Scenario: you’re working out, you’re eating nutritious foods, but you feel like you’re barely seeing ~any~ progress. What GIVES? WHY is this taking so long? You’re feeling impatient and ready to see some results for all of the work you’ve put in, so you come up with a genius idea: two-a-days. You’re going to work out TWICE a day to burn double the calories and see progress twice as fast!
Genius. Simply genius. Right? Well, here’s the thing.
Most of the time, doing two workouts a day will hinder your progress rather than help it. Now you’re probably like, “But Chloe, HOW? That seems backwards???!” And I get it. It kind of does, until you hear about WHY it’s not a good idea.
Exercise is undoubtedly one of the BEST things you can do for your body. It improves your cardiovascular health, decreases symptoms of depression, decreases stress levels, improves your sleep, and SO much more. Which makes you wonder, why and how would working out twice a day be not so beneficial for you?
While your body needs and benefits from exercise, it also needs and benefits from adequate amounts of REST, too. That’s right – not working out is just as important as working out.
Todd Buckingham, the Chief Exercise Physiologist at The Bucking Fit Life, explained to Live Science that working out twice a day increases your risk of overtraining injuries, can decrease your quantity and quality of sleep, and can increase your stress hormone cortisol AS WELL AS your hunger hormone ghrelin, which can increase your appetite and weight gain.
Another key thing to note is WHAT is considered ‘two workouts a day’. For example, I do cardio and weightlifting in the same day and back to back, so is that two workouts? In my scenario, it’s not for two main reasons. First, neither of those sessions are gruelsomely long – my cardio is usually 15-30 minutes and my lifts are usually 30-50 minutes. Putting me at a very healthy range of 30 minutes to 1.5 hours of exercise each day.
Sometimes I’ll go for an hour long walk after doing a 45 minute weight lifting workout. Is that over-doing it? Absolutely not! When I talk about two workouts a day being harmful, I’m referring to you doing two workouts that are super taxing on your body and leave you feeling tired, exhausted, and sore at the end of them. Combining two forms of exercise into a day is fabulous and great and should absolutely be done! Preferably, one would be low intensity while one would be medium-high intensity.
In other words, you don’t need to be maxing out on lower body at the gym just to go back at night to hit a heavy upper body lift. THAT is when two-a-days get more harmful than beneficial! Also, as is the case with most things in life, this doesn’t pertain to everyone in every situation. People who are professional athletes, competing fitness competitions, or are training for a specific sporting event will have different workout schedules and needs than the average person.
If you’re just the average person, like me, who’s working out to look and feel your best, you don’t need to do two a days. You don’t need to push your body to it’s breaking point day in and day out to see results. You just need a consistent routine, a form or two of exercise that you actually enjoy, and patience while you wait for your hard work to show itself off. Because even though it feels like it’s taking a long time, two weeks from now you’ll look back in think, “Wow, I’m so glad I didn’t give up!”
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