How To Exercise Twice a Day

Working out twice a day sounds like one of those solutions to the problem of fitness that is theoretically possible but practically improbable. We all think that if we could train twice a day we’d get fitter, stronger and healthier twice as fast. Fitting a twice-a-day training habit in our lifestyle however is something that seems to us nearly impossible to do.

Everyone has a regular load of work and chores to deal with. Life also has the habit of throwing up emergencies and they tend to derail daily habits by quite a bit. The perception of these two alone is enough to make the very idea of training twice a day appear untenable. Yet, with a little planning and some realignment of the concept of exercise we can fit two daily workouts in our life.

To make it work for you these are the things you need to consider:

Timing: Pick two time slots in your day that are ‘dead zones’. Typically these tend to be early in the morning before your day starts and then later, in the evening, when your day ends. But if you can find other time slots in your day when nothing much is happening those can also work well for you. The thing to keep in mind with the slots you pick is that your choice helps you cut down possibility of distractions and disruptions. Children, pets, partners and work are all potential sources of such distractions so by picking times to train at when all this is less likely to be an issue you’re making sure that you have what we popularly call “some quality ‘me’ time”.

Distractions and disruptions: As a rule set some boundaries. If you’re training early in the morning before anyone else wakes up and before work and the day around it, start properly you’re already giving yourself a better chance of doing what you want without interruptions. The same goes for late in the evening. This is why, for instance, Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. ‘The Rock’ trains at midnight. If you can’t train at those times however and you have chosen different segments to train at then make sure that those around you know that you don’t want to be interrupted during those times. Switch your phone to airplane mode, if necessary. The world will have to get on without you for the length of your workout.

Time: There are only 24 hours to each day. If you’re going to workout twice a day you need to somehow find a little extra time instead of struggling to reduce and compress time you have allocated for spending with friends and family and people who matter to you, or time you spend on sleep. In order to realistically do this you need to make sure you don’t spend more time preparing for your workout than is really necessary. This means cutting down on travelling time, changing into and out of clothes and showering. This is why your choice of timing and place are so important.

Place: Whatever you decide to do in your workout will require a place. Whether it is going down to the local park, exercising in your own bedroom, living room, back yard or going to the gym, the criteria for your choice should be the same: accessibility and ease of use. If it’s not easy to get to and doesn’t make it easy for you to workout then you shouldn’t be choosing it. Ideally you want to reduce the “get to” and “get from” time to an absolute minimum.

Workout goals: When you workout twice a day it’s easy to up your fitness goals because now you feel you’re putting in twice the work. While it is true that you’re working out more and you will see faster improvement on your fitness, as a result, this doesn’t mean that automatically everything will happen twice as fast. Exercise is the means through which we choose to stress the body. Physical stressors trigger the body’s adaptive response which makes us fitter and healthier. They also help our brains adapt better to stress. At the same time, when we train twice a day we need to factor in the fatigue that accumulates when we work our body and adjust our workout goals accordingly. For instance, if you decide to workout aerobically at the beginning of the day you need to switch to strength training or stretching in your second workout so that your body experiences a different type of stress. The approach should always be that your second workout of the day complements the first by adding an extra element that your first workout did not cover.

Workout type: Ideally, when you work out twice a day you do something entirely different every time. If, however, you’re running low on energy or inspiration it is good to have a go-to favorite workout you can resort to. It could be your favorite yoga routine, or just running a specific distance, or doing some kicks. The point in those ‘low’ times we all feel from time to time, you use something that comes easy to you and moves your body but doesn’t need any real thinking and concentration on your part.

Workout length: You’re training twice a day. So, the workout length now becomes less important than the fact that you’re working out twice a day. To help you understand why consider that even a microworkout helps change the blood chemistry[1] in our body. Changes to the blood chemistry affect changes in our body’s hormone profile which then changes our physiology. In other words, over time, even one minute of daily exercise will help us feel stronger and get healthier. So, if you can train a full hour each time that would be great, but if you can’t even 20 minutes’ worth of exercise twice a day, over time, will give you amazing results in the way you feel and how your body moves.

Mood: This is the last element we consider, but it is by no means the least. Exercise definitely helps improve your mood[2] which means it will improve your motivation but this doesn’t solve the problem that sometimes you’re just not in the mood to exercise. Studies have shown[3] that motivation increases when exercise is seamlessly integrated in our life. In order to do that we need to be smart in the way we set up all the other elements that go into making it possible to work out twice a day in the long term.

Conclusion

Working out twice a day, long term requires some forward planning in order to reduce the obstacles that are routinely thrown up during our daily life. Provided we can solve those by taking into account all the elements included in this article then working out twice a day becomes a lot easier. The fact that we work out twice a day produces its own changes in our mind and body. Our energy, attitude and resilience will also undergo a change. Once it is part of our life we will find it difficult to remember what it was like when we could only barely fit one training session a day in our life.

References

  1. Contrepois K, Wu S, Moneghetti KJ, Hornburg D, Ahadi S, Tsai MS, Metwally AA, Wei E, Lee-McMullen B, Quijada JV, Chen S, Christle JW, Ellenberger M, Balliu B, Taylor S, Durrant MG, Knowles DA, Choudhry H, Ashland M, Bahmani A, Enslen B, Amsallem M, Kobayashi Y, Avina M, Perelman D, Schüssler-Fiorenza Rose SM, Zhou W, Ashley EA, Montgomery SB, Chaib H, Haddad F, Snyder MP. Molecular Choreography of Acute Exercise. Cell. 2020 May 28;181(5):1112-1130.e16. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.04.043. PMID: 32470399; PMCID: PMC7299174. 
  2. Brand Serge, Colledge Flora, Ludyga Sebastian, Emmenegger Raphael, Kalak Nadeem, Sadeghi Bahmani Dena, Holsboer-Trachsler Edith, Pühse Uwe, Gerber Markus. Acute Bouts of Exercising Improved Mood, Rumination and Social Interaction in Inpatients With Mental Disorders. Frontiers in Psychology. Vol. 9, 2018, pp249. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00249. ISSN: 1664-1078
  3. Duncan, L.R., Hall, C.R., Wilson, P.M. et al. Exercise motivation: a cross-sectional analysis examining its relationships with frequency, intensity, and duration of exercise. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 7, 7 (2010).