If you exercise most days a week, that’s awesome. It’s recommended that you get a minimum of thirty minutes of exercise each day for most days of the week. Those rest days are important! However, what about those who want to take their exercise regimen up a notch and want to begin working out twice a day?
Working out twice a day is effectively referred to as “two-a-days”, signifying the twice-daily workout. Working out twice a day is safe if you do it correctly. This means you’ll need to carefully consider why you’re motivated to work out twice a day, as well as plan your workouts so that you aren’t taxing your body too much.
Working out is great for your body, if you do it correctly. It’s long been known that exercising the wrong way or for people for whom a certain exercise is not beneficial can actually lead to injury. It’s important to talk with your doctor before starting any type of exercise regimen, especially one in which you plan to work out twice a day.
So what’s the deal with working out twice a day? Here’s everything you need to know about your potential new workout schedule!
Who Are Two-a-Days Beneficial for?
Working out twice a day has its benefits for certain people! Are you one of them? Here’s a brief list of who might benefit from working out twice a day:
- Busy people. People who are very busy might find that separating their workout into two half-hour sessions is more achievable and therefore more motivating than one hour of strenuous exercising.
- People who are new to exercising. People who don’t follow a regular exercise regimen may be intimidated by the idea of cardio and strength training among the many other different types of exercise, not to mention the time committed to these practices. Two-a-days can help those new to exercising be less intimidated and more motivated to benefit from exercise!
- People looking to increase performance. When you rest between sessions, you allow your body to have better performance during two shorter sessions rather than one longer one.
- People who are training for an event. If you’re training for a marathon, triathlon, or the Olympics, working out twice a day can help you remain on target with your goals.
Not every person is motivated by the same things or has the same goals when it comes to working out, so two-a-days won’t work for every person! If, however, you’re one of the above people, you may benefit from working out two times a day.
Will Not Necessarily Aid in Weight Loss
One thing you need to know about working out twice a day is that there’s no solid research to support the idea that two-a-days will help you to achieve your weight loss goals faster. This likely circles back to the fact that you would still need to consume less calories have an optimal diet rather than just excessively working out to lose weight. It’s always important to remember that losing weight isn’t just about eating or alternatively, just about exercise. The two work together!
It’s also crucial to see your doctor to ensure you’re not suffering from any food intolerances, allergies, or vitamin or mineral deficiencies that could be contributing to your weight gain. Remember that our bodies are more likely to benefit from the intensity of the exercise we do, not just the amount of time or how many times per day we exercise.
Consider Your Motivation
Now that you know that working out twice a day isn’t going to make a huge difference to your weight loss goals, consider your motivation for wanting to work out twice a day.
There is such as thing as exercise addiction, and exercise addiction is a dangerous psychological disorder that can be akin to an eating disorder. This is because the person suffering from exercise addiction feels a compulsive need to exercise. This could happen for a variety of reasons. If the thought of skipping exercise makes you feel guilty, stressed, or even depressed, you could be suffering from exercise addiction, and you should seek help.
If you’re not addicted to exercise, what other motivations might you have for upping your workout to two times a day?
- Increase focus. Separating your workout into two shorter time periods can help you to maintain focus—there is research that shows your motivation to exercise can decrease after just 30 minutes of activity.
- Perform better. Shorter periods of time allow your body to perform better, then rest, then perform better again the second time around.
- Manage your time. Not everyone has time for that hour-long workout in the morning or the evening. Doing a half hour twice a day can improve your time management!
- Feel better. Sometimes that long workout just drains you, but with the right amount of activity, you can feel energized. Some people find that their body responds better to shorter intervals of exercise than one long one!
The Benefits of Working Out Twice a Day
The benefits of working out twice a day are all those mentioned above. Two workouts a day may be more effective than one because it allows your body to perform better during the exercise because it will be refreshed and more focused. Working out twice a day can even prevent injury, as people who work out when they’re tired tend to conduct sloppy workouts and can be more prone to sports injuries.
Your body also continues to burn calories after your workout is over—for up two hours or more! This means that if you have two workouts in one day, your body will inevitably burn more calories than it would during just one workout. Your body uses this increased calorie burning to replace oxygen, return your body temperature to normal, and heal your muscles.
