How many times a week do you work out for weight loss? Three? Four? Five? Bad news, folks; that may not be enough to lose weight. There are 168 hours in a week, and even five one-hour workouts a week could still mean that you are too inactive to burn off all those unwanted pounds. That’s especially true if you are otherwise sedentary, as most people tend to be.
With so little weekly physical activity, you’ll have no choice but to slash your calorie intake, which invariably leads to hunger and cravings. Your willpower will help you resist the allure of forbidden foods for a few days and even a week or two, but eventually, you’ll cheat on your diet, and your weight loss progress will grind to a halt. You may even quit your diet for good and never reach your weight loss goals.
The good news is that working out twice a day can help speed up weight loss, taking pressure off your diet.
In this guide, we reveal the best way to use this powerful weight-loss method.
The Benefits of Working Out Twice A Day
Working out twice a day will have a big impact on your weight loss. The benefits of exercising more frequently include:
A more manageable workout schedule
Most weight loss workouts last an hour or more. That’s a big chunk of time to find. If you work out in the morning, you’ll have to get used to getting up a lot earlier than usual. If you like to exercise in the evening, you can forget about relaxing in front of the TV after work. Lunchbreak workouts? Forget about it, unless you have a very accommodating boss!
However, you will probably find it easier to schedule two shorter workouts a day compared to one longer workout. For example, you could go for a quick 20 to 30-minute jog or power walk in the morning and then do a 30 to 40-minute bodyweight strength circuit in the evening. It will also be easier to grab a short lunchtime workout if that works better for you.
If long workouts don’t fit your lifestyle, a couple of shorter exercise bouts could be more convenient.
Studies also suggest that shorter, more frequent workouts are more effective for building healthy habits than longer, less frequent workouts (1). Ultimately, the more often you do something, the sooner and more deeply it will become engrained in your subconscious. Once working out becomes habitual, you won’t need to rely so much on motivation and willpower to maintain your exercise schedule.
Increased calorie expenditure
Working out twice a day will increase your daily energy expenditure. Obviously, the actual number of calories burned will depend on how hard and how long you exercise, as well as your age, weight, and gender. However, the more calories you burn through exercise, the more weight you’ll lose, and the less strict your diet needs to be.
As an added benefit, working out twice a day will provide you with two bursts of EPOC – short for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption and also known as the afterburn effect. EPOC causes a significant increase in your resting metabolic rate, leading to an increased caloric expenditure even while you are sedentary (2).
While resistance and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) has the most significant effect on EPOC, even low-intensity workouts also cause a small but worthwhile increase in your resting metabolic rate. Two workouts per day means two “EPOC incidents.”
Increased insulin sensitivity
Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas that transports nutrients into your liver and muscle cells. Sedentarism and high body fat levels can cause a condition called insulin resistance. This means the nutrients that should be taken into your liver and muscles end up going to your fat stores instead.
Exercise increases insulin sensitivity, allowing this critical storage hormone to do its job more effectively, minimizing fat storage. Increased insulin sensitivity also helps lower and stabilize your blood glucose, creating the ideal environment for fat burning and weight loss (3).
Working out twice a day will lead to longer increases in insulin sensitivity, enhancing your weight loss efforts. Make the most of this by eating most of your calories AFTER your workouts, ensuring that more of the nutrients end up in your muscles and not your fat stores.
The same benefits as longer, single workouts
Studies have shown that several short workouts are just as beneficial as one longer workout for developing fitness and weight loss (4). It seems that doing three ten-minute workouts, two 15-minute workouts, or one 30-minute workout are all similarly effective.
If you don’t have time to do one long workout a day, the good news is that your results won’t suffer just because you split your training into two or even three smaller, more manageable chunks. Plus, those more frequent workouts will produce the added benefits outlined in this article.
Long periods of sedentarism aren’t just bad for your body and your waistline; they’re bad for your brain too. Working out more often stimulates your muscles AND your mind, leading to increased cognition and productivity. Even a 5-10 mini-workout is enough to get your blood pumping and stimulate your brain.
Fewer aches and pains
Do you tend to cease up between workouts? If you follow something like a day on/day off schedule and are mostly sedentary on your rest days, your muscles will probably tighten up, and your joints will feel stiff.
In contrast, more frequent bouts of exercise will keep your joints mobile and your muscles supple, leading to fewer aches and pains and easier, more fluid movements.
Humans were not designed to be sedentary for days or even hours at a time; we function best with frequent bouts of activity. Working out twice a day means you’ll get up and move more often, which is good for joint and muscle health.
Offset habitual sedentarism
Over 40% of the population is sedentary. That means they are so inactive that ill health is the likely result. Four out of ten adults do NO physical activity (5).
Work involves sitting at a desk, and transport usually means driving or catching the bus. Entertainment is mainly passive, too, such as watching TV, going to a movie, or playing video games. Food can be delivered, negating the need to even get up and walk around the grocery store.
Sedentarism is linked to a host of illnesses and diseases, including:
- Coronary heart disease
Exercising twice a day means less time sitting and more time moving, which is good for every aspect of your health.
Working Out Twice A Day – Drawbacks
While working out more frequently will help you lose weight faster, it’s not all good news. Consider the following before you start doubling up on your workouts.
If you work out intensely twice a day, you may soon start to feel tired. With just a few hours between workouts, you may not recover enough to do your second workout justice.
However, with sensible programming, you should be able to avoid wearing yourself out. For example, you could do an intense workout in the morning and then a shorter, easier workout later in the day.
