If exercising is good for you, doubling your workouts ought to take you to the next fitness level. Right?
Don’t jump into two-a-day workouts just yet.
“Exercising twice a day may not work out in your favor if you’re looking for better fitness results,” said Sam Joswiak, an athletic trainer at Marshfield Clinic. “It puts a lot of stress on your body and can add to recovery time.”
If you do plan to work out twice a day, follow these tips from Joswiak to avoid injury and fatigue.
Do’s and don’ts of two-a-day workouts
Don’t rush into two-a-day workouts. Ease into an exercise routine if you’ve been inactive. Doing too much too soon can lead to injury. Ask your doctor if it’s safe to begin a more intense routine once you have a good fitness base.
Do use different energy systems and muscle groups during your workouts. If you lift weights in the morning, don’t strength train the same muscle groups again in the evening. Make your second workout a cardio session, or train different muscle groups. Try to keep one of your two workouts low intensity, Joswiak said. Some athletes do two cardio sessions in one day, such as biking and swimming to prepare for a triathlon.
Don’t work out twice a day every day. Limit two-a-day workouts to once or twice a week to avoid putting too much stress on your body.
Do get enough rest. Keep a regular sleep schedule and get enough sleep each night. Take full days off from heavy exercising each week to recover from two-a-day workouts. Light activity like biking or walking can aid in recovery.
Listen to your body
“Pay attention to signs of overtraining,” Joswiak said. “If you’re more sore than usual or something starts to hurt, modify what you’re doing, take a rest day or stop doing two-a-day workouts.”
If you’re feeling fatigued, check your sleep, water intake and nutrition. Drink water even if you aren’t feeling thirsty. Urine should be clear to very light yellow if you’re drinking enough water. Make sure you’re eating enough to fuel your workouts, including a variety of healthful foods. Take a break from two-a-day workouts if you’re still feeling tired even though you’re getting enough sleep, water and food.
“Don’t compromise other aspects of your life like social or family life to fit two training sessions in one day,” Joswiak said. “One session can be more than enough.”