The Benefits of Shorter Workouts — Can You Really Improve Your Performance While Saving Time?

I’ve been a loyal attendee at Uplift Studios, a New York fitness studio for women, for the last two years. Earlier this year, they announced that they were shortening classes from their usual 55 minutes to 45 minutes. Their reasoning? It’s more efficient. As someone who’s been trained to think quantity trumps quality (TBT to the annual fitness tests in gym class), I found this new style of fitness to be contradictory and just straight-up confusing… until I looked at the facts.

Looking at the facts

When you go to longer classes, it’s inevitable that there will be a lull every now and again so that you can catch your breath. When you’re short on time, those moments are few and far between. Studies show that short bursts of activity (think a 1-mile sprint or an entire song of burpees) can actually be more effective than a longer workout.

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) classes are the most popular example. In this type of class (Uplifts Power class is my personal favorite!), you burn more calories and fat in a shorter amount of time because you’re moving constantly. But the calories continue to burn even after you leave class because your body is in hyper-drive and coming down from hitting maximum capabilities. Other benefits include increased endurance, increased metabolism, and faster results.

Accommodating busy schedules

As we live busier (and fuller) lives, it’s important for studios to align with our lifestyles. If shaving off 10, maybe 15 minutes of class, means you’ll view working out as something you can squeeze into your schedule, that’s not so bad. Plus, when you have less time, you’ll likely be more motivated to push yourself because it’s way easier to get through a minute of weighted squats when you know class is almost over.

And if we’re being honest, any exercise — whether it’s a 10-minute yoga sequence at home or a full-on Tabata class — is better than nothing.

These ClassPass studios are known for short (but seriously effective) classes:


Amanda Garrity is a commerce editor and content producer living in New York City. She finds every excuse to go on an adventure, whether it's in her own backyard or across the country. She enjoys hiking, pretending she's a prima ballerina and drinking an abundant amount of coffee. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.