Follow these health tips to stay safe and healthy while working out twice a day:
- Do intense or more strenuous workouts such as strength training or high-intensity interval training during the earlier part of the day and the low-intensity or less strenuous exercises such as light cardio during the second session.
- It’s important to take enough rest between your sessions. According to health experts, you should wait for at least four to six hours between workout sessions and rest different groups of muscles between days. Take a minimum of one day off every week. Moreover, if you experience any symptoms of fatigue or soreness in muscles, increase your rest time.
- Stay adequately hydrated between workouts by drinking lots of water.
- Get lots of sleep, as getting enough sleep is critical to your performance when you are working out twice a day. If possible, try taking short naps during the day to help rest your muscles and promote recovery.
- Start slow. If you’ve just started working out twice a day, don’t do two 2-a-days in a row, and make sure to follow each with a day of rest. You can gradually increase the number of twice-a-day workouts in a week as your body adapts to this new routine.
- Balance your workouts. While you may be tempted to make both workouts super intense, this isn’t a sustainable or healthy approach. Combine exercises or workouts that complement each other. For instance, combine jogging with weight lifting or yoga with swimming.
- Do longer exercise sessions during the earlier part of the day and shorter exercise sessions during the later part of the day.
- Increase your nutrient and calorie intake on your rest days to promote recovery. Also, make sure to get lots of sleep and manage your stress. You can add meditation or massage therapy to your rest days.
- Watch out for overtraining. If you feel fatigued, tired, discouraged, hurt, or bored, this may indicate that you are overworking yourself and should take a break from working out twice a day.
- Make sure to do stretching exercises after a workout session.
Two-a-day workouts can be a good idea, but only if you stick to a structured workout plan with enough time for rest. There are many benefits to working out twice a day. It reduces your sedentary time and overall performance. But twice-a-day workouts also carry a risk of overtraining and injury.
It’s important to take plenty of time to rest in between the two sessions. Focus on eating nutritious meals and staying adequately hydrated. Balance your workouts by combining exercises that complement each other. Watch out for overtraining and take a break if you feel fatigued or tired.
- Double Your Fat Burn By Working Out Twice A Day
- Body Transformation: Double-Dipped Cardio
- Why I Got Started
- How I Did It
- Suggestions For Others
- Final Words And Thanks
- The Right Way to Do 2-a-Days
- Vary the Intensity
- Split Up Cardio and Strength
- Wake Up with Cardio to Lose Weight
- Save Cardio for Later to Grow Stronger
- Switch Up Complex and Simple Moves
- Keep Sessions Short and Spaced Out
- 10 Surprising Facts About Working Out Twice A Day
- 1. Two-A-Days Can Be Safe
- 2. Rest Is Important
- 3. Do Intense Workouts First
- 4. Pay Attention To Nutrition
- 5. Spread Out Your Exercise Routine (And Rest)
- 6. Get Sleep, And Lots Of It
- 7. Go Slow
- 8. Balance Is Everything
- 9. You Can’t Do It Forever
- 10. Watch For Over-Training
- This Is How Running and Cycling Affect the Way Your Body Builds Muscle
- 2-A-Day Training for Radical Gains
Double Your Fat Burn By Working Out Twice A Day
Could you hit the gym twice a day? The truth is, you probably could. People do two-a-days all the time. Busy commuters cycle to and from work. Body builders split their daily weightlifting routine into two smaller workouts. Novice triathletes start the day with a swim and end it with a cycle. Active mummies walk the dog in the morning and then head to bootcamp with friends. Your body is capable of doing more than one sweat session if you really want it to. But the question is – is it worth it?
Is It For You?
For some exercisers, two-a-days are a no-brainer; numerous studies show that, when planned correctly, doing two workouts in one day is a very effective training method for those wanting to build muscle, race ultra-distances or compete in multi-discipline events. But the jury is out on whether working out once or twice a day is most beneficial for weight loss. In fact, when it comes to losing weight, a plethora of scientific literature confirms our bodies respond better to intensity of exercise than duration. The take-home message? Weight-loss fans should split one long workout into two parts and then perform at least one part at near maximum effort (think: 75-85% of heart rate max) to reap results.
There are plenty of waist-whittling benefits to be had by splitting a sweat session in two – researchers from the University of New Mexico note that EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, or the metabolic-boosting after-burn effect) increases for at least two hours after exercise. Put simply, your body will burn extra calories as it replenishes oxygen stores, removes lactate from the muscles and restores body temperature after each workout. And every calorie counts when it comes to fat loss.
Of course, if you’re guilty of drifting around the gym in a semi-conscious daze and performing sub-maximal efforts on available kit, following a two-a-day schedule will offer the added benefit of encouraging you to be more results-driven about your daily plan. “Two-a-days should make your training more targeted and intense,” explains celebrity trainer Hayley Newton. “By separating an hour-long workout into two 30-minute sessions, you are able to rest in between each one. So, in theory, you should be able to push harder throughout each session.”
Jéan LK, founder of London training studio Timed Fitness, agrees, “Splitting your workout not only makes it easier to fit more comprehensive sessions into your schedule, but also requires careful planning – something plenty of people fail to do.”
Staying On Target
But what if working out twice in one day did mean exercising more? Turns out doubling up on the amount of daily exercise you do is a great way to hit weight-loss activity targets. The current guidelines for activity among the general community state that adults should clock 30 minutes of exercise – whether gym-going, running or gardening – five days per week. Sounds doable, right? Well, for long-term weight loss, you need to up the ante. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), fat-loss fans should aim to do 250-300 minutes of moderately intense exercise (in other words, challenging exercise) each week. That’s a whopping four to five hours of tough exercise each week – and a stroll with the dog doesn’t count!
Of course, you could aim to perform four to five gruelling sessions, but research shows that motivation drops after the 30-minute mark. So long workouts aren’t the best strategy for long-term results. “Exercise needs to suit the individual, otherwise you won’t stick to it,” agrees Newton. “Finding time to train isn’t easy but you must make time for exercise. Get up an hour early and do a 30-minute cardio session. Then do another 30 minutes of strength work in the evening.” Put like that, it certainly sounds more achievable, right?
It’s clear that exercising twice a day does boast weight-loss benefits, but it’s not without its problems. Crucially, it’s important to keep in mind what you’re physically capable of. “It takes a certain level of fitness to start this style of training,” warns Newton. “You need to get the go-ahead from your doctor beforehand, and then start slowly. For some people, a brisk 30-minute walk is tough enough.” Don’t be misled by the super-fit looking folk who seem to live in the gym, either. Chances are they’re not fit because they train often; they train often because they’re fit enough to do so. Every exerciser has to start somewhere, and the best place to begin is with the basics before progressing on to two-a-days.
