Should You Exercise Twice a Day?

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istock_000013966421xsmallDoing any exercise is better than being a couch potato, but there’s some evidence that working out twice a day could get you slimmer faster. Yes, I can hear them – the excuses and the many reasons why you can’t work out twice a day. After all, you have a job and a family – but it may not be as hard as you think. Exercise the same amount of time, but break it up into two sessions instead of one.

Why is it better to work out twice a day? There’s some science behind it. Fitness researchers had participants jog on a treadmill for 60 minutes at a moderate-intensity. The joggers were allowed to rest – then it was back to the treadmill again for another round. The results? The second time through the participants burned more fat than they did during the first treadmill workout.

Why Does Working Out Twice a Day Burn More Fat?

When you do a workout, your body has to expend energy to gear your body up to work. This means turning on hormones like growth hormone, epinephrine and norepinephrine that send your body into fat burning mode. After all, your body derives much of its energy from fat breakdown during low and moderate-intensity exercise. Once you get into “exercise mode”, your body adapts to some degree – and you don’t expend as much energy as you did during the “gearing-up-to-go” phase. When you work out twice a day, your body has to expend that extra energy to gear up twice, which means you’re burning additional calories and fat.

There are other reasons why working out twice a day can get you slimmer faster. Some people work out hard for an hour and then sit glued to a chair the rest of the day. When you sit for prolonged periods, your body goes into rest mode – and your metabolism drops. Doing a second exercise session reduces the amount of time your body spends on idle and keeps your fat-burning furnaces burning energy.

Finally, if you work out twice a day, you’ll work harder and expend more energy than you will during a single session. Most people start exercising with a bang and slow down as fatigue and boredom sets in. It’s hard to stay focused during a long workout – and when you’re focused you expend more energy. Chances are you’ll get a better quality workout if you break your workout into two sessions.

There are some disadvantages to working out twice a day. You may have to take a shower twice – and time is an issue for some people. Try working out twice a day a few days a week to add some variety, and do something completely different during each session. If you do cardio during the first daily workout, focus on strength-training during the second one. Ideally, do the first workout when you wake up in the morning and the second one when you get home from work – to help “invigorate” you – but don’t forget to give yourself some days off to avoid overtraining.

References:

Fitness Prescription for Men. March 2010. page 18.

Exercise Physiology. Seventh edition. 2009. Powers and Howley

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