Most people focus on how many times a week they exercise, but some people really want to push themselves and try to get their heart rate pumping twice a day. This plan has its benefits as well as its drawbacks. Here's what you need to know about working out twice a day:
1. Two A Days can be safe
If you do it right, that is. According to John Mandrola MD, “two-a-day workouts can be especially useful, and if used wisely, might lead to safer more effective training.”
2. Rest is still important
If you're going at it twice a day, you definitely need to make sure you're also getting proper rest. It is important to give yourself enough time between workouts. Some experts suggest 4-6 hours between sweat sessions. But it is also important to rest muscle groups between days. Also, make sure you have at least one day off a week. And if you notice over time that you are feeling more sore or fatigued, you might want to increase your rest time.
3. The order of exercise matters
If you are doing HIIT and lower intensity workouts, you should try to do your higher intensity session first. It will be easier to give more to it when you are fresh.
4. Nutrition is critical
If you want to reap the benefits of working out twice a day without completely wearing yourself down, you need to eat properly. Try eating a meal with both complex and simple carbs, and make sure to get a hit of protein immediately following your first workout, as well as eating a similar meal prior to your second workout.
5. You shouldn't necessarily be doing more exerciseSome schedules suggest working out twice a day but having more rest days. For example:
- 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. You need sleep
Sleep is essential for all of us but if you are working out twice a day, it is KEY. It can make a huge difference in seeing results versus burnout.
7. Go slow
If you are just starting, listen to your body. Take it easy and build towards your big workouts. If you are new to working out twice a day it might not be a great idea to start with a 5 mile run in the morning followed by a 10 mile one in the afternoon. There's time for that, later. Don't burn out now.
8. Be balanced
It may be more than tempting to make both your workouts super intense to see more results but that isn't necessarily a good idea, nor is it likely sustainable. Do your crazy intense exercises on different days -- possibly separated by a rest day. Try pairing intense exercise with something complimentary. Weight lifting with jogging or swimming paired with yoga, for example.
9. Don't do it forever
This method can be really great for busting through a plateau but it can be hard on your body to do it long term. James Wilson suggests doing 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 overtraining
When you push yourself, you will see great results but when you reach your limit, it can put you at risk for injury. Pay close attention to how you feel emotionally, mentally. If you are hurt, bored, tired, discouraged or fatigued, it may be a sign that you need to tone it down. Listen to yourself and adapt accordingly.
There you have it. Are two-a-days in your future? Are you a fan of two-a-days? How do you handle it?