Time-caps or minimum amounts of minutes spent exercising do not enrich or determine the quality of workouts. Recall the ages-old emphasis on quality over quantity. With workouts, size and length don’t matter at all. Technique, focus, intensity, proper planning and common sense yield far greater rewards.

It’s the volume and quality of work, not the duration, that determine energy demands and yield results both great and small. It’s crucial to maximize the time spent so as to reap the richest outcomes. Following are a few tips to help anyone make any workout length matter.

Crunch Abs, then Numbers

Prevailing fitness wisdom suggests workout durations of 45 to 60 minutes, whether cardio, weights, both or some other creative regimen. These durations are viable for the widest cross section of people who exercise intermittently or regularly.

Durations of 45 to 60 minutes are not etched in stone, however. Emerging and established training methods and workouts, such as High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Tabata, CrossFit and Piloxing, help exercisers derive quality results in less amounts of time.

These methods and workouts include progressively increasing workout intensity, resulting in workouts that are short but incredibly effective. HIIT training, for example, bestows remarkable heart-strengthening and fat-burning results in 15-minute sessions containing alternating intervals of rest and very high-intensity activity.

With HIIT, it’s unnecessary to spend an hour on the treadmill, bike or outdoor trail, although some may prefer a 45-minute run through the park anyway. Whatever the choice, up the intensity, stay committed and make every moment count.

Increasing intensity during a workout is not as hard as it sounds. This can be achieved in several ways:

• Lift progressively heavier poundage every few days or weeks
• Shorten the rests between sets and exercises
• Perform cardio at faster speeds in short bursts interspersed with short rests
• Incorporate exercises and methods that are higher impact than usual, such as Piloxing or HIIT

Be a Timely Tortoise, Not a Hopeless Hare

Aesop’s classic fable about the tortoise and the hare holds many lessons for modern citizens with little time, less energy and endless lists of tasks. The agile hare is a cautionary symbol that disparages idleness.

On the other hand, the tortoise reminds onlookers about the value of time well spent, faith in one’s abilities and sheer determination. Making time to work out, honoring whatever time of day it happens to be, pacing and utilizing the allotted time to gently transcend mini plateaus is the foundation of any fitness commitment.

Any workout is better than none at all. It’s critical to regard workouts as part of a Healthy Human Being CEO job description. This job description entails crafting a flexible workout schedule (with a professional’s help) and showing up for a workout as if for any job that is vital to health, comfort and longevity.

The Bottom Line

An hour is the most time that anyone wants and can stay at the gym anyway, especially if attending three to five times weekly. Gym staff, personal trainers and pro lifters are the only people who routinely spend hours at the gym everyday.

There is nothing wrong with getting in and out as quickly as possible, say, in 30 to 45 minutes. Those 30 to 45 minutes should be conveniently scheduled, yes, but also intense enough to pose a healthy challenge. Without healthy challenges there is no growth.

Altering the amount of time spent working out is also advisable. Some days the bear doesn’t want to be eaten. Throw in the towel when the time is right, but don’t give in before giving it a shot. Work out whenever possible, and work out passionately but safely.