not be as effective as working out for half an hour focusing on two or three muscles groups, such as arms and abs.

As we already know, LISS (or Low Intensity Steady State) training is great because it is low impact and helps with fat loss, but it does take a while to complete (between 35-45 minutes). If you were to complete only this type of training everyday for a few weeks, sure you would see results but maybe not the best results. And realistically, you probably wouldn’t find time to fit it in everyday. That is why, in my Bikini Body Training Guide, I incorporate a few different types of training styles, which together can help you achieve maximum results.

So what are these types of exercises?

Kayla Itsines, Fat Loss
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One great one is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), which can be done in 10-15 minutes and has the benefit of what is known as the ‘afterburn’ effect. This means your body will continue to burn fat, even after you have stopped exercising. Winning!

Fat Loss, Kayla Itsines
Image credit: iStock

Another type of exercise I incorporate in my guides is plyometric resistance training. This type of training really makes your body work as it incorporates several large muscle groups at any one time. It is challenging, yet super effective at making your body work hard as well as burn calories and help fat loss, hence why it can be completed in just 28 minutes.

Ultimately, it is possible for you to achieve great results with shorter workouts, so long as you are using them effectively and doing them regularly enough. Whilst these types of workouts fit better into most people’s schedules, they also take a little more effort to complete. My recommendation would be to incorporate a mixture of long and short workouts into your schedule, where possible. Do the long, low-intensity ones workouts when you have time and focus on shorter, high-intensity ones when you are pressed for time. So when it comes to resistance or HIIT training, I prefer to fit these into my shorter workouts where I can really give 100% and push my body. If you need to break this up into two 15-20 min sessions daily, that is also fine. I also tend to complete my LISS and rehabilitation sessions when I have a bit more time up my sleeve, such as on weekends.

Remember everybody is different, and what works for some people may not work for you. You may need to use trial and error to find what will suit you best. It is important to remember that you do not have to spend 1-2 hours every day doing cardio to get results! If you are looking for some extra help, why not check out my Bikini Body Training Guides, which give you all the information you need.

Love, Kayla xx

Kayla Itsines