Virtual Workouts Are Getting Shorter. How Long Should Your Classes Last?

Not too long ago, attending a class at a boutique studio meant setting aside a significant chunk of time. Sessions often stretched to 60 minutes or more, depending on the workout. 

For yoga enthusiasts, especially those who practice disciplines like Bikram yoga and Ashtanga yoga, the commitment went even further with traditional sessions lasting 90 minutes.

But time is a luxury in today’s busy world. While the pandemic accelerated the shift to virtual fitness and learning, many have stuck with online movement simply because it saves time. 

Virtual studios bring the convenience of integrating wellness into our busy lives, and the trend toward shorter workouts is gaining momentum. Let's explore why this shift is happening and answer the question: how long should your virtual workouts last?


How Long Should A Workout Class Last?

In a world short on time and attention, many exercisers crave bite-sized workouts that deliver fast results. After all, your students are likely juggling parenting and full-time jobs. If they think a session requires 60 or 90 minutes, they might even hesitate to start.

Fitness brands are catching onto this, offering class times that shrink toward <20-minute snacks. Social media influencers are popularizing "exercise snacks" through short-form videos online. Notably, brands like obé are rolling out “stackable” 10-minute workouts, and Nike is jumping on the trend with HIIT classes that clock in under 30 minutes.

But does a short workout really make an impact? According to science, yes. Recent studies confirm that even small amounts of exercise can still yield major benefits. Whether it's a quick two-minute burst of intense activity, like sprinting up stairs or to a destination, the goal is to get that heart rate up.

As class times get shorter, the trend leans toward goal-specific classes—think injury prevention, functional fitness, and promoting healthy aging. It's a shift towards tailored workouts in our time-crunched world.

Why You Should Test Shorter Workouts

It’s not just the big players driving this trend. Short workouts are also consistent with what we see happening in the analytics of Marvelous. The average time students spend watching a video on the site hovers between 17 to 18 minutes—an insight drawn from millions of data points.

Over the past five years, this timeframe has consistently shrank. In 2023, there was a slight uptick of 30 seconds, but there's been a noticeable decline in the attention span dedicated to movements.

The average view time for an hour-long video on Marvelous is around 20 minutes. Virtual studios now compete not just with each other but also with workout apps. Even in yoga, traditionally known for longer classes, apps like Down Dog offer short sessions, allowing students to customize their practice by duration.

Establishing a daily exercise routine can be challenging for many people, especially when they first start. Following programs that feel manageable, comfortable, and enjoyable means they’re much more likely to stick with it. 

Organize Your Content By Time Frame

On Marvelous, memberships offering an on-demand content library are our most popular product type for movement-based studios. This type of product is an ideal place to start experimenting with bite-sized workouts. 

Tailor your content to fit different fitness levels and preferences. You can offer a mix of shorter sessions (20 to 30 minutes) and longer full-length classes to show your clients your studio offers something for everyone.

For beginners, a 20-minute movement class might be the perfect length. Diving into a 90-minute workout probably seems overwhelming for someone new. On the other hand, a 20-minute class might not be long enough for a more advanced student.

Use tools like Google Analytics to track your studio data. If you’ve integrated these analytics into your Marvelous studio, you can identify your most popular content by tracking page views. Experiment with different lengths and use the data to understand and cater to what your audience prefers.

Meet Your Audience Where They Are

All in all, the world of virtual fitness is undergoing a significant transformation. The era of traditional long workouts is giving way to the rise of quick and flexible routines, mirroring the hustle of our busy lives.

With fitness brands, influencers, and social media platforms driving this change, the opportunity is to understand what clicks with a diverse audience. Shorter workouts, backed by science and real-time data, are emerging as the go-to choice for many seeking effective and efficient exercise.

Whether you adjust your workouts to shorter sessions or provide classes with specific goals in mind, the key is to meet your audience right where they are in their fitness journey.

Peek inside of Marvelous with a demo!

Teaching online just got gorgeous.

Demo Marvelous


What’s The Deal With YouTube Demonetization?


Marvelous vs. Kajabi: A Side-by-Side Comparison