Fitness plays a different role in people’s lives. It’s got a unique value and place for all of us. We’re all just trying to make it work around our lifestyles and use it in the best way that suits us.
For some, a bit of gentle exercise 2-3 times a week is enough. For others, they like to get in the gym most days. And some love to work out as much as they possibly can. Training volume is unique to all of us. But, what about working out twice a day?
There could be many reasons for asking this question. If someone’s looking to progress in multiple areas and wants to give themselves the best possible chance. If someone’s lifestyle means that they have little free time and want to maximise the opportunities they get. If someone just loves the feeling exercise brings them so much, they want to do it as much as they can.
But it does sound like a lot. So, let’s unpick the pros and cons of working out twice a day.
Why would you want to work out twice a day?
For some, the idea of doing more than one type of exercise is mind-blowing. It does sound excessive on the face of it. For most of us, time, energy, and workload mean that fitness can be hard to fit in. The work/life/fitness balance doesn’t lend itself well to two-a-day workouts. But there are some reasons you might want to be training twice in one day.
You’re too busy. Okay, this sounds crazy, but for some people, doing two bits of exercise in one day is a way to be more efficient. If your lifestyle means that you find it difficult to spend an hour in the gym and do a full session, you might be looking to split it across the day into two bursts—half an hour in the morning, half an hour in the evening. Or perhaps your job keeps you sedentary for many hours of the day, so you prefer to do a strength training session in the morning and then cardio in the evening because other than that, you’re not moving much. It’s these little nuances that mean you want to work out more than once per day.
You’re working on different fitness types. You might have different and numerous fitness goals on the go at one time. Perhaps you’re looking to get stronger, improve your cardiovascular fitness, and develop your flexibility. In this case, your first workout might be a strength training session, and your second might be a run or a restorative yoga class.
What are the rules to doing two workouts per day?
As with most things in fitness, there is no golden rule. What works for one person might not work for another. What one person finds exhausting, another might find energising. Your current level of fitness also plays a massive part in this. The key is to listen to what your body is telling you because it’s your most valuable source of information.
Consider training volume and intensity
It’s not as straightforward as doing one workout or two workouts. It all comes down to time. For example, if you do two sessions of 30 minutes and spread that across the day, that’s no more than doing a single one-hour session. Training volume is better described by the total time spent doing intense exercise. And we say intense because exercise comes in lots of different forms, like walking or stretching. But we pay less attention to those things because we might not do them inside a gym or get into workout gear to do them. It all comes down to how your body feels.
Figure out if you need rest
The most important thing to have in mind is recovery time. For certain types of training, your body needs time to recover. When building muscle, it’s essential to give the muscle groups you have been working enough time to repair, rebuild, and recover. Doing two intense workouts, each an hour-long, targeting the same muscle group, twice a day is probably not that good for you. Lifting heavy weights is something we need to recover from. But you might feel up for a jog in the afternoon after working your upper body. Again, it all comes down to how your body feels.
Think about frequency
Frequency is also a significant factor and links to the importance of recovery time. On one particular day, you might find yourself working out twice because you have the time and you’re in the mood for it. You then might not work out for the following two days. The frequency of your training again will dictate whether your body is up for working out twice in one day. You guessed it, it all comes down to how your body feels.
Can I run twice a day?
Your body does need to recover in between runs. Running in large volumes can, over time, shorten your range of motion and cause issues with flexibility. It also can irritate your joints if you don’t have the adequate muscle to support the impact. If you’re a bit of a beginner, you’ll need a lot more recovery than a seasoned pro. All these things come into consideration when you’re thinking about running every day. It also depends on the distance and intensity of each run. For most of us, once is enough. For others, they might run to and from work every day with no problem. Looking after your body is the answer to whether you can, which can come in the form of strength training, flexibility and mobility training, and rest.
Can I lift weights twice a day?
Strength training and weight lifting are probably the type of training you need to be the most careful about overdoing. Because all the progress is in the recovery time. If you’re not letting your muscles recover after a workout, you’re risking injury beyond belief.
However, some professionals and athletes might implement two-a-day workouts to their regime to maximise training and work separate muscle groups. The most important thing is to know which exercises work which muscles, to guarantee you’re giving each group the rest it needs.
For the majority of us, weight lifting twice a day, every day, is not a good idea. On occasion, it might be easier. But make sure you’re being mindful when you do and taking enough recovery.
Can I do HIIT, interval training, or circuits twice a day?
This style of workout often taps into multiple types of fitness. It gives your cardiovascular system a go while also testing your muscular endurance and possibly strength. Each class or workout can also be very different. For these reasons, it’s harder to give two-a-day workouts of this type the thumbs up or down.
You don’t need as much recovery time for cardiovascular or muscular endurance training, but you still need some. If you’re sore, you know you’ve had a tough session and that your body could do with a break. If you’re feeling full of energy and ready to go again, then you probably can. It all comes down to the rule of intuition.
However, research suggests that for HIIT exercise, that’s high-intensity stuff, it shouldn’t be done more than once a week. Your body needs more time to recover from more intense bursts of exercise.
So whether you’re the twice a day type, or whether once is absolutely enough for you, just make sure you’re listening to what your body wants. Take the time to figure out when you need to take it easy and when it’s time to Hussle hard.