The Power of 45 Minutes
When I first started coaching people, everything was an hour. Personal training sessions, team workouts, group fitness classes…you name it, it was an hour. Due to my intense, no nonsense coaching style, needless to say, I didn’t need an hour to make people stronger, build more muscle, lose body fat, or reach virtually any other fitness goal under the sun. I typically needed about 40-50 minutes to get this done.
So what did I do during the other 10-20 minutes? I killed TIME…the most valuable asset that someone can possibly possess is their time, and here was 26 year old me, just killing it left and right. I would start sessions with an unnecessarily long warmup. Workout was over? We had to cool down for 10-15 minutes so that everybody got their “money’s worth.”
Then it dawned on me. “This is so stupid,” I said to myself. “Why am I implementing a system that I do not believe in?” Clients were showing up late to the long “warmups” and skipping out early on the “cooldowns”. Much to my surprise, when I got the courage to make the workouts 45 minutes in length, they didn’t blink…they felt…relieved. They loved the change, attacked the workouts with everything they had, and honestly, the positive psychological impact that one small time change had was amazing.
While I am not saying that there is not a place for warming up, or even getting into the right parasympathetic nervous system state with some post workout meditation, I don’t think those things should EVER come at the expense of someone’s time, when I am freely admitting I was “holding” clients, or “stalling” the start of the workout, so it could “last” an hour. I always welcome clients to come early to loosen up, and they are never rushed away if they want to cool down…but I have found that the psychological impact of mandating lengthy warmups and cooldowns can have such a negative impact on some people’s views on exercise that it can create a mountain so steep that they don’t even want to climb it.
Here are several benefits that I have found 45 minutes workouts to have:
They are far less intimidating.
Personally, as someone who has spent the last 20+ years working out in a gym almost daily, I can feel this, so I know everybody else can too. Metabolic Training, while incredibly efficient and effective is hard. People aren’t dumb. They know this. You can ask someone to train with intensity, OR train for a long time, but in my experience, you cannot do both. By lowering the expectation of time that you expect someone to stay in the gym each day, the “THIS” mentality shifts from “*#$% this!” to “I GOT this!”
They allow for more time for activities outside of the gym.
When you are in and out of the gym in 45 minutes, as opposed to 60 minutes, that 15 minutes may not seem like much, but man, does that time savings compound over time. Maybe it allows you to get home to make dinner for your wife. Maybe you have a 3 year old that loves to play in the basement with you. Maybe you can grab a beer after work on a Friday to catch up with an old friend. With longer workouts, there are inherent sacrifices that will need to be made in order to keep up with your training schedule, but with shorter, more efficient training methodologies, you can truly have the best of both worlds.
The “less is more” mindset coincides with our training philosophy.
In general, people train with far too much “fluff volume”, and not enough intensity. Too many reps and sets that do not have nearly enough intensity to elicit changes in strength or hypertrophy. Too much time spent between exercises. By trimming down the volume, and getting right down to the good stuff, the stuff that matters, you will probably not only double your results, but you will spare your joints, save yourself time, and by limiting time spent between sets, become a more aerobically fit version of yourself. Every workout you do should be intense, and it should be efficient, because after all, there is far more to life than hip hinging and squatting. To get your body to change, you need to convince it to change, and that takes good ole’ fashioned, roll up the sleeves, hard work.
The “product” that clients pay for is no longer the length of time, but the tangible results they receive.
I have received my fair share of “fan mail” over the year (tongue is firmly in cheek here), and while I don’t always agree with everything everyone says, I will admit that I can understand where they are coming from. I can remember one workout in particular, it was INTENSE. Bodies on the floor everywhere after the workout…I mean the gym looked like the living room of a frat house at 7:00AM on a Saturday. The workout was 41 minutes in length, and one woman wrote me an email complaining that she felt deprived that there was “no finisher”.
Now, as a coach, and a personal responsible for the well being of 3,000 clients, there was no way that a finisher belonged in this particular workout. Instead of letting people leave the gym on this particular day feeling empowered, or feeling good about themselves, a finisher would have potential created a dangerous situation, and honestly, I knew “enough was enough.”
However, I realized that this woman, and so many others, did see things the way I did. She viewed the time in the gym as what gets the results, when that couldn’t be further from the truth…it is the intensity of effort, and the QUALITY of work that gets results.
I actually spoke with this particular client, and it didn’t take long for her to come around to my way of thinking, and in a sense, feel relieved that she didn’t HAVE to put in a certain amount of time in the gym to optimize her results.
By creating a program that averages 45 minutes in length, you will undoubtedly have some workouts that last for 40 minutes, and others that last for 50 minutes, but either way, you will have created a culture that it is NOT about the time, but rather about the WORK put in, that optimizes results. Workouts that are marketed at being an hour long just draw attention to longevity, and do nothing but further enforce the already pervasive connotation that workouts need to last for a certain period of time to be effective.
If you train at Metabolic, you know this is simply not true.
The coaches are more engaged, creating a high energy atmosphere that keeps people coming back for more.
To the average client out there, this may not mean much, but to our coaches, it means everything. As physically impressive and hard working as a lot of our coaches are, they are only human. The psychological effect of teaching a group training program for 45minutes, as opposed to 60 minutes, is night and day. I know this because I have done it many, many times. When the workouts shifted to 45 minutes, I myself became more intense and passionate as a coach. I found myself “protecting” the “less is more” philosophy by making sure that every single client left the gym satisfied. This, in turn, created a level of passion for promoting Metabolic Training that I never could have predicted, and certainly never would have had, if I had kept the workouts at 60 minutes long. Engaged, excited, passionate coaches create an amazing atmosphere that not only elicits amazing physical results, but also fortifies incredible communities.
So there you have it…45 minutes may not seem too significant to some, but to me, it is a very significant part of Metabolic that, like all else, was very carefully thought about upon implementation.
Do not ever view fitness as a “punch card job”…your body, your mind, and your health deserve SO much more than that!