It’s also important to consider why you want to exercise twice a day – is it a logical way to reach your weight-loss goal or are you simply addicted to working out? According to research from the University of Southern California, exercise addiction affects 3% of us, and it increases the risk of injury or illness. Clocking up extra workout hours doesn’t signal a problem, but if it’s accompanied by withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety or irritability, you should consider cutting back rather than doing more. “Rest between double-workout days is crucial,” adds Newton, “Exercise twice a day every day and you’ll fatigue pretty quickly, not to mention increase your risk of burn-out.”
The right amount of recovery – not only between exercise days, but also between exercise sessions – is key. “You need to leave a minimum of four to six hours between sessions to recover fully,” warns Jéan LK, “and the dedicated approach to your health needs to apply to all aspects of your weight-loss journey, which includes staying on top of your nutritional needs and getting adequate amounts of sleep.” So the harder you work out, the longer you’ll need to recover. Capiche?
Choosing Your Workouts
Think exercising twice daily is the best approach for you? That’s great news. Unfortunately, any old workout won’t do – working the same muscle group twice, for instance, will only wear you down. Here’s how to make your AM and PM sessions work well together.
- Do different workouts in the morning and evening. Unless you’re training for a specific sport, doing the same discipline or working the same body part twice in one day will only result in fatigue.
- Find a balance between high and low intensity. Don’t do two vigorous cardio or two heavy weights sessions in a row. Mix high, moderate and low intensities to keep muscles guessing and stay enthused.
- Separate your schedule into cardio and strength training. Perform a cardio session in the morning when you have bundles of energy and your strength session in the evening when you’re feeling focused.
- Choose activities that you enjoy – hiking, cycling, team or club sports. The more you can minimise the psychological stress of exercising, the better it is for your body. When it comes to weight loss, anything that gets your heart pumping works.
- Following a strength programme? Split it into two sessions. Target the large muscle groups in the morning with compound moves like burpees. In the evening, focus on small muscle groups with isolation exercises like biceps curls.
- Rest, rest, rest. This approach is not about doing as much activity as possible, but about performing at the best of your ability. Rest is key to staying healthy and maintaining exercise quality. Have one to two days off scheduled activity each week.
Gym Bag Essentials
Don’t even think about attempting two-a-days without these double-duty beauties!
1. No Fuss Fabulousness Dry Shampoo
Give hair a ‘just washed’ look when you haven’t had time to actually wash it! £12, percyandreed.com
2. In Transit Camera Close-up
Look fresh between sessions with this mask, moisturiser and primer lotion in one. £30, thisworks.com
3. T for Toes Powder
Shake a bit of this powder into gym shoes to keep them smelling sweet. £4.45, lush.co.uk
4. Lifeventure Softfibre Large Trek Towel
This smart towel dries eight times quicker than the standard variety! £16.99, surfdome.com
5. Dermalogica Skin Purifying Wipes
Fake a shower after a morning workout with these clever wet wipes. £14.70, dermalogica.co.uk
This article first appeared in Women’s Fitness
Body Transformation: Double-Dipped Cardio
Name: Eric Kaczmarek
Email: [email protected]
| AGE 40
WEIGHT 237 lbs
BODY FAT 24%
| AGE 40
WEIGHT 202 lbs
BODY FAT 5%
Why I Got Started
I was an athletic child and young adult. However, once I turned 30 it all went downhill. Slowly, but surely. I still worked out but without consistency. On top of that, I never paid attention to my diet. Every year I gained a few extra pounds.
Four years ago, when my wife and I had the first of our youngest two children, I gave up on working out and opted for a much easier and pleasant hobby: Wine “tasting” … or at least that’s what we called it as we indulged almost every night in drinking wine to “unwind.” Not the best example for our children. Fast forward four years and another child and I was completely out of shape, unhappy and unmotivated.
2012 was just going to be another year when I promised myself “things” were going to change, and once again I did nothing to fulfill that promise … Until I saw the Optimum Challenge on BodySpace and thought it might help me with getting started. I signed up for the contest and the “100k Transformation” BodyGroup in early January. I am SO glad I did.
The BodyGroup and the well-defined goal completely changed my attitude. My motivation went` from dead to over the top. I started over-obsessing about my workouts, my food and the forum. Within just a few weeks I started to feel younger and rejuvenated. Now I am addicted to this new lifestyle.
How I Did It
I was not foreign to workouts, but dieting and losing body fat was a new concept. I decided to get help from my best friend and trainer extraordinaire Dennis Traylor. Dennis also competed in several natural bodybuilding competitions and was experienced with prepping for a bodybuilding-like contest. He put together a simple diet plan that would work with my busy life.
While training with me throughout the 12 weeks of the competition, we constantly tweaked all variables of the equation based on my progress. The goal was to drop about 2% of body fat per week while minimizing muscle loss.
The body believes in biology, not magic. There are no tricks, only work.
The first 2 weeks of training and dieting were a breeze. It was a nice 360 turnaround from the previous 4 years. At the end of week two however, I hit a wall. I craved desperately the return of all the bad habits I had developed over the years: wine, margaritas, gummy bears … even ice cream. I had a total mental relapse. All the hard work seemed to have vanished. I was ready to give up and go back to my “30s” version of my body.
Then I visited the “100K Transformation Challenge BodyGroup” and wow. So glad I did. I realized I was not the only one struggling with the same demons. I gathered up my courage and posted about the fight against myself. So many people replied in support. I was hooked and a fresh wind was now blowing in my sails.
I was ready to resume my journey and put the struggles of the last few days behind me. The next 10 weeks almost seemed too easy. With Dennis and the BodyGroup, I felt unstoppable. Every morning I woke up and couldn’t wait to train.
Suggestions For Others
- Set a well defined goal with an end date.
- Get a support group or friends or family to help you get through hard times.
- Don’t look for magic in the form of supplements or secret workouts.
- Educate yourself! Too many people just blindly read or listen to advice from the gym, the Internet, their neighbors, etc. without learning the basics.
- Don’t hesitate to adjust your food intake, workouts or supplements.
- Try volume and heavy training. Don’t limit yourself to only one of them.
- Believe in yourself!
Final Words And Thanks
It’s now 12 weeks later and I’m 35 pounds. lighter. I can’t believe I was that heavy. I’m in the best shape of my life. I weigh less than I did when I was in college. My blood pressure and cholesterol dropped in double digits. My overall outlook on life has improved by 200%.
Best of all, I am a much better father to my wonderful kids. Not to mention my wife loves her husband’s new body. People in the gym, at work, and almost everywhere have noticed the change and I receive random compliments daily.
