How do you know when you have done enough in a gym session?


When I started going to the gym, I just did as much as I could. As time has gone by, I have increased both the intensity and the length of my workout. I set myself an (increasing) time limit and stop when my time is up. I usually feel like I could do more. So today, as an experiment, I just kept going. And I honestly don’t know what my limit is. I suppose I could keep going until I collapsed, but I won’t because that would be just silly.

How do you know when you have done enough?


I have no idea either - I usually do a routine and that’s that - no different at any stage.

I usually try to work to a calorie burnt amount - between 500-1000 depending on what activity


Depends on what you are working on. If it is that easy then you are not pushing yourself. If you are using a cardio machine, then do interval training where you are pushed. Weights set the weight where your max reps to 10-15 if wanting to lose weight or 5-6 if building muscle.


I generally do a set routine and keep to no more than 1.5 hours there. Normally it’s until My tshirt is soaked and body is aching lol


I am usually in and out in 40-60 mins. I train with weights and finish off with some hiit.

Quite often, I am not sweating until the cardio session.


Generally I go for about an hour. I don’t know why, but I’ll make sure my workout time from start to finish is an hour. I start every session with a run (C25K at the moment) and then alternate between further cardio and weight machines. I want to go 3–4 times a week, but at the moment it’s more 1–2 times.


I’ve always been told that you complete to failure. So if you are doing sets of 12 push ups, you do them until you can’t anymore. If you are doing dumbell curls with a 12kg weight then you do them until you fail.

It really depends on what you want out of it I guess however this has always worked for me (when I stick to it!)

Good luck with whatever you decide, doing something is ALWAYS better than doing nothing!


I agree with most of the other posts. I go 30 - 40 minutes and I try to max out in 3-4 sets.

If someone can spot me I go till failure. I do bench press, pull downs, curls, pull up, and a bunch of machines at the gym.

After I drive home I put on the TV and do planks, sit ups and push ups till I almost puke.

I do this almost every other day depending on my cheat day. It has helped my get my strength back.


That’s a good way to finish of a set - so you do 2 sets of 10-12 reps and then your 3rd set you do until failure.


Bear in mind that pushing yourself to the max every session sounds like an invitation to injury. There’s no harm in beasting yourself just throw in a few gentler sessions and a recovery day or two.


@geoffbeckett - your expertise is required in this thread!


Well, the common wisdom is to give each body part that is worked 48 hours to recover in order to avoid injury. So, as long as one is having the rest day I don’t think working out to failure is a bad thing or would cause injury.


Coming from a trainer’s perspective, I would recommend finding a sensible and proven program and doing it.

There is no shortage of programs out there that are proven to work, the trick is adherence. A great coach with really simple and easy-to-follow programs is Dan John, he’s excellent. Also the StrongFirst website has lot’s of good resources, especially if you like kettlebells.

Get a GOOD trainer if you can afford it, if not, find a program you can do and do it. All of it.

Hope that helps mate…


PS. If you’re in the gym for more than 90 minutes you’re doing something wrong :wink:


Is 90 minutes the recommended maximum, then?


Unless you are training for a sporting event or are a sport professional you should be training for around 45-60min tops including a cardio warmup of 15-20 minutes.
Working out longer will just over-train your muscles and cause injury, remember we are trying to stretch the muscle for lean muscle mass and tear/regrow the muscle for building larger muscles. We should also only be training 1-2 core areas per session to allow the other areas to rest and repair (48-72hrs is optimum).

A session should look like this:

5 min: stretching
15 min: warm-up cardio
10 min: core area A
10 min: core area B
10 min: cool-down stretching

You should ideally have at least 1 cardio only day where you set yourself a distance or time related goal and each week try to beat it - e.g. 3km in under 40 minutes or farthest distance in 40 minutes etc.

The main focus should be that after your workout you feel a “little” bit sore but can still move without pain. When lifting weights the most important thing to worry about is the technique - lighter weights with good technique is better than heavy weights and bad technique. When you lift - exhale, when you lower - inhale and both movements should be controlled and slow for maximum effect - I try for 3/5 - 3 seconds up and 5 seconds down.


Well, I’ve not seen anything written here I would disagree with. But ill say I break most if not all of the advice I see up there at times.

I always have a very specific plan. I carryout that plan and finish when I finish. At the end of the workout i’ll either feel like I have done enough or i’ll feel like I haven’t done enough. If I didn’t do enough I’ll feel pissed off and make sure I work harder next time. But I always have that plan. I have never gone into the gym with the idea i’ll just start working out and when I feel like I have done enough ill finish. Like most things we do in life without a plan that doesn’t work.

All the little rules and guidelines (like many above) are important for people becoming active . Stick to the rules and stick to the training plan and as you develop your strength and fitness always make sure your challenging yourself in a responsible way.


I totally agree here. Going to the gym should have a specific purpose at each and every visit whether to do cardio or weights or a group exercise session etc… And once that purpose is fulfilled, it is time to head home.


Find a good routine and stick to it!!! Just because you’re tired doesn’t mean you’re growing. You could run around in circle and feel tired without doing anything. Find a routine and make measurable progress!