You are currently viewing How much time should I spend exercising? There are 4 right answers.

How much time should I spend exercising? There are 4 right answers.


   When I first started training my goal was to stop being 92lbs. Seriously, I was 92lbs as a freshman in high school competing in wrestling, tennis, and rugby while attending school with a curriculum heavy in science and math (there was a lot of homework to do). I devoted about 50% of my free time, about 2 hours a day, towards sport and physical activity (doing curls and dips in my room). Grades and learning were my top priority, the fitness part was a secondary priority but only just.


   When we look at our day we have 24 hours with which we can work. What we do with that time depends on our goals, priorities, and discipline. If your goal includes fitness then you have to devote time to it. Things in life change at the drop of a hat so you have to make the time devoted towards fitness a priority that doesn’t get tossed aside easily. It can be easy to give up exercise to the ever changing demands of your time day to day, but that’s the most cliche way to fail at accomplishing a goal. If it’s a not a priority, it’s not a possibility.


It took me 4 years to gain 40lbs so that by senior year I was 132lbs. Not exactly hyper-speed gains but that’s a respectable amount of weight overall. Had I devoted more time to the task could I have accomplished this faster? Maybe, but I wasn’t able, or willing, to invest any extra time towards that goal.


   I want you to be honest with yourself for a second. I want to know how much your fitness is a priority for you. You’ll know this answer by how much time and effort you currently devote to the task. Here’s the spectrum;

0-2 hour a week – Complacent “I’m fine like this”, no real cause to feel the need to make it a regular part of your life probably because there’s nothing currently limiting your ability to get through each day

2-4 hours a week – Conscientious “It’s important so I make it a regular priority”, mainly interested in the health and aesthetic benefits of exercise

3-6 hours a week – Achiever “I enjoy it, I like to challenge myself”, occasional local competitions and charity runs, exercises to achieve personal bests

6-12 hours week – Competitor “I want to compete at regionals/nationals”, solid amateur competitor (domination isn’t your destination)

12-40 hours a week – Medalists “I’m here to win, I’ll do what it takes to be the best” 0.01% of the fitness population, to achieve distinction requires full investment of your time


   Now, honestly, who are you? Note that Complacent is the only category I would classify as a poor choice, investing 3+ hours per week will yield great results in health and fitness and should be achievable by everyone. Personally, I was more interested in moving better than anyone else than I was in being faster or stronger than everyone else. I fell directly in the Competitor category spending at least 10hrs a week towards training and movement practice. It was a disciplined effort but I knew it wasn’t sufficient to win any national awards, which never bothered me because that was never what drove me.


   Be honest about the level you wish to achieve and your current time investment, do they match up? If you want to be fit, are you making it a priority to invest the time it takes to achieve that goal? If you want to be a higher level competitor, how much of your time and energy are you willing to devote to the task you want to achieve? Is it podium or nothing, or would reaching the destination satisfy you? Are you willing to sacrifice to make sure you invest the time necessary?


   Are you willing to make sacrifices in order to invest the time necessary? There is no right or wrong answer unless your answer doesn’t match your goals. It is your choice.


What do you want to achieve?

Jeff Edwards

- National Coach USA Weightlifting - Crossfit Coach of individual and team competitors - Outdoorsy nerd - Owner and Head Coach at BR Fit Club