Who said you can’t be 40, manage a professional career, a family and be in great shape?! With the help of Bodyspace/Bodybuilding.com, its patrons and sponsors, I feel so blessed and so fulfilled. Joining the Optimum Challenge was one of the best decision of my life. Thanks!
He did it for himself, but his family is also rewarded by his improved self!
I have to thank my best friend and personal trainer Dennis Traylor. Without his push, daily training, nutrition and supplement tips I would have never made it. If you are looking for a great trainer give me a buzz!
Naren Nayak took all of the final shots and they look fantastic. Go take a look at his work. Thanks Naren. You are THE MAN.
Finally, the most important reason to my success – my wife. My wonderful wife was so supportive, understanding and patient throughout the entire process! She not only put up with my obsession, but also relieved me of some of my usual home chores and duties. Thank you honey. I could have never done it without you!
Maybe you thrive on working out as the sun rises. Or perhaps you prefer to spend happy hour pumping iron. As long as you’re hitting the gym on the regular, you’re reaping the maximum amount of muscle-building benefits…right?
It’s a common question wondered by gym-goers everywhere: Does when you work out really matter for muscle gain? Are there really any benefits to getting your heart pumping first thing in the morning? Or is it actually better to work out after your body has had the chance to fuel up throughout the day?
Like many questions in the fitness field, there doesn’t seem to be a clear-cut answer. Still, there has been some research on the topic, and the evidence seems to favor later workouts. In fact, a 2016 study from Finland found that a combined program of strength and endurance training could lead to greater gains in muscle mass when performed in the evening rather than the morning (Here are 7 reasons you aren’t building as much muscle as you could).
An earlier study looking at upper body and lower body power output in the morning vs. the evening found something similar: There was greater muscle strength and power later in the day. But, the researchers found, when people ingested caffeine before the morning workout, that raised their performance to the levels seen in the evening.
So, what gives? When should you really workout to get the greatest gains?
It all depends on your unique schedule and preferences. If you’re trying to build muscle, there are different perks to working out in the morning or at night—but the pros are more about your how your personal schedule and habits correlate with the time of your workout, rather than the time of day itself, says Menachem Brodie, C.S.C.S., an exercise physiologist and trainer at Human Vortex Training.
One perk to working out in the morning is that you often end up fitting in more workouts over the course of the week—and the cumulative effect can lead to greater gains, he says.
“A benefit to working out in the morning is that you get the workout over with early. That way, if things crop up during the day, you won’t miss your training session,” he says. Sure, your boss may ask you to come in early, but usually that request will be made the night before, giving you time to plan a workout later in the day. Not so when you’ve got your gym bag packed and a last-minute proposal gets tossed on your desk—meaning you’re not making it to your date with your weight rack.
One drawback of the morning workout, though, is you may not be fueled properly to give it your best. Lauren Mangainello, M.S., R.D., a New York-based nutritionist and certified personal trainer, points out that you run the risk of running on empty.
“If you tend to skip breakfast, strength training in the morning isn’t your best option,” she says. “Working out on an empty stomach can hinder your progress—if your body doesn’t have enough energy to support your workout, it will start burning through muscle and possibly increase cortisol levels. Plus, you’ll likely be lacking energy and thus not get the most out of your workout.” (Here are 6 things you should never eat before your workout).
With afternoon or evening workouts, though, an empty tank isn’t as likely an option. Plus, studies, like those listed above, have shown increased performance in later workouts. And if you’re putting more into them, well, you’ll probably be reaping more results in return.
The boost in performance likely has to do with the fact our bodies are warmed up and ready to go later in the day, says Brodie.
“ strength training we’re really training the nervous system, so that makes sense, as the nervous system has had all day to warm-up,” he says.
The Full-Body Warmup You Can Do Anywhere:
Now, with evening workouts, you don’t have to worry about sleeping through your alarm. But you do have to consider how it’ll affect your shuteye later on.
If you’re hitting the gym too late in the evening, Mangainello says it could end up working against your gains. “If you’re trying to build muscle, working out too late in the evening can affect our circadian rhythm and make it difficult to fall asleep at night (because of the ‘exercise high’),” she explains. “This can affect muscle development because our bodies need adequate rest in order to build muscle. Working out is important, but muscle growth is actually occurring when we’re resting—so getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night is just as crucial.”
Bottom line: The most important considerations for building muscle mass are consistency, nutrition, recovery and ensuring proper training stimulus, says Brodie.
When choosing what time of day to train, the deciding factor should be selecting a time period that allows you to adequately perform in these four key areas. If you’re a night owl whose early-morning wakeup calls leave you zonked—and the thought of putting something in your stomach leaves you queasy—you may want to stick with the evening. But if you’re constantly getting held up at work, or find yourself skipping on the gym to run other errands after leaving the office, you might have to make time for it in the morning.
What’s more, Mangainello points out that going against your body’s natural inclination can have a negative impact on your muscle building efforts. “If you’re forcing yourself to workout in the morning when you naturally have more energy in the evening (or vice-versa), this can ‘stress out’ our bodies and increase levels of certain hormones such as cortisol (which can hinder muscle growth),” she explains.
“The key is to be consistent and allow your body to settle into a rhythm,” Brodie says. “Choose what works best for you, stick with it and be consistent.”
And that, Brodie explains, is more important than any small differences seen in studies. “Consistency is what will allow us to see results. It’s one of the main tenets of strength training—no matter what, you need to put consistent pressure on the body in order to see results. If you make it so that you’re consistent in your lifting, you’ll see far better strength gains than missing workouts because you’re trying to cram a workout in at a time that isn’t realistic for you.” (Want a workout you can do right at home? Try The 21-Day Metashred from Men’s Health).
Early morning weight training is an excellent way to start the day.
Whenever I put off training until afternoon or evening it is always on my mind as something I need to get done. It’s a nagging feeling.
When I train early morning I can forget about it for the rest of the day – it’s one less thing I have to think about.
When you train early morning you start the day accomplishing something. While the rest of the city is sleeping in like a bunch of lazy bums you’re in the gym making yourself stronger.
By the time you get home, shower, eat something, most people are still in bed or just waking up and you’re ready to kick the days ass.
How to Start Training Early Morning
1) Get a workout partner. Unless you’re already an early riser it is critical to get a workout partner who will be waiting for you at the gym. It’s easy enough to sleep in if no one is waiting for you, but if you’ve got someone waiting for you then you have to get up and go to the gym.
2) Get enough sleep the night before. It’s no fun waking up at 5am if you didn’t get enough sleep the night before. Everybody is different in their sleep needs, but if you aim for 6-8 hours you should be fine. If you were unable to get enough sleep, still wake up and go train, come back and take a quick nap if you can.
