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Twice A Day Workouts – Smart Move Or Training Mistake?

There are a wide variety of different workout programs out there from full body programs to push/pull splits to the formerly popular, old-school bodybuilding body part splits.
Now though, more and more people are starting to consider the option of twice a day workouts and whether this is something that could conceivably work well for them.   
Obviously one thing that needs to be in place for twice a day workouts to even be a consideration is time. If you struggle getting in just one workout a day, you definitely are not going to be doing two workouts a day.  On the flip side though, if you’re someone who has certain days of the week that are much busier than others, then it might just work out perfectly for you since you could do the two workouts a day on your freer days, while having off days fall when you’re more hectic with other things going on with your life. Before making the jump to twice a day workouts though, there are some important things to consider.

Recovery Capabilities

First up, you need to look at what your own recovery abilities are like.  If you typically find that you cannot do more than three or four workouts a week without starting to feel overworked, twice a day workouts may be pushing it for you.
You could still try them, but you would need to be very careful with how you go about planning each session, being sure to keep things at a low enough volume that you are effectively able to do the second workout.
Keep in mind too that many things will impact your recovery rate – one major one being stress. If you are a high-stress individual or work in a career where you’re really facing a lot of demands placed on you, you might not find you are recovering as well as you would if you were not as stressed, hence that’s an indirect factor that you should also consider.

Current Diet Protocol

Moving on, another big factor that will definitely impact your recovery rate is the diet protocol you are currently following. Anyone who is dieting, regardless of the actual type of the diet (some are going to be worse in this respect than others, however), will see impaired recovery. Basically, if you only have so much energy coming in, your body is only going to have so much available to recover with.

If there was an unlimited supply of energy coming in, then it would only make sense that you’re going to recovery quite quickly and still have energy to spare. This is often the case when you’re on a bulking diet.
Low carb diets in particular are going to impact recovery the most, since carbohydrates are the main macronutrient that is going to go towards filling muscle glycogen stores and essentially preparing you for your next workout session.
If your diet does not have you eating many carbs apart from the post-workout period, you aren’t going to have much to ‘prime’ your body with before the second workout of the day.
For this reason, if you are planning to do twice a day workouts, it would be a very smart idea to consider altering your diet slightly in order to accommodate to this. A far better option, if you are going to try and stay on a fat loss diet, is calorie cycling.  In such an approach you would have higher calorie days on training days, and then much lower calorie days on non-training days.

This would then allow you to fuel your body better when you need it the most – on days you are working out, while still allowing you to create a large enough deficit per week through the reduced calorie diet on your non-workout days.
Many people actually do get really great results on such a calorie cycling approach, and in some cases if they adapt their training enough and are pushing the calories a bit higher on training days, they could potentially even gain some lean muscle mass.
That is a much rarer occurrence though but can be accomplished if you are intricate enough with your planning.

Time Spread Availability

The next thing to consider is your time spread availability.  Are you going to be able to perform one workout in the morning and then a second at 7 or 8 at night?
Or you are you looking at a much closer split, say doing one workout at noon and another right after work at 5?
The more time you can have between each session the better off you will be.  This is what will allow your body the most time to get recovered so you are able to push yourself as hard as possible during the second workout.

Obviously if your schedule essentially dictates when you workout you may not have much choice in the matter, but taking into consideration just how much time you are allowing to rest in between will be important when constructing the design of the workout program. 
Those with less time will want to do lower volume in both workouts, particularly after the first one to compensate for the shorter rest time span.

Additional Activity

Finally, the last thing to think about before implementing the twice a day workout protocol is how much additional activity you are doing during the day.
If you have an office job, that is going to lend to doing twice a day workouts much better than if you were working an active job where you’re on your feet all day.
Again this comes down to basic rest and recovery.  If you’re sitting, you’re recovering faster than if you’re walking around.  Note that a small amount of walking can help keep the blood circulating and enhance recovery, but this would be more classified as a couple easy 10-15 minute walks throughout the day.  Not standing for 8 hours.

How To Design a Twice A Day Workout

So, once you’ve taken all those factors into consideration, then it’s time to set-up the actual workouts.  There two main ways you can go about doing this.

Same Body Part Twice-A-Days

The first method is to train similar body parts on the same day.  In this case, this would work well for someone who is doing an upper/lower split, but will only be targeting each area of the body once per week (but with two workouts on the day it is done).
What you would do in this cause is place the more compound, heavy loading, lower rep sets in the first workout where you will focus primarily on strength and power development.
That workout will really hit the CNS quite intensely, so it’s important to do it while you’re fresh.
Then, you would place some of the more isolated exercises in the second workout, performing them with a lighter weight but moving into the higher rep range of 8-12 reps.
This would then allow you to get in a good ‘pump’ workout, stimulating more on the muscular hypertrophy side of things.
You could theoretically use this approach doing a full body workout as well, but you’d definitely want to keep the overall volume a lot lower when doing so, and it would only be those who have extremely good recovery capabilities who would tolerate this (since then you’re hitting each body part at a very high frequency each week).

Different Body Part Twice-A-Days

The second way you can design a twice a day workout program is by working different muscle groups during each session.  So for example, you might start out doing a lower body workout in the morning, and then switch over to an upper body workout performed in the evening. This would allow you to increase the frequency with which you train each body part since you could theoretically work each part up to three times a week (Mon, Wed, Fri twice a day workouts).
Contrast this to your usual upper/lower set-up and you’re basically fitting in one more workout for each body part each week, all while adding an extra day off for complete rest in the process.
Since stimulating the muscles at a higher frequency does tend to maximize gains provided you are recovered between sessions, this would prove to be advantageous towards your progress.
So, keep these points in mind.  It will take a certain type of person in a certain type of situation to best make twice a day workouts effective, but when done correctly they can help you push your body to the next level.

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