Reposted from: http://www.fitnessrepublic.com/fitness/10-surprising-facts-about-working-out-twice-a-day.html
Written by: Christian Heftel
Most people think about exercising in terms of how many times they work out per week, but some people want to up the ante and get their heart rate up more than once in a day. Working out twice a day has some potential benefits as well as some potential drawbacks. Here are 10 surprising facts you should know about exercising twice in one day.
1. Two-a-Days Can Be Safe
Some people assume exercising twice a day must be bad or unsafe. But if you do it right, this doesn’t have to be the case. 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 working out multiple times per day, you definitely need to make sure you get enough rest. Obviously, it’s good to give yourself some time between your workouts on any given day (some experts suggest waiting between four and six hours between your exercise sessions), and it is equally important to rest your muscle groups between days. For example, if you do a heavy leg workout one day, then even if you get other exercise sessions in the meantime, you probably don’t want to really tax your legs again before for a couple days.
Make sure you take at least one day completely off each week, and potentially more. Additionally, if you notice that you are growing more fatigued and sore over time, or that your ability to perform is decreasing, you may need to increase your amount of rest.
3. The Order of Exercise Matters
If you’re doing both high-intensity (like HIIT or strength training) and low-intensity exercises (like “regular” cardio), you should do the higher intensity work in your first session. It will likely be easier for you to give your all when you’re still fresh. Then, you can do the more endurance-based exercise later, when you’re tired.
4. Nutrition Is Critical
If you’re going to get the benefits of working out twice a day and not just wear yourself down, you need to be eating right. What you eat supplies the building blocks that your body uses to heal and repair itself, and when you’re working out twice a day, you need those building blocks pronto. Askmen suggests eating a meal with both complex and simple carbs and plenty of protein immediately after your first workout, and then a similar meal prior to your second workout.
5. You Shouldn’t Necessarily Be Doing More Exercise
Some workout schedules suggest exercising twice in one day but having increased numbers of rest days. For example, one suggested by Askmen has the following setup:
- 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 always important for athletes, but if you’re working out twice a day, you really need sleep. Getting enough sleep can make a huge difference when it comes to seeing results or seeing burnout.
7. Go Slow
If you’re just starting working out twice a day, make sure that you listen to your body. It’s not necessarily a great idea to suddenly jump into two-a-days by trying to run 5 miles in the morning and another 10 in the evening. Work up to your big workouts.
8. Be Balanced
While you may have some temptation to make both your workouts super intense to increase how quickly you see benefits, this is probably not the best approach. If you want to do both a super long run and wind-sprints, you probably want to do those on different days, possibly separated by a rest day. Instead, try mixing in exercises that are complementary. Mix weight-lifting with jogging, or swimming with yoga.
9. Don’t Do It Forever
Working out twice a day can be great for bursting through a plateau, but it can be very difficult on your body and your mind to try and do it indefinitely. 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’re pushing yourself to your limit, you can see real changes, and this is one of the real benefits of working out twice a day. But when you’re at your limit, you also flirt with overtraining and injury. Pay close attention to how you feel, both emotionally and mentally. If you’re feeling tired, hurt, bored, discouraged or fatigued, this may be a sign that you should scale things back or change things up. When you see these signs, pushing through isn’t always your best option. Instead, listen to the signs and adapt accordingly.
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