3) Don’t hit the snooze button. Remember, you’ve got someone waiting for you. There is no time to sleep in. Set your alarm for 15 minutes before you need to walk out the door. You should be able to walk out the door within 15 minutes of waking up.
4) Don’t eat anything. You will likely still have food in your belly from the night before. There is no reason to eat a meal and be sluggish in the gym. You will be much more alert training in a somewhat fasted state. If you must have some calories take a protein shake.
5) Never miss a training day. No matter how much you don’t feel like training do it anyway. You will feel much better about going than you will feel about missing. Especially if you have a training partner who is waiting for you. Even though it may be hard to wake up that early it will become a habit within a week or two. When you make it a habit it’s no big deal to wake up that early.
6) Train as hard as you normally would. No point in going to the gym if you’re going to half-ass your training. Lift heavy and lift hard.
7) Enjoy the rest of your day.
My training days start like this.
- Alarm goes off at 5:05am
- Get up, let the dogs outside
- Turn on coffee pot and brew coffee (I get the coffee ready the night before)
- Brush teeth and other bathroom needs
- Get dressed and walk out the door by 5:15am with thermos full of coffee
- At gym by 5:30am, start hitting the weights. I start every Monday morning with heavy deadlifts
- Get home by 6:45-7ish and start my day
Boyer Coe – Long time proponent of early morning weight training.
The Right Way to Do 2-a-Days
Doubling up on your workouts with a morning and afternoon session can take results to the next level-if you use the right approach. Simply piling on another intense session after you leave the office when you did an equally challenging routine before work can lead to damaging amounts of muscle breakdown and other less-than-desirable results such as decreased metabolism and feeling totally depleted.
Done properly, however, “adding an extra workout can make all the difference in the world if you are just teetering on the edge of getting results, such as losing body fat,” says Andrew Wolf, exercise physiologist at Miraval Resort & Spa in Tucson, AZ. Keep these important guidelines in mind before upping the ante with a second round of exercise for the day.
Vary the Intensity
Exercise stresses the systems of the body, which then require recovery time to heal and become stronger than when you started, Wolf says. If you complete a tough a.m. workout and then hit it even harder in the evening, you will certainly wind up burned out-and possibly injured. And if you do cardio twice a day, you could break down muscle tissue, lowering your lean body mass and therefore your metabolism (read: calorie burn), says Stacy Adams, owner of Fitness Together in Central Georgetown, MD.
So if, for example, you took a strenuous spin class in the morning, your post-work workout should be at a much lower intensity, one that may even feel a tad wimpy, Wolf warns. “But keep in mind that injuring yourself means you’ll be doing no workouts per day instead of two a day.”
Split Up Cardio and Strength
Dividing your cardio and weight workouts reduces your risk of overtraining by using different muscles and energy systems. “At the end of the day it doesn’t much matter which one you choose to do in the morning or evening so long as you do it,” says Julie Sieben, a chiropractor and author of Six Weeks to Love Running.
RELATED: The String Bikini Workout
Wake Up with Cardio to Lose Weight
“Cardio-specifically high intensity interval training (HIIT)-may be better to do in the morning so that you can enjoy the ‘afterburn’ in which your metabolism is working on overdrive through out the day,” says Sieben, referring to EPOC or excess postexercise oxygen consumption. “This helps you burn through more calories consumed during the day.” You’re also less likely to become revved up after a workout if you do strength training at the end of the day versus cardio, which can keep you up at night, she says.
Save Cardio for Later to Grow Stronger
If you enjoy tough strength training workouts, you may be better off saving cardio for your evening workout, says Jerry Greenspan, a personal trainer and physical therapist in Columbus, OH. This way you’ll avoid training muscles that have been pre-fatigued from a grueling morning cardio workout, meaning there’s less risk of injury since weight training places higher force demands on the muscles, he explains.
Switch Up Complex and Simple Moves
For twice-a-day strength training, Greenspan recommends performing complex movements-those involving more than one joint such as squats and lunges-earlier in the day and simple exercises-using one joint like biceps curls and triceps extensions-at night. This reduces your chances of injury by not working muscles later in the day that are taxed from an earlier workout. Complex exercises also include total-body power moves such as those performed in CrossFit WODs, so if you usually hit a box, focus on smaller muscle groups during your other session.
Keep Sessions Short and Spaced Out
Do not exceed 45 minutes per workout, Adams advises. “A shorter, more intense workout gives you better results and is more realistic for your long-term goals of maintaining results.” Workouts longer than 45 minutes begin to use muscle for fuel, which can slow your metabolism, she explains. And plan your sessions at least six to eight hours apart to give your body as much time as possible to recover before you go at it again.
RELATED: The Best Workout for the Time You Have
- By Linda Melone, C.S.C.S.
10 Surprising Facts About Working Out Twice A Day
Most people think about exercising in terms of how many times they work out per week, but for some fitness fanatics, too much is never enough.
“Two-a-days” aren’t for everyone, but there are potential benefits — as well as some drawbacks — in working out twice in 24 hours.
Here are 10 surprising facts you should know about exercising twice in one day before doubling up on your workouts.
1. Two-A-Days Can Be Safe
Some people assume exercising twice a day must be bad or unsafe, but this isn’t necessary the case if done correctly. According to John Mandrola MD, “two-a-day workouts can be especially useful, and if used wisely, might lead to safer more effective training.” For example, your first workout can focus muscle building and strength training, while your second can simply involve jogging or cardio.
2. Rest Is Important
If you’re working out multiple times per day, getting enough rest is essential. Give yourself some time between your workouts (some experts suggest waiting between four and six hours between your exercise sessions), and rest your muscle groups between days.
Make sure you take at least one day completely off each week, if not two or more. And listen to your body: If you notice that you are growing too fatigued and sore over time, or that you aren’t performing like you used to, you may need to increase your rest time.
3. Do Intense Workouts First
If you’re doing both high-intensity (like HIIT or strength training) and low-intensity exercises (like “regular” cardio), you should do the higher intensity work in your first session. It will be easier for you to give it your all when you have the most energy, while a lighter, more endurance-based exercise will be more manageable later on in the day.
4. Pay Attention To Nutrition
If you’re going to get the benefits of working out twice a day without wearing yourself out, you absolutely must focus on eating right. Proper nutrition will help your body to heal and repair itself. Experts recommend eating a relatively large meal with both complex and simple carbs, as well as plenty of protein, immediately after your first workout; eat a similar meal prior to your second workout.
5. Spread Out Your Exercise Routine (And Rest)
Some workout schedules that suggest exercising twice in one day focus on different areas of the body and increasing the numbers of rest days.
