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How You Can Use Two-a-Day Workouts for More Gains Without Burning Out

Men's Health logo Men's Health 8/17/2022 Brett Williams, NASM

WHEN YOU HAVE a lofty goal you're striving to achieve, you might feel like your morning or evening training sessions might not be enough. It's tempting to just cram in an extra spot on the calendar for a second round at the gym, taking your daily habit up to a two-a-day split.

Conventional wisdom might demand that you pump the breaks on this ambitious plan. You might be pushing too much volume into your training day—just because you're spending the extra time might not necessarily mean that you'll reap the extra gains. You might be proving your commitment to your goals, but you could also be pushing yourself to the edge, putting yourself at the risk of injury, sloppy workouts, and even overtraining.

Athletes use two-a-day workouts to pack in more training time in a single day, but this can lead to burnout. Here are 3 rules to follow for success. © Cavan Images - Getty Images Athletes use two-a-day workouts to pack in more training time in a single day, but this can lead to burnout. Here are 3 rules to follow for success.

So are two-a-day workouts always a bad idea? Not if you're smart about your strategy, according to Men's Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. He thinks that two-a-days aren't just to crush your body with extra training volume. "We can actually use them for a lot of other purposes, and get a lot out of them," he says.

There are two situations where two-a-days can be particularly useful, according to Samuel:

●Breaking Up a Single Workout Into Two Sessions

●Training to Accomplish Multiple Goals

"The key is, we want to be productive in both of our workouts," Samuel says. You shouldn't be only focused on the amount of time you spend training. Instead, follow these rules for more two-a-day training success.

3 Rules for Productive Two-a-Day Workouts

Keep Your Workouts Short

Since your cumulative workout time will be long, keep each session relatively short. "You do not need to run yourself through a brick wall in both of your workouts, and doing two-a-days is not a license to do that," he says.

Rather than focusing on time, break your single workout into two sessions, and focus on ramping up the intensity in each of them.

Prioritize Rest

"The objective and the goal of two-a-day workouts is to let you be intensely productive in both of your sessions, and that can only happen if you're rested," Samuel says. If you were only to rest half an hour, after all, you'd barely recover.

Instead, take at least four hours between training sessions. This might mean that you train in the morning and then again in the evening—perfect for someone with a 9 to 5 job to work around.

Prime Goal in Prime Time

Samuel acknowledges that you can train for multiple objectives at once, but you'll have the most success if you're aiming for one major priority. Identify your prime goal, and schedule your training session when you're the most capable.

If you perform your best first thing in the morning before the doldrums of the day wear you down, plan to fit your A workout in that session. If you feel more alert after multiple meals and a longer time awake, prioritize the evening.

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