If the phrase “two-a-days” sends you into unpleasant flashbacks of high school sports, we’re right there with you. Not since we were 16-years-old and had all the energy in the world did we consider working out twice in one day.
And, although doing double duty a the gym might seem like a way to fast track any fitness goal, is it doable and healthy? We chatted with Aaptiv trainer and Certified Holistic Health Coach, AADP, IIN Kelly Chase to find out.
Is it Safe?
According to Chase, two-a-day workouts are perfectly safe for someone of a “normal” fitness level. However, she does note that working out twice in a day can increase your risk for injury if you’re performing workouts that are pushing you to your limits.
Your best bet for avoiding injury and burnout is to balance out your two workouts. Try HIIT in the morning and a more low-intensity workout in the evening. “HIIT in the A.M. energizes you throughout your morning or day,” explains Chase. “And yoga or steady-rate cardio relieves unwanted stress while relaxing the mind before bedtime.”
As Chase mentioned, if you are going to opt for a two-a-day workout plan, it’s incredibly important to vary the workouts you pair together and the length of each one.
Chase says if you’re pairing a high-intensity workout and a steady-rate cardio or yoga class (which is what she recommends doing!), both workouts can be performed for a normal workout length. (Think: 45 to 60 minutes each.)
However, if you opt for two HIIT workouts, be sure to break them up into two shorter sessions. Chase says to aim for two 30 to 45-minute sessions as opposed to two 60-minute sessions. And be sure to vary which muscles you’re working when performing two HIIT classes together.
Don’t Forget to Rest.
Just as you need balance with your workouts during your two-a-days, you will need to balance when you perform them during the week. “If you do one high intensity and one low intensity (two-a-day plan), then I believe doing these workouts back-to-back is generally OK,” explains Chase. But, she goes on to add this practice is suitable only if the HIIT workouts you choose for a portion of the double workout are focusing on different parts of the body. For example, she suggests opting for a HIIT leg day and cardio one day, followed by a HIIT upper body day and cardio to allow your legs to have a rest day in between.
Ultimately, days that you do not work out at all are just as important to any training plan as days you’re working hard. Allowing your body to recover is an essential part of any fit lifestyle. Although, it can tempting to work out daily—especially when you’re trying to PR or lose weight—rest is essential to keeping your body healthy, strong, and free from injury.
Remember, just because you’re doing two workouts in a day doesn’t mean you’re fast-tracking yourself to achieving a weight loss goal. Yes, working out on a two-a-day plan will help burn more calories, but doing all that work means nothing if you’re not eating nutrient-dense meals in between.
“If you’re wanting to do a two-a-day because you’re eating high-calorie, high-carb meals, full of processed ingredients, then you’re just over-working, over-stressing your body,” Chase explains. “You will not see results, and you certainly will not feel results.”
Bottom line: Be sure to stick to nutritious meals to help fuel your busy body!