For example, here’s one schedule that might work for you:
- Monday AM: Lower body
- Monday PM: Upper body
- Tuesday: Rest
- Wednesday AM: Upper body
- Wednesday PM: Lower body
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday AM: Lower body
- Friday PM: Upper body
- Saturday and Sunday: Rest or cardio
6. Get Sleep, And Lots Of It
Sleep is always important for athletes, but if you’re working out twice a day, you really need to catch your zs. Getting enough sleep can make a huge difference when it comes to seeing results vs. burning out, so get to bed an hour or two earlier than you usually would when you have two-a-day coming up.
7. Go Slow
If you’re just starting working out twice a day, make sure that you constantly listen to your body. It’s not a great idea to suddenly jump into two-a-days by trying to run 5 miles in the morning and another 10 in the evening. The key is to work up to your big workouts.
8. Balance Is Everything
While it may be tempting to make both of your workouts super intense (and to therefore see exponential results), this is probably not the healthiest or most sustainable approach. Try mixing in exercises that are complementary in their regimes; mix weight-lifting with jogging, or swimming with yoga. You can opt yoga for digestion system improvement and thus will help you more in your workout. This mix-and-match method can help prevent burnout and boredom.
9. You Can’t Do It Forever
Working out twice a day can be great for bursting through a plateau, but it can be very difficult on your body (not to mention, your social life!) if you do it indefinitely. Experts recommend to follow a two-a-day programs for no more than two weeks in a row, and making sure that you give yourself at least one week before you try another session of two-a-days.
10. Watch For Over-Training
When you’re pushing yourself to your limit, you begin to see real changes, and this is one of the real benefits of working out twice a day. The problem with pushing your limits, of course, is that you also flirt with over-training and injury. Pay close attention to how you feel, both emotionally and mentally. If you’re feeling tired, hurt, bored, discouraged or fatigued, this may be a sign that you should scale things back or change up your routine.
How many times a day should you work out? The answer to this question is very dependent on the individual and their goals. If you are an elite athlete training for an event, twice a day day may be realistic and effective. If you’re just exercising to maintain your health, then working out twice a day may neither be helpful or necessary.
Furthermore, exercise increases hunger, which means exercising twice a day may, in fact, become counterproductive to weight loss efforts if you’re constantly firing up your appetite. Another potential drawback is adrenal insufficiency, a rare but life-threatening condition that can result from overtraining.
Is working out twice a day right for you? Remember, your workout routine should be tailored specifically to you and your particular fitness needs, which means two-a-days may be great for some and not for others. Consult with a healthcare professional before taking on any new fitness regime.
- The Surprising Truth About Working Out Twice a Day
- Will Working Out Twice a Day Actually Help You Lose More Weight?
- Twice A Day Workouts
- ADVANTAGES OF TWO-A-DAYS
Slow your roll fitness fanatics.
A new study says lifting weights and doing cardio on the same day isn’t a good idea.
In a paper published by James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, it was reported cardiovascular workouts followed by strength training was said to be too tiring on a person’s body.
It also found when a person completed a weight-training workout and then moved on to a cardiovascular exercise, their endurance was impaired.
“We want to increase the awareness of resistance training-induced fatigue in the hope of encouraging coaches to think about aspects such as the order of the training, the recovery period, training intensity, etc,” researcher Dr. Kenji Doma told the Daily Mail.
Strength training – or strength resistance – are exercises that involve slower, more controlled movements while lifting weights.
In the age of online fitness ‘gurus’ and memes asking, “do you even lift bro?” people are challenging themselves to be the fittest version of themselves. To achieve this, trainers are likely to recommend combining weight lifting with cardio to get what they believe is the ultimate workout.
However, the paper says that in order to have an effective workout, gym-goers should instead wait at least 24 hours after strength training before doing cardio.
“There are great benefits to it, but there can be some hidden dangers too. What we want to see is fatigue from resistance sessions minimized so there can be even more benefits gained,” said Dr. Doma.
Sorry if this feels like a slap in the face — I’m a personal trainer and I see many people with the same issue. Spinning, while a viable cardio supplement to strength training, can work against your fitness goals if it’s your only source of exercise. Here’s why:
1. You will NOT see an increase in lean muscle mass.
At least not on your own body. Any (competent) fitness professional will tell you that cardio of any kind does not build muscle, and it never will. This basic, undisputable fact, applies to more than just spin class (e.g., most group fitness studios without weights), of course. Furthermore, excessive cardio can decrease lean muscle mass, regardless of how on point your nutrition is.
2. You won’t experience a decrease in body fat.
Again, not happening, at least after the first couple of weeks, unless your class is supplementing with resistance-based training. Body-fat loss occurs when your body is challenged to the extent it needs to adapt and, since adaptation intrinsically needs to be continuous, settling into a consistent steady-state cardio routine will not only contribute to a plateau in weight loss, it can cause weight gain.
3. Sitting on a bike for an hour isn’t doing your body any favors.
No one ever got a great butt by sitting on it. We spend nearly all of our waking hours on our iPhones, at a computer, behind the wheel, or generally reaching in front of our bodies for various reasons. These repetitive actions and positions reinforce damaging muscle imbalances in both our lower (e.g., tight quads and anterior hips) and upper (e.g., tight pecs, delts) bodies. When the front of your body is tight, you can bet the corresponding muscle groups in the back of your body (e.g., lats, glutes, hamstrings) are weak — both functionally and, as you may or may not have noticed in the mirror, aesthetically.
And you can forget about core activation: When’s the last time you admired your own six-pack (current or potential) while sitting down?
With all that said, I hope that you don’t throw your spin shoes away, but that you instead devise a balanced fitness routine for next week, like this:
Day 1: Take a strength-training class. A minimum (and maximum) of one hour, and be sure to select a studio that warms you up as well as focuses on mobility or at least static stretching at the end (a “cool down”).
Day 2: You will likely be tight and/or sore, so you have two options: a yoga or a flexibility-based class to work out the lactic acid or foam roll on your own before — and after — a cardio class. The worst thing you can do the day after lifting is to put yourself on a spin bike without remobilizing your lumbar spine and/or hip and shoulder complexes. The second worst is to do nothing.
Day 3: If your soreness has subsided (and this will become the case more readily the more you lift), feel free to repeat Day 1. Otherwise, this may be a rest day for you.
Day 4: Repeat either Day 1 or Day 2.
Day 5: Did you lift again yesterday? Guess what! Repeat Day 2. Was it a rest day? Great! Repeat Day 1.
Days 6 & 7: Starting to pick up on the pattern? My personal recommendation — particularly for those of us older than 30 — is to spend more time lifting weights than spinning or performing other cardio-centric activities (jogging/running, rowing, road/mountain biking, swimming, etc.), or approximately 3:2 (provided you take two rest days a week, which is recommended when beginning a new training regimen).
