Two-a-day workouts are typically designed for athletes. Here's what you should know if you are considering the intense form of training for yourself.
Many people find they hardly have enough time for one workout per day when their schedules are packed. So the idea of two workouts per day seems rather daunting. But is it something we should be striving for?
According to fitness experts, most people are advised to stick to one workout per day. The exception, of course, applies to athletes or people whose career requires a high standard of fitness.
"A highly conditioned, world-class athlete would be able to safely handle multiple training sessions in one day," said biologist Jason Edmonds. "But a middle-aged person of average athletic ability with a full-time job and family probably wouldn’t want to plan a regimen that involved multiple daily sessions at the gym doing heavy strength training."
Exercise guidelines for adults state they should aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
Given this, it does not seem necessary to work out twice a day to meet the criteria, especially if a person is unable to repeat the intensity of the workout for the second. In such a case, the extra benefits may not be worth the energy you are spending according to exercise physiologist Jonathan Mike.
If you still seek to work out more than once a day, it is important to speak to a doctor and get their approval to do so. When starting out, seek guidance from a trainer and take it slow. Additionally, make sure you stick to a proper sleep schedule, drink enough water, include enough nutrients in your diet, and prioritize warm-ups.
Performing two sessions a day (also known as two-a-days) can carry an increased risk of injury if you do not give your body a chance to properly recover. For example, working with weights twice a day might cause excessive strain and affect recovery. High-intensity cardio twice a day can also result in symptoms of overtraining.
Instead, it can be beneficial to target different areas and avoid working the same muscle multiple times a day. "I always urge people who embark on two-a-days to have one session be more strength-focused and the other be more cardio focused," said Los Angeles-based celebrity trainer Mike Donavanik. "That way, you’re able to go for full intensity both workouts."
As mentioned before, two-a-days are not the best option as one workout a day can be good enough for non-athletes. It is important to recognize the signs that your body is unable to meet the demands of such intense training. It may be a sign to take a step back if you find that you are stressed due to the schedule, experiencing sleep-related problems, or constantly feeling exhausted.
"Two-a-day workouts, if not properly programmed and implemented, can increase the [risk] of overtraining injuries," said Nicholas M. Licameli, a physical therapist based in New Jersey. While physical recovery is important, he also drew attention to the possibility of a mental burnout without adequate rest.
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