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Is A 30 Minute Personal Training Session Enough?

By: Zack Mathews, NASM - CPT, CES, & PES, PN-L1

When it comes to the question, is a 30 minute personal training session enough, it’s hard to answer with a straight yes or no.

If you are extremely tight on time or on a strict budget, seeing your personal trainer for 30 minutes might make sense.

As a Virginia Beach personal trainer who has experimented with 30 minute, 50 minute, and 60 minute sessions, I can confidently say that 30 minute sessions were not effective for the majority of people.

If you are willing to see a trainer 2 timers per week for 30 minutes, you’re better off seeing them once a week for a full hour.  How many personal training sessions should you have a week? Learn me.

The reasons why 30 minute personal training sessions are not enough is because:

  • You and your trainer will feel rushed.
  • The workout turns into a HIIT style workout which might not be best for your body.
  • You don’t have enough time to connect with your trainer.  It’s called PERSONAL training for a reason!
  • There are other aspects of your transformation that you won’t have time to discuss.
  • You often sacrifice your warm up since you are short on time.


Let’s break each of these down into more detail.

Is A 30 minute personal training session enough?

Feeling Rushed During 30 Minute Personal Training Sessions

One of my early mentors recommended 30 minute sessions to me so I could make more money per hour.

Two 30 minute sessions at $50 per session versus $75 for one hour put an extra $25 in my pocket.

Curious how much a personal trainer costs? I'll break it down for you.

It seems like the smart thing to do for the trainer, but as I experienced, you feel rushed to complete your workout.

As a trainer you want your client to feel like they got a workout in, and as a client, you want to feel like you get your money’s worth, which often results in a go go go mentality during your 30 minute workout.

Constantly looking at the clock and feeling like you need to move quickly doesn’t result in the best personal training experience.

Your Workouts Turn Into A HIIT Style Workout

With a go go go mentality during your 30 minute personal training session, your workouts quickly turn into a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout.

Instead of taking the proper rest between sets to let your body recover, you jump right into a different exercise or the next round to save time.

You sacrifice strength, muscle gain, and you are increasing your risk of injury.

As a coach, it’s my job to train you safely and effectively, and for most people, HIIT style workouts are not the best.

A well structured strength training routine that involves proper weight selection, adequate rest, and exercises that align with your goals are going to be a better option for you rather than doing 20 exercise back to back for 30 minutes.

30 Minute Personal Training Sessions Leave You No Time To Connect With Your Coach

local virginia beach personal trainer zack mathews & client
personal trainer near me zack mathews

This is the big one for me.

If you are looking to get your butt kicked and get in and out, you are better off looking for a group class like Crossfit, Orangetheory, or F45.

Personal training is called that for a reason, it’s personal.

A good coach wants to learn about you and your body to design an optimal program for you.

And it’s not just about building an optimal program.

I work with clients from all over Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Chesapeake, and I want to learn about their job, their family, what they did over the weekend, how their pets are doing, what drama went down at work, etc.

Good personal training involves building a deep connection with your trainer and that’s hard to achieve during a 30 minute personal training session.

Other Aspects Of Your Transformation Won't Be Discussed

 The downtime during a full 60 minute session isn’t just to hear about what you did over the weekend.

It’s a time to discuss how your nutrition is going, how your sleep has been, if there is anything stressing you out, macros adjustment, upcoming challenges, etc etc.

All these things are important factors for your overall health and happiness but get overlooked when you try to do as much exercise as you can in 30 minutes.

Learn more about how long it will take you to see results with a personal trainer.

Sacrificing Your Warm Up To Save Time

When I was coaching 30 minute sessions, I used to tell my clients to get to the gym 10 - 15 minutes early to do a full warm up.

Guess how many did it?

Very few of them.

Most would come in right when the session started or some even a minute or two after the session started.

Now we only have 28 minutes!

A proper warm up should include some mobility movements to stretch the body and warm up your core temperature.

When you’re short on time, you don’t have 10 minutes to stretch out and use the foam roller.

Instead the trainer throws you on a treadmill for 2 minutes and you start your workout.

Similar to the points made in the HIIT section, you’re risking injury.

With a 50 or 60 minutes workout, having 10 minutes to properly warm up your body will still leave you with plenty of time for your main workout.

Do What's Best For You

At the end of the day, is a 30 minute personal training session enough, is a question you have to ask yourself.

As I always tell my clients, something is better than nothing.

But if you can carve out an extra 30 minutes to get a full hour session, I believe you will have a much more enjoyable experience with your coach.