Here are some great strength-training workouts you can find on MBG:
This Is How Running and Cycling Affect the Way Your Body Builds Muscle
Lots of people avoid cardio when they’re trying to get fit—partly because they don’t like it, and partly because they’re worried it’ll make their muscles shrink and kill their gains. But are they right? How much cardio should you do—if any—when you’re trying to build muscle? And how much is too much?
Let’s cut to the chase: Cardio can put the brakes on muscle growth. It can do so by interfering with recovery between bouts of weight training, or leave you fatigued before you start lifting weights. This in turn compromises the “quality” of your workout, which reduces the strength of the muscle-building stimulus it generates.
Cardio can also turn down the volume on the “make me bigger” signals sent to muscle fibers in the hours and days after training. While the potential exists for cardio to dampen muscle growth, however, the extent to which it does so depends a lot on how much of it you’re doing, how hard it is, and when you’re doing it.
Research on this connection dates back to the 1970s, when a powerlifter by the name of Robert Hickson decided to join his boss, professor John Holloszy—the father of endurance exercise research—for a regular afternoon run. Hickson soon found that he was getting weaker and losing muscle, despite the fact he was still following his regular strength training program. So he decided to run an experiment to find out what was going on.
Published in 1980, Hickson’s study trained three groups of subjects: The first group lifted weights, while the second group went cycling and running. The subjects in the third group combined cardio and weight training.
In the strength-only group, leg strength increased at a consistent rate throughout the 10-week training program. In contrast, subjects who combined weight training and cardio saw their strength gains level off between weeks seven and eight. In weeks nine and ten, they actually got weaker.
When others replicated Hickson’s study, they found similar results. Training for both strength and endurance—termed concurrent training—led to reduced gains in strength and size, a phenomenon dubbed the “interference effect.”
Does this mean you should ditch cardio altogether if you want to gain muscle as fast as humanly possible? No it doesn’t, and here’s why: First, Hickson had his subjects lift weights five days a week and go running or cycling six days a week. That’s far more training than most people are doing. And even then, the interference effect didn’t show up until seven weeks into the study.
In other words, the effect that cardio has on your gains will depend on how much of it you’re doing. Lifting weights five days a week and doing cardio six times a week will make it very difficult to recover properly between bouts of weight training. Two hours of cardio a week, on the other hand—provided it’s not all done at a high intensity—is unlikely to pose a problem.
The extent to which cardio interferes with your progress is also, for the most part, body part specific. Doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) before lifting weights, for example, has been shown to interfere with size and strength gains in the lower body. But it didn’t hamper gains in the upper body.
More from Tonic:
You also need to consider the length of time between cardio and weight training. On one end of the spectrum, you can do cardio and weights back to back, with little or no gap between the two. Or you can go to the other extreme, and do them on separate days. Which approach works best?
In most cases, you’re better off keeping cardio and weights separate. Inserting a sufficient length of time between the two can limit the extent to which cardio interferes with your gains. When two US researchers looked at the research on concurrent training, they came to the conclusion that, in an ideal world, cardio and weights should be separated by anywhere between six and 24 hours.
However, I don’t live in an ideal world, and neither do you. It might be the case that the only time you can fit in cardio is to do it before or after you lift weights. If so, what should come first, cardio or weights? Probably the worst option is to do cardio right before you lift. A bout of interval training performed immediately before strength training, for example, has been shown to blunt gains in muscle mass.
Five or ten minutes of gentle warming up on the bike, treadmill, or rowing machine is fine. But a tough cardio session is going to leave you fatigued before you even start lifting weights, which in turn is going to make it harder to do the work necessary to stimulate muscle growth. You’re not going to be able to get an effective workout in. Instead, do cardio after you’re done with the heavy lifting.
As far as the type of cardio is concerned, running isn’t the best option. Research shows that it’s much more likely to impede recovery and interfere with your gains. Instead, choose something low impact like rowing, incline treadmill walking, swimming, or cycling.
Cycling, in fact, may be the ideal companion to resistance training. In one study, adding 30-60 minutes of cycling twice a week to a two-day strength training program had no negative effect on gains in muscle size or strength. The thigh muscles grew at a similar rate in both the strength-only and strength plus cardio groups.
More interesting still, there is some research to hint at the possibility of a faster rate of muscle growth with cycling and resistance training compared with resistance training alone.
Granted, the research was done on strength training newbies, where virtually any stimulus will stimulate growth. And the total amount of training they did was relatively low. But at the very least, the findings do suggest that concerns about cardio interfering with muscle growth—provided your training program is set up properly—are overblown.
You also need to factor in the number of times you’ve traveled around the sun: Things you could get away with in your twenties are going to have a much bigger impact on your results at the age of 40 or 50.
In one study, a group of triathletes in their fifties recovered more slowly than triathletes in their twenties in the days following a 30-minute downhill run. The synthesis of new muscle protein was reduced, contributing to a slower rate of muscle repair. There was also a trend for masters triathletes to turn in a slower time trial performance than their younger counterparts ten hours after the run.
As you get older, the resources in your “recovery account” become increasingly scarce, and you’ll need to be a lot more careful about how they’re allocated. As long as you don’t go overboard on the volume, frequency, and intensity of your workouts, however, there’s no need to worry about cardio dramatically slowing down muscle growth.
Some types of cardio, in fact—cycling at a low-to-moderate intensity for 20-30 minutes the day after a heavy leg workout, for example—may even help recovery by promoting blood flow to the muscles without causing further damage.
There’s no rigid protocol that lays out exactly how much cardio you should do and when you should do it. But two to three cardio sessions a week, with each workout capped at around 45 minutes, is unlikely to damage your muscle-building efforts in the gym. As with most things, it’s the dose that makes the poison.
Christian Finn is a UK-based personal trainer and exercise scientist. He writes frequently about fitness and nutrition on his personal site, MuscleEvo.
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2-A-Day Training for Radical Gains
Do you want to pack on strength at an alarming rate? Do you have a relatively uninhibited schedule and want to see what you would look like if you “pushed the envelope” for a bit? Do you want friends you haven’t seen in a while to stare at your physique and ask, “Dude, what the hell have you been doing?”
Well then, this article is for you.
Depending on the time of year, coaches of high level athletes and sport teams normally increase training volume by incorporating two-a-day training sessions as part of a loading and rapid conditioning phase. Think of any highly competitive athlete, such as Olympic lifters, swimmers, football players, or track and field athletes – they all train twice a day.
However, when it comes to strength training and bodybuilding, the prevailing wisdom is to “give the muscle enough time between workouts to rebuild,” even saying that the same muscle(s) can’t be trained within a 48-hour window.
