If you work out regularly, you are already familiar with many of the benefits that come with exercise.
But have you considered the impact that going to the gym twice a day can have on your overall health?
If you played sports growing up ... I'm sure the term "two-a-day" might trigger some mixed emotions for you. Personally, it takes me back to the hot days under the sun doing endless amounts of conditioning for football.
But hey, I was in pretty phenomenal shape back then. It makes you think though ... is there a benefit to working out twice a day?
Let's do a deep dive into the benefits and drawbacks to working out twice a day.
That way, you can decide whether you feel like working out twice a day is right for you or not...
Before We Get Started
When it comes to chasing our biggest goals ... it can be easy to adopt the mindset of constantly pushing for more. A lot of times, this can be a good and a bad thing.
On one hand, it's important to have urgency when you're pursuing your goals.
On the other hand, it's also important to be patient and understand that no matter how hard you try ... your goals aren't going to materialize overnight. Time is a necessary factor.
So, if you aren't seeing the results you're looking for right away, be patient.
Constantly pushing to do more can lead to overtraining and injury if you aren't careful.
Just keep that in mind and approach your two-a-day training with caution. Otherwise, training twice a day can be a great way to walk the delicate line between volume and recovery to maximize your results.
Now, when I say work out twice a day ... I'm not talking about two full training sessions. It's important that you refrain from going all out in both of these sessions.
Instead, it's much better to strategically break up your training volume between two workouts. Ideally, this would be done hours apart from each other as well.
This can be splitting up your resistance training, separating your cardio/conditioning from your resistance training, or even separating your core or mobility sessions from your main training session of the day.
I certainly wouldn't recommend training twice a day to the casual gym-goer. This requires adherence and discipline to a specific training program. It also takes the ability to control your ego or the urge to go all out.
But let's talk about the benefits that working out twice a day has to offer...
What Are The Benefits of Working Out Twice a Day?
Most people think that you have to be an athlete to work out twice a day. I'm here to tell you that is false!
There are several different reasons why working out twice a day could benefit you. Who knows, you may even end up falling in love with the new routine you build around working out twice a day!
Maximizing Muscle Building
Building muscle is all about finding the balance between maximizing stimulus and recovery. Reps, intensity, and frequency are the main driving forces behind muscle growth. However, you still need adequate recovery to repair and build new muscle.
Well, working out twice a day can be a great way to manipulate your volume and recovery. A lot of times, this could lead to you getting more overall volume. As long as you're giving your body the nutrients, calories and rest it needs, this could help you see improvements.
Fitting an Irregular Schedule
Even though working out twice a day may seem like a pain due to the time constraint ... for some, it could actually be the opposite. If you're someone with an irregular schedule and can't find a chunk of time to fit in an entire workout ... why not try splitting it up?
This gives you the opportunity to get everything done that you want to get done! On top of that, you're no longer in such a rush to get it done. Instead, you can focus on the quality and intensity of your workout, which can improve the results you see.
Again, for some, this newfound flexibility can be a game-changer.
This one is two-sided. By splitting up your training sessions, you increase the potential to maximize your workout. That's because it can increase the quality and intensity of the work that you perform. By spreading out the volume and intensity, you can increase them. These are two major driving factors in strength and muscle building.
If you're working toward something that requires a high level of skill or power, working out twice a day can be super beneficial. Take olympic lifting or gymnastics as an example ... it can be extremely difficult to execute when you're fatigued. Dividing up your training session could improve the quality of work you perform, which will pay off big time in the long-term.
Diversify Your Training
It's not uncommon to have multiple fitness goals at once. A lot of people want to build muscle and lose fat at the same time. But, no matter what you're working toward, the different styles of training can get in the way of one another. If you're too fatigued from one thing to focus on another, you won't get the full benefits.
That's why you'll see most high-level athletes separate their conditioning sessions from their skill, speed, agility or weight training. If you're trying to tackle multiple goals at once, working out twice a day can be a great way to accomplish this.
What Are the Drawbacks to Working Out Twice A Day?
While there are a lot of benefits to training twice a day, there are also a lot of drawbacks too. I'm not trying to be a buzz kill, but it's the truth. Let's talk about them, and explore why working out twice a day may not be a great idea for some people...
