“Two a day” is a familiar concept to anyone who’s played competitive sports at a high-level. The extra sessions help improve conditioning, performance, and (hopefully) results on the field. For those of us looking to realize our full potential and/or test our mettle, working out twice a day can seem like a good idea.
But, does working out twice a day actually lead to better real-world results?
Pros of Working Out Twice a Day
#1 Increased Calorie Burning
Working out twice a day means that you're increasing your overall activity level, which can help with weight loss during your transformation challenge.
#2 Improved Performance
The more time spent performing an exercise (or any other skill) increases your proficiency which should translate to greater overall performance.
#3 Greater Focus & Intensity
When it comes to building muscle and strength, there’s a fine line between stimulus, fatigue, and recovery. Breaking up a high-volume resistance training routine into two smaller workouts allows for greater intensity to be applied. This allows you to lift more weight for more reps, ultimately yielding better results!
#4 Cross Training
Working out twice a day allows you to train different aspects of your physical fitness. For instance, you could perform your resistance training workout in the morning and work on conditioning in the evenings.
Cons of Working Out Twice a Day
#1 Overtraining/Overuse Injuries
Training twice a day increases the risk of overtraining or developing overuse injuries. Exercise is a form of stress to the mind and body. Too much intense activity coupled with inadequate recovery and nutrition can lead to overtraining and potential injuries.
It is possible to have too much of a good thing, even exercise The constant grind of working out twice-a-day day after day can take a toll on your motivation and desire to exercise
#3 Time Constraints
Scheduling one workout (let alone two workouts in a day) can be a challenge for busy individuals working a full-time job, going to school, and/or raising a family. There’s also the added time to consider driving to the gym twice a day and potentially dealing with the frustrations of being stuck in traffic. This is when investing in some affordable home gym equipment (adjustable dumbbells, suspension trainer, jump rope, etc.) and/or performing bodyweight exercises is a huge bonus.
#4 Recovery Becomes Even More Important
Proper nutrition, hydration, sleep, and stress management are essential to getting the best results from your efforts in the gym. Doubling your training further increases the importance of these four factors. On the other hand, if you split a longer workout into two shorter workouts, you’ll be able to recover more quickly due to the shorter individual sessions.
How to Start Working Out Twice a Day
#1 Choose Your Goal(s)
Before you can organize your twice a day training program, you need to decide what your performance/physique goals are. That way you can structure your training to accomplish those goals. Additionally, the more specific your goals are (e.g. “I want to increase my squat by 50 pounds”), the greater your chances of achieving them.
#2 Create Your Training Program
Now that you’ve decided on your goal(s), it’s time to design your training program so you can start working towards your goals. For example, if your goals are to lose fat and build strength, then you could perform fasted cardio in the morning and perform your strength training workouts in afternoons/evenings.
One thing to keep in mind when working out twice a day is to leave enough space between your two workouts. Generally speaking, you want to allow at least 6 hours (if possible) between your sessions. Using the above example, if you perform your fasted cardio at 6AM, then (ideally) you’d wait until at least noon or 1PM before performing your resistance training workout.
#3 Gradually Ramp Up Volume & Intensity
To build muscle and strength, overload is essential -- more reps, more weight, more time under tension, etc. Remember, though, that this takes time. Small improvements (an added rep here, a pound or two more weight on the bar there) consistently over time will lead to dramatic results when you look back and see how far you’ve come.
No matter what your goal is -- fat loss, muscle gain, improved performance, etc. -- nutrition plays a critical role. The foods we eat give our bodies the essential amino acids, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols that are required to perform, recover, and improve.
If you’re not sure how many calories you need to eat to hit your goals, the 1UP Fitness App offers customized meal plans with targeted daily calorie and macronutrient intakes. It will outline exactly what and how much of each food you should eat per meal, eliminating the guesswork and frustration. This will guide you to get the best possible results in the shortest timeline possible.
#5 Prioritize Sleep
Quality sleep is the unsung hero of success in the gym, on the field, in the classroom, and in the office. A great night’s sleep improves all facets of daily living -- mood, motivation, cognitive function, athletic performance, muscle recovery…the list goes on.
When working out twice a day, getting quality sleep is even more critical. 7-9 hours of sleep is ideal for the vast majority of individuals.
To ensure your prime your mind & body for a great night’s sleep, consider these pointers:
- Limit blue light exposure (TV, smartphones, tablets, computers, etc.) two hours before bed
- Restrict caffeine & alcohol intake in the afternoon/evening
- Keep your room cool and dark
- Wear loose, light, comfortable clothing to bed
- Take a warm bath or shower
- Listen to relaxing music
- Stretch/foam roll/light yoga
For added help relaxing and falling asleep quicker, consider a nighttime recovery aid, such as Beauty Dream or Recharge PM which includes natural ingredients that promote relaxation and deeper, more restorative sleep.
Working out twice a day can be a great way to mix things up, spark enthusiasm, and challenge yourself. But, is working out twice a day, right for you?
That really boils down to your goals and personal preferences.
You need to decide how much time and effort that you’re willing to commit.
Do you have a relatively low-stress life, proper nutrition, good sleep, and available time to train twice a day several days a week?
Do you actually want to train twice a day?
Is working out twice a day actually needed for your goals?
Wherever you are in your fitness journey, we’re with you every step of the way to keep you on track, engaged and motivated! Email or set up a call with our coaches for a free consultation!