Thing is, we’re not beginners. And we’re not wusses.
We know what we’re doing in the gym and our goal is to get as big as possible, so we can take a less conservative approach. Some might even call it insane.
Let them stay skinny and average. If your goal is to get big and strong, two-a-days are where it’s at. Here’s how to do it.
Training twice per day can break through frustrating plateaus and barriers to growth and allow for more intense workouts each time you hit the iron.
For one, the shorter sessions make it easier to focus on lifting quality and getting the most out of every set and rep. It emphasizes quality, not quantity. The ability to “refocus” and recharge between training sessions helps you attack each workout with vigor, instead of petering out during longer once-a-day sessions.
If you’re cutting or trying to get leaner, incorporating two-a-day training (and eating a clean diet) is like throwing gasoline onto a raging fire. Research shows that splitting a 30-minute moderately intense cardio session into two 15-minute sessions, separated by roughly six hours, can burn more calories compared to slogging through the full 30-minutes at once (Almuzaini et al., 1998).
Researchers attributed this to an increase in EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) – and this was seen during only moderate intensity cycling! Imagine the potential increase in EPOC when doing two high intensity weight training sessions!
To maximize your muscle building potential, here are the most important training parameters (Schoenfeld, 2010):
- Mechanical tension: external forces put on the muscles by the weights, resulting in muscle contraction.
- Metabolic stress: the accumulation of metabolic byproducts, referred to as metabolites (e.g., lactate, hydrogen ions, and inorganic phosphate) during and following resistance exercise, which indirectly mediate cell and muscle swelling.
- Muscle damage: referring to micro tears accrued from deliberately lifting weights, usually accompanied by DOMS.
- Train the same muscle groups in both the morning and evening workout. You may be familiar with two-a-day training protocols targeting different parts of the body in each workout. However, for hypertrophy purposes, it’s more effective to hit the same muscles.
- Space your workouts 6-8 hours apart and make sure you hit your daily macros. Poor nutrition will directly hinder your ability to train at the level this program requires. It’s not the time to be taking the newest fasting diet out for a test drive. Do that and you can kiss your recovery and any potential progress goodbye. Embrace hypertrophy-friendly eating habits including peri-workout nutrition and get ready to grow.
- Perform this program for a 4-week block.
- Progress by adding weight to the bar each workout while keeping all other training parameters constant.
- Make sure you’re strict with the rest intervals and follow the clock. The whole point is to get in and smash shit up, then get the heck out and recover. Sitting around updating your Facebook status between sets won’t help.
- Take it easy the fifth week. This will allow your body time to recover, rebuild, and regenerate to levels greater than before the program started, which is commonly referred to as supercompensation (Zatsiorsky & Kraemer, 2006).
Focusing on compound exercises will serve to kick-start the nervous system. This will also incorporate co-contractions of other synergistic muscles to help promote structural balance and reduce the potential for injury associated with the constant grinding away at open chain exercises.
In these morning sessions, use a controlled tempo with increased time under tension – a 3122 tempo is ideal.
Tempo: Indicates a rep cadence where the bar is lowered for 3 seconds, followed by a 1 second pause in the bottom position, then a 2 second concentric or “up” phase, and ending with a 2 second contraction at the top.
Avoid training to failure during this workout since you’ll need stuff in the tank for your second workout later in the day. By the end of your workout, which shouldn’t last longer than half an hour, you should be feeling pumped and stimulated, not fatigued. If you leave the workout completely gassed you’ll need to take your foot off the pedal the next time around.
This is where the bodybuilding-inspired stuff comes into play. Isolation exercises play a greater role, although the same rules apply – slow tempos and hard 2-second contractions at the at the top of each rep.
Here’s the kicker. Remember how you didn’t train to failure in the first workout? Well, now you’re gonna haul ass.
Turn the last set of each exercise into a drop set. Upon reaching failure, reduce the load by 20% and continue the set. Repeat until failure/complete exhaustion. This maximizes the pump, muscle damage, and metabolic stress.
However, if your workout lasts over 30 minutes, it’s time to hang up the Chuck Taylors. You’re done.
|AM||Rest||Legs||Chest & Triceps||Rest||Back & Biceps||Shoulders & Abs||Rest|
|PM||Rest||Legs||Chest & Triceps||Rest||Back & Biceps||Shoulders & Abs||Rest|
|A||Back Squat||4||6-8||3122||90-120 sec.|
|B||Leg Press||4||8-10||3122||90 sec.|
|C||Romanian Deadlift||4||8-10||3122||90 sec.|
|A||Glute-Ham Raise||3||12-15||4132||60 sec.|
|B||Knee Extension||3||12-15||4132||60 sec.|
|C||Hip Thrust||2||20||4132||60 sec.|
|D||Seated Calf Raise||2||20||4132||60 sec.|
Chest & Triceps
|A||Barbell Bench Press||4||6-8||3122||90-120 sec.|
|B||Incline Dumbbell Bench Press||4||8-10||3122||90 sec.|
|C||Weighted Dip||4||8-10||3122||90 sec.|
|A||High Cable Pec Fly||3||12-15||4132||60 sec.|
|B||Pec Dec||3||12-15||4132||60 sec.|
|C||Decline Dumbbell Triceps Extension||2||20||4132||60 sec.|
|D||Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension||2||20||4132||60 sec.|
Back & Biceps
|A||Weighted Pull-Up||4||6-8||3122||90-120 sec.|
|B||Chest Supported Row||4||8-10||3122||90 sec.|
|C||30-Degree Lat-Pull Down||4||8-10||3122||90 sec.|
|A||Straight Arm Press Down||3||12-15||4132||60 sec.|
|B||Low Cable Decline Pull Over||3||12-15||4132||60 sec.|
|C||Incline Bench Corkscrew Curl||2||20||4132||60 sec.|
|D||EZ-Bar Preacher Curl||2||20||4132||60 sec.|
Shoulders & Abs
|A||Military Press||4||6-8||3122||90-120 sec.|
|B||Arnold Press||4||8-10||3122||90 sec.|
|C||Dumbbell Shrug||4||8-10||3122||90 sec.|
|A||Face Pull||3||12-15||4132||60 sec.|
|B||Lean-Away Lateral Raise||3||12-15||4132||60 sec.|
|C||Side Lying External Rotation||2||20||4132||60 sec.|
|D1||Reverse Crunch||2||20||Controlled||60 sec.|
|D2||Farmer’s Carry||2||20||N/A||60 sec.|
What to Expect
The cumulative volume of this program exceeds that of most programs, so the body may exhibit a “shock” reaction to it the first week. But remember, this is not a strength program, it’s a size program.