While the shorter training sessions can be great for some, it can also be tough for others. Simply put, it can be hard to organize your day around two separate workouts. It just doesn't work great for everyone.
The hang-up could be not having enough equipment at home, the gym being too out of the way, or your schedule may just work better with one bigger workout than two smaller workouts.
Regardless of the reason, sometimes this is where working out twice a day can fall through.
It Can be Easy to Overdo It
This one is simple. When you spread your training out, you will feel much “fresher” for each workout. This can make it easy to get overzealous and go a little too hard in each session. If you’re going to work out twice a day, you need to check your ego and commit to the plan.
A lot of times, yes, this means not training so hard every workout. When you work out twice a day, you have to train smarter, not necessarily harder. If you are constantly pushing your limits and breaking your muscle down, you run the risk of injury. Be careful!
Recovery Needs to be a Priority.
Adequate nutrition, sleep, and hydration are an extremely important part of any health and fitness journey. These three things become even more important when you start to work out twice a day.
Remember: One of the biggest benefits of training twice a day is that you can recover from shorter training sessions more easily. If you don't prioritize your sleep, recovery, and nutrition ... you're leaving a lot on the table.
Oftentimes, this can lead to you doing more harm than good.
How to Start Working Out Twice a Day: The Action Steps
As I’ve already addressed a couple of times, you need to be strategic about working out twice a day. Let’s look at 5 keys to getting started with working out twice a day, and how to make it work for you...
1. Determine Your Goals
Before you jump into it, you need to determine what your fitness goals are. For example, let's say you mostly want to burn fat, but you also want to be more flexible ... those are great goals.
Until you know what you're training for, you can't get started making a plan around it.
You can certainly start working out twice a day without a goal ... but for what reason? Get clear on this as soon as you can because it will help direct the plan you build around your training.
2. Make a Plan
Once you've established your fitness goals, you can design a plan. One workout you can spend on one aspect of your fitness goal, whereas the other you can spend on another aspect of it.
If you want to become a great powerlifter, your first session could be focused on building strength. On the other hand, your second session could be focused on building explosiveness.
By working out twice a day, you can plan to tackle each session with the energy you need.
3. Gradually Increase Volume/Intensity
With any fitness program and goal, progressive overload is key. At first, each session should feel like you have too much gas left in the tank by the end. That's okay.
The goal here is to progress and build work capacity over the long-term. You will have plenty of opportunities to hit PRs in the future. At the beginning, take it slow and be smart.
If you do this, you'll start making progress a lot more quickly than you may think!
No matter if the goal is fat loss, muscle building, or performance ... proper nutrition is key. In fact, it's the biggest part of the equation when it comes to your results. Getting an adequate amount of protein, carbs, fats, and micronutrients is essential for driving fitness results.
What you eat will fuel your performance, optimize recovery, and shape your body. For example, protein is essential when it comes to maintaining and building new lean muscle tissue.
Make sure you have a plan in place for your nutrition so you are reaping the full benefits of working out twice a day.
5. Prioritize Sleep and Recovery Days
Sleep is arguably the single most undervalued tool in a fitness routine. 7-9 hours of quality sleep can have a massive impact on performance, muscle building, and fat loss. To take things a step further, recovery days are another essential facet to training and become even more valuable when working out twice a day. The whole “no days off” movement isn’t always the best way to achieve those big goals.
If your body doesn't have enough time to recover from your training, you're only doing yourself and your goals a disservice.
How Can We Help?
Don't get me wrong, you don't have to work out twice a day to see results. Sometimes though, training twice a day may be the change you need to take your performance and results to the next level.
So, should you work out twice a day? That all comes down to personal preference.
At the end of the day, we're here to help you make your goals a reality no matter how you break up (or don't break up) your workouts.
Trying to lose body fat? We can help.
Trying to build muscle? We can help.
Trying to increase performance? We can help.
Our team of NASM Certified Personal Trainers and Nutrition Coaches are always happy to point you in the right direction. Just give us a call at 1-800-409-9732 or send us an email at CustomerService@1stphorm.com anytime!ABOUT THE AUTHOR