While exercise tends to have a short-term, appetite-suppressing effect, in the long term, it can increase your hunger, leading to an increase in calorie intake (6).
While the relationship between exercise and appetite varies from person to person, you may find that working out twice a day makes you hungrier, and you find yourself eating larger meals. Needless to say, this could cancel out some of the weight benefits of twice-daily workouts.
Monitor your food intake using a tracking app, and make sure you maintain the calorie deficit necessary for weight loss.
The hardest part about working out twice a day is staying motivated. There will be times when lacing up your sneakers and doing your second workout is far from appealing. After all, once the working day is done, you deserve some rest and relaxation, right?
For that reason, it’s probably not a good idea to work out twice every day. You should also have days where you do just one workout and even have a day or two per week where you don’t exercise at all.
That way, you’ll only have to motivate yourself to work out twice a few days a week, which should be more psychologically manageable.
How to Work Out Twice a Day for Weight Loss
If you are struggling to lose weight because you are too sedentary, twice-a-day workouts will undoubtedly help. Enjoy the benefits and avoid the pitfalls of more frequent workouts by following these guidelines:
Doing the same workout twice a day will soon get old. If you start to dread your workouts because you find them boring, it won’t be long before you quit. Keep your schedule fresh and exciting by rotating activities, both each day and across your training week.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry; there is an example workout in the next section.
Ease yourself in gradually
Don’t feel that you HAVE to work out twice a day every day from the get-go. If you go from three workouts a week to two workouts every day, you’ll probably regret it! Instead, ease yourself into twice-daily workouts by only doubling up on just 1-2 days a week. See how your body responds, and then add another day if you feel okay.
While working out twice a day could help you lose weight faster, it may be too much for some people.
Vary the intensity levels
You can’t train hard all the time and expect to recover between workouts. Make sure you include low, medium, and high-intensity workouts in your schedule. That way, you’ll avoid becoming overtired and overtrained.
Respect your body’s need for rest and sleep
Working out takes a lot out of your body, essentially breaking your muscles down and depleting your energy levels. You need adequate rest and recovery so your body can “bounce back,” ready for your next workout.
Make sure you provide your body with the time and resources it needs to recover by eating healthily, getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and also programing rest days into your schedule.
Related: Calories Burned Sleeping Calculator
Listen to your body
Leading on from the point above, even if you eat well and get plenty of sleep, you may still have days when you feel tired and not fully recovered from your workouts. Listen to your body and take some extra rest if you think you need it.
If your limbs are heavy, your resting heart rate is 10% or more higher than usual, your joints ache, or your workout performance drops, you probably need a rest. Training through fatigue is rarely a good idea. It’s almost always better to skip a workout or two and come back stronger than to plow on, ignore your body, and then need to take a longer break.
Don’t forget to warm up and cool down
Two workouts a day means two warmups and cool downs. Warming up prepares your muscles and joints for what you are about to do while cooling down minimizes muscle soreness, promotes flexibility, and speeds up recovery.
To warm up, do five to ten minutes of light cardio, followed by some dynamic mobility and flexibility exercises for the joints you are about to use. For your cool down, do another couple of minutes of cardio followed by static stretches for the muscles you have just trained.
Fuel your workouts with healthy food
Food is fuel, and you’ll need to provide your body with plenty of what it needs to power through your twice-a-day workouts. Give your body the energy it needs without undermining weight loss by eating natural, nutritious food and steering clear of processed junk food and refined sugar. Don’t use working out twice a day as a justification for living on take-outs, candy, and soda!
Remember to also hydrate before, during, and after your workouts. Water loss is not the same as fat loss; being dehydrated could undermine your workout performance.
Related: Calorie Deficit Calculator
Example Workout Schedule
This schedule involves a few different workouts and several days where you’ll exercise twice. It’s a weight loss program that will also increase fitness and muscle tone.
Twice a day workout schedule
|Workout 1 – A.M.||Workout 2 – P.M.|
|Monday||20-30 minutes LISS cardio||Lower body resistance training|
|Tuesday||15-20 minutes HIIT||Upper body resistance training|
|Thursday||20-30 minutes LISS cardio||Lower body resistance training|
|Friday||Yoga/ Stretching||Upper body resistance training|
|Sunday||60 to 90-minute Hike||Rest|
Related: Yoga Calories Burned Calculator
Working out twice a day could help you lose weight faster. It’s the perfect antidote for the increasingly sedentary lifestyle most of us lead. Even people who work out 3-5 times a week are classed as sedentary, and the less physically active you are, the harder it is to lose weight. Twice-a-day workouts can also improve your health, productivity, and general well-being.
That said, working out more frequently is not always easy and requires a significant amount of energy, time, and motivation. For some people, it may not be practical. However, doubling up on your workouts even once or twice a week could help you reach your weight loss goal sooner.
Use the information in this article to determine if working out twice a day is right for you and how to start doing it.
1- PubMed: Making health habitual: the psychology of ‘habit-formation’ and general practice https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3505409/
2- PubMed: Effects of exercise intensity and duration on the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17101527/
3- PubMed: Exercise training and insulin resistance: A current review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4625541/
4- PubMed: Effects of long versus short bout exercise on fitness and weight loss in overweight females https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11601564/
5- PubMed: Sedentary Lifestyle – Overview of Updated Evidence of Potential Health Risks https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7700832/
6- PubMed: Acute and chronic effects of exercise on appetite, energy intake, and appetite-related hormones: The modulating effect of adiposity, sex, and habitual physical activity https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6164815/