If you’re looking to increase your squatting, pressing, and deadlifting numbers, move on to the next article. This one’s for making muscles increase in size – that’s it.
That said, focus on stimulating the muscle by putting the tempo guidelines and tension techniques into practice. Size programming like this is geared towards increasing sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, and as much as microtrauma plays a role – the “pump” and time under tension is equally, if not more important.
Be sure to mentally prepare before each of your workouts. It takes a lot of focus to get through the sets while maintaining the tempo down to the last rep. Stay disciplined – it will yield results we’re sure you’ll be pleased with.
It’s a simple equation – train more frequently (within reason), and you’ll see more results from doing so. Take a page out of the book of the great athletes like Michael Phelps, LeDainian Tomlinson, and Michael Jordan who used this method to their athletic advantage and apply the same mentality to bodybuilding training.
It can be the difference between jaw dropping gains and someone asking that loathsome question we’ve all come to know: “Do you even lift, bro?”
Go To The Workouts!
Usually, living by the old saying “if a little is good, more must be better” spells disaster, especially if you’re talking about your workouts. But the truth is that for a very short period of time, you can actually double your training time and make amazing progress.
Two-a-days, wherein you train twice in one day, have been used by everyone from Arnold Schwarzenegger to high school football teams when the goal is to get in shape fast. While it’s not appropriate for those with very limited time (or discipline), if you’re a college student with a spread-out schedule of classes or a working man with three free nights a week, you can gain muscle while burning fat at an astounding rate.
You’ll train the whole body in both sessions, focusing on moves for the bigger muscles in the morning and doing more isolation exercises for smaller areas (such as the arms, calves, and neck) in the afternoon/early evening. The first workout will use heavier weights to maximize muscle and strength gains; the second one will be a lighter session whose main purpose will be to flush blood into the muscles, playing an essential role in your recovery.
Naturally, because you’re training twice as much, you’ll need to eat more food and get more rest. Take in one gram of protein per pound of body weight each day (because this is a two-a-day and you’re training more, the one-gram recommendation is OK), and two to three grams of carbs per pound. At least 20% of your diet should come from healthy, unsaturated fats. Be sure to drink a protein and carb shake immediately after both workouts and drink as much water as you’re able to throughout the day.
Don’t worry about gaining fat on this program. Because of the intensity of the training, nearly every calorie you eat should go to your muscles, so you’ll lose fat while bulking up. Nevertheless, you have the option of doing some cardio if you like. If you can, take a nap some time between the workouts and force yourself to get eight to nine hours of sleep a night. Most important—since your body needs the time to recover—don’t follow this program for more than four weeks.
You’ll train three days per week (Day I, Day II, and Day III,) resting at least a day between each session. Each day has a morning (AM) and afternoon/evening (PM) workout, which should be separated by six to eight hours. Neither workout should take much more than 45 minutes.
HOW TO DO IT:
Perform the exercise pairs (marked A and B) as alternating sets, resting the prescribed amount of time between each set. So you’ll do one set of A, rest, then one set of B, rest again, and repeat for all the prescribed sets. Perform the remaining exercises as straight sets, completing all the prescribed sets for one exercise before moving on to the next.
The neck exercises and cardio in the workouts are optional. You can perform these activities if you have the time or equipment, but you won’t hamper your results if you don’t. If you choose cardio, perform interval training for 20-30 minutes, rather than doing a longer, steady-state workout.
Use the heaviest weight that allows you to complete all the prescribed repetitions for a given set.
| Day I – AM Workout
Day I – PM Workout
| Day II – AM Workout
Day II – PM Workout
| Day III – AM Workout
Day III – PM Workout
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If one workout a day is generally a good thing, two workouts a day should be even better, right? Not exactly. You’ve probably heard the term “two-a-days” tossed around, and maybe even been tempted to work them into your own routine in the name of accelerated fitness results. In New York City, for example, it’s not uncommon to see someone in a fitness class who has just come from another similar class, or overhear someone planning their evening workout before they’ve even cooled down from their morning one.
But whether two-a-days are safe—or even worth the extra time (and laundry)—depends on a few factors, including your fitness level, your goals, and most importantly, the type of two-a-day workout routine you’ve got in mind.
“Typically, two-a-days mean a cardio session and a resistance training session,” exercise physiologist Jonathan Mike, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., tells SELF. Professional athletes regularly have two-a-days on their training schedules, and they’re set up so that the athlete can safely work on different parts of their physical fitness in one day.
If you’re not a professional athlete, working out twice in one day could mean fitting in two cardio sessions, two resistance training sessions, one cardio session and a hot yoga class…you get the picture. Usually, people do one workout in the morning and one in the afternoon or evening, but they could be done back-to-back.
Not all two-a-days are created equal, though. Some of these approaches might be helpful, while other types of two-a-days may actually hinder your fitness results. Here’s what you need to know about doubling your daily sweat.
Working out twice in one day increases the chances you’ll overdo it and end up injured.
When it comes to two-a-days, overtraining and injury are the biggest concerns. And keep in mind, you can still run into these issues if you’re just hardcore working out above your fitness level without taking enough rest—even without implementing two-a-days, there’s such a thing as too much exercise. (You should always talk with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine, especially if you are concerned about how it might impact a pre-existing health condition or injury.)
It all comes down to whether or not you’re giving your body a chance to recover. “Exercise, especially high-intensity exercise, is a stressor to the body,” Nathan Jenkins, Ph.D., associate professor of exercise physiology at the University of Georgia and sports nutrition consultant with Renaissance Periodization, tells SELF. In normal conditions, this stress is a good thing, because it pushes your body to adapt so that it gets better at handling the stress the next time you put it through the paces—that’s pretty much what getting fitter is.
But if you don’t allow your body enough time for this adaption to happen, you end up doing yourself a disservice. When you do resistance training, for example, you actually create little micro tears in the muscle fibers, and it’s when they repair and rebuild that you see increases in size and strength. But if you don’t give them the opportunity to recover, you’re just continuing to break your muscle fibers down over and over again.
Not only will you potentially stop seeing improvements in, say, how much you can lift, but you can also end up with nagging aches, pains, and even injuries when your muscles are overworked.
Over-doing it on cardio, especially high-intensity cardio (like high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, where you’re pushing yourself to your max) is also a recipe for trouble. While you may also notice muscular consequences with excessive cardio, the bigger thing to watch out for here is more systemic overtraining: When you’re constantly revving up your body with too much high-intensity work, your central nervous system can get so overwhelmed that it basically starts to pump the breaks a bit on some of its duties, which results in classic symptoms of overtraining, exercise physiologist Joel Seedman, Ph.D., owner of Advanced Human Performance in Atlanta, Georgia, tells SELF.