Integrative Nutrition Blog

The Benefits Of Splitting Up Your Workouts

October 21, 2017

Image via Shutterstock.

Yes—it might seem tough as is to get your butt to the gym on a regular basis. But, what if you actually went twice in one day? Would that prove to be beneficial for your health and muscles?

Turns out, as long as you’re doing it right, you’re reaping those rewards, says Richard Wilcock, CSCS and owner of Flagship Fitness. This means: splitting up the workout, as opposed to doing two complete, long-lasting sessions. So, if you’re working out for somewhere between 1 and 2 hours total for the day, split accordingly. Don’t go over.

And, it’s a good idea to work separate muscle groups and vary your activity. So, if you’re doing cardio in the morning, do strength in the evening. Or, if you’re doing a HIIT class with weights in the morning, you might want to try zoga, barre, Pilates, or a run later, instead. Doing weights too much in the day won’t allow for proper muscle recovery.

It Makes Each Session More Intense
If you’re doing fewer minutes, you’re more likely to give each your all. For instance, after an hour or more of a workout, you might feel drained, and as the workout progresses, you might start to lose some stamina. 
Yet, if it’s shorter and there’s more focus on specific muscle groups, cardio burns, or exercises, then you’ll be more able to keep the intensity up and torch more calories. And, “this ability to devote our entire focus to just one area for an entire session is what makes it feel like the session is more intense and is a reason why two-a-day sessions can give such good results,” he says.

You Gain More Muscle
If you’re keen on muscle focus work, then you’ll get larger muscle mass and strength with two-a-day workouts. “Working out twice a day is amazing for muscle gains,” he says, if you’re going with this approach. Focusing on just one area for an entire session gives much more benefit than splitting the focus between two or more body areas.
“For example doing chest/legs on day one then arms back on day two with arms back again on day three,” is a good way to go about this, he says. “Muscular function growth and repair during this time frame doesn’t change, but the focus on just one group improves the results we can achieve from each session, and when tied with good quality nutrition, it means the muscle groups we used can recover before being worked again,” he says.

You Have Greater After Burn
The best part? That afterburn effect happens twice. So, double the calorie burn post-workout.
What’s the afterburn effect? “After we stop exercising, oxygen debt needs to be repaid so our body continues burning energy for a significant amount of time after the workout, trying to catch up and equalize this oxygen debt,” he says.
This afterburn/EPOC effect will occur after every time you exercise hard enough to start using the anerobic energy system. And, the harder the workout, the higher the oxygen debt is created. “Doing two HIIT sessions a day for example would absolutely cause this after burn effect to occur twice,” he guarantees.

You’ll Have Double The Energy Boost
Here’s where you don’t need that extra cup of java to perk you up. Exercise will stimulate you, making you more alert and energized.
You can get a burst of energy and fight fatigue during both sessions, but it’s important to listen to your body and get enough sleep and fuel. “If either of these are lacking, your body wont repair in time for the next session and you will see poor results,” he cautions.

Thinking about it? Share your thoughts below. Or, if you’ve tried two-a-day workouts, let us know your tips!

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