Are 30-Minute Fitness Classes Enough to Help You Lose Weight?

The 30-minute workout is gaining serious popularity, with most gyms are getting in on the quick and dirty action. While getting more done in less time is something we can all get behind, you might be wondering if a measly 30 minutes is enough to make a dent in your weight-loss goals. We spoke with the experts to find out.

More Sweat, Less Time
By ramping up the intensity of your workout, you can shorten it up without sacrificing fitness benefits, like weight loss, says Chris Jordan, an exercise physiologist and director of exercise physiology at the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute.

Better Fat Blasting
These 30-minute high-intensity interval training sessions up your total calorie burn thanks to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or the after burn effect, says dietitian Kim Schwbenbauer. That’s the process in which your body burns extra calories to repair muscle after completing a tough sweat sesh. This phenomenon can also contribute to fat loss over time, she says.

Another fat-burning bonus: High-intensity workouts stimulate the release of growth hormones and catecholamines, which can torch body fat. And by adding strength moves to your HIIT routine, you’ll increase metabolism-boosting muscle mass, says Jordan.

A Shortcut to Injury
While the benefits of 30-minute training sessions are undeniable, it’s important to think about whether you can sustain a high-intensity workout during class and throughout the week, says Schwbenbauer. If you’re new to exercising, jumping headfirst into these workouts increases your risk of injury and overtraining, which makes it harder to keep losing weight.

If you’re used to slow and steady training sessions or you’re starting from scratch, Schwbenbauer suggests easing into these intense routines to reduce your chances of getting injured. Take a break as needed during each workout and schedule less-intense sweat sessions into your exercise game plan, she says.

How to Dial Up the Intensity
Work up to three to five 30-minute HIIT classes (on non-consecutive days) per week. And don’t forget to include active recovery days and lower-intensity workouts, says Jordan. That should push you closer to your weight-loss goals.

Get More Burn for Your Buck
With all of that being said, even a high-intensity workout won’t make up for an unhealthy diet, says Jordan. In fact, many studies show that working out and changing up your meals (by including more veggies, unrefined carbohydrates, and lean protein) leads to more weight loss, says Schwbenbauer. So there you have it.

While these short and sweet classes aren’t exactly the secret to weight loss, they could be the perfect fit for your calendar—and your jeans. 

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