Two-a-days can help you reach your fitness goals faster, as long as you follow some guidelines.
In recent months, at the YMCA, I have noticed many regular exercisers who have ramped up their summer exercise regimens to two per day, rather than their usual morning or evening workout alone.
I know most of us find it difficult to exercise even once per day, but there is a place for this type of training for regular people (i.e. non-athletes).
I have used this method myself to shed extra pounds and, in the fitness industry, two-a-days sometimes come with the job. Those instructing regular morning and evening classes pay special attention to workout intensity, hydration, diet and rest to avoid overtraining, and so should you.
While it is not a plan that you should maintain for an extended time period, it can help to break through a weight loss plateau, gain muscle and even train for endurance events.
It’s best to do the first workout in the morning and the second in the evening. Give yourself a minimum of six hours’ rest between workouts. The more intense workout should always be the first one, and you will want to avoid training the same muscle groups in the same day.
For your first workout, lift heavy weights in the morning and then the second workout can be light to moderate cardio, such as jogging. Another example might include HIIT training in the morning and flexibility, such as a yoga class, in the evening. Another option can be core training or a mat class like Pilates.
For muscle gains you can split one workout, such as a leg workout, into two sessions. By doing one session in the morning and one in the evening, you will be able to work out harder and lift heavier. You can do this by working quads and hamstrings in the morning and glutes and calves in the evening, for example.
If you are training for an endurance event, you may not have a three-hour block of time to run in the morning but can still get your running time in by splitting it into two 90-minute sessions.
Training twice per day is taxing on your body, so it is important to rest. You’ll also want to make sure you get plenty of sleep at night so your muscles can recover. Hydration and how you fuel your body is important, too. Pay attention to nutrition, protein intake and make sure that you are not overeating, as that will be counterproductive.
Angela Fulgieri is the Wellness Experience Director at the Plant City YMCA. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.