When you work out twice a day, the goal is that the two focused intervals would make your workout more intense and trained rather than longer and compromise on quality.
How to Do It Right
When you work out twice a day, it’s important to remember that you aren’t necessarily working out more, you’re just working out better. With this in mind, there is way to conduct the two-a-days correctly without overexerting your body—much of this has to do with planning, but here are some guidelines for how to effectively work out twice a day.
- Break Up Your Long Workout
When doing two-a-days, remember to avoid doing two long workouts. The idea here is to have two shorter workouts. This will allow you to perform better, focus more, and push yourself harder. It doesn’t matter when you choose to workout, but you should ideally allow your body a minimum of four hours’ rest time in between workouts. Six hours is even better for your recovery. Aim for workouts of 20-30 minutes two times a day, depending on your chosen activity and intensity of said activity.
- Listen to Your Body
It’s also crucial that you allow a rest period of about two days between muscle groups. Some people may need more time, some people less. The point is to listen to your body. When your performance plummets, you need to rest. Injuries and illness can also be common among bodies that are overexerted too often. If you’re pushing yourself too hard, you risk getting an injury or even coming down with a sickness. Remember that your body is always working to keep you healthy, not just during workouts—so listen to your body and be sure to get plenty of quality sleep.
- Nourish Your Body
Not even the best body can perform well without adequate nourishment. This includes food just as much as water. When you’re dehydrated, it makes it harder for your body to recover. You should be drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Skip the sports drinks—they’re often filled with sugar, dyes, and artificial flavors. Drink coconut water or add a pinch of sea salt to your water. Just be sure to stay hydrated!
It’s also crucial to eat well. Plenty of vegetables, minimal fruits and sweets, and plenty of healthy fats such as coconut oil and grass-fed meats and butter can be beneficial for your body. Choose local and organic foods—they tend to be more humane and environmentally friendly (not to mention healthier) than the stuff you buy at the supermarket!
- Quality Matters More Than Quantity
It’s not how often you work out, how long you work out, or the variety of things you do while you work out—it all depends on the quality of the things you do. Working out twice a day isn’t about doing more or even burning more calories, it’s simply about becoming a better athlete and performer and also being able to better train your body. If you don’t have these goals in mind, then working out twice a day likely isn’t for you. Remember to work smarter, not harder.
Sleep is crucial for your entire body and especially your brain. Sleeping well isn’t just about restoring the muscles that you worked out that day, it’s about achieving total wellness. Better sleep can help you to lose weight, manage stress, perform better at your daily activities, and boost your immune system. If you’re not sleeping well, your life will suffer. Aim to get a minimum of eight hours every night, even if it means you aren’t able to work out as much. Sleep should be one of your top priorities. When you sleep well, many other aspects of your life fall into place, including your performance during workouts. Research also shows that less sleep means greater weight gain—so make great sleep a priority!
Tips for Effective Two-a-Days
Now that you know who can benefit from two-a-days, what your motivation should be, and how to conduct the working out twice a day schedule, it’s time for some tips on how to make your two-a-days even more effective!
- Don’t do the same workout all the time. Your body will adjust and then the muscle groups that you do workout will get overused. Do different workouts for a total body benefit!
- Balance intensity. High and low intensity exercises should be done during both workouts, or if you feel it suits you better, you can do high intensity during one workout and then low intensity during the other. It’s all about what works best for your body.
- Make cardio and strength training separate workouts. You can benefit from both cardio and strength training, but try to do cardio when you have more energy, such as in the morning, and schedule strength training for when you tend to be more focused.
- Do what you love. If you’re trying to lose weight, anything that increases your heart rate is excellent! Dancing, swimming, biking, hiking, jogging—doing what you love can increase motivation and make you happier!
- Rest. We’ve already covered this one, but remember that two-a-days are not about working out a lot, but about performing at your best. You simply can’t perform at your best if you’re exhausted. It’s crucial to take at least one day off from exercising during the week. Two is even better. As always, listen to your body!
Working out twice a day can be beneficial for many people. When you’re trying to do something great for your body, splitting your workout up can have a variety of benefits. Remember to do different exercise, always nourish your body with food, water, and rest, and evaluate your motivation for exercise. Like anything else, there is too much of a good thing. Happy exercising!