I’ve had tons of clients ask me about how they should be timing their workouts.
Can I work out twice in the same day?
Should I do cardio or strength first?
What about working out on back to back days?
Generally it will depend on what you’re looking to do. You can work out twice in a day and on back to back strength training days. But you have to be careful to not over exert yourself, especially if you’re not used to exercising consistently.
Working out twice in the same day.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with working out twice in the same day. However, there are a few things to take into consideration.
The biggest issue with this type of setup is fatigue.
Is your cardio workout going to affect your strength workout and vice versa.
For people who haven’t been consistently exercising I would advise against two workouts in a day.
It may be too much stimulation on the body, and you may end up burning out. Once you get into the rhythm then you can reassess whether or not it’s an option for you.
But if you’re already consistent with your exercise, and want to drive more results, then you can add in a second session to speed things up.
If you are going to work out twice in the same day you have to make sure that you are:
- Properly refueling yourself with nutrition.
- Staying hydrated.
- Performing a proper warm up and cool down for each workout.
- Getting adequate sleep.
- And taking at least one full day off from exercise a week.
You will be pushing your body to the limits with two-a-days so make sure you’re recovering properly.
I would also recommend only doing this for a few weeks at a time for that extra boost in results. Once things get jump started ease back a little and see how your body responds. It may turn out that once you get your body going it may not need as much stimulation to continue to see results.
Should I perform cardio or strength first if I’m doing both in the same day?
Now this can be a little tricky.
There are a number of ways to go about two different workouts in a day.
My preference for my clients timing is to do cardio as the second workout of the day.
The reason is that you don’t want to pre-fatigue yourself for your strength workouts. You will need every bit of strength and energy to get through the heavy lifting sessions required for your body to change.
If you do cardio before your strength workout, especially leg day, you will struggle to keep up with your weights.
The other option is doing cardio early in the morning and strength later in the evening.
This is what some people really like to do to expedite their results. Fasted cardio can potentially lead to increased fat loss, but it can also possibly be detrimental to muscle mass as well.
Performing cardio with no energy in the tank can lead to muscle wasting and lack of effort, so take that into consideration.
That’s why I always prefer cardio after strength training.
If you want to save time, you can even do cardio right after a strength workout. This is something we suggest to our clients if they’re in a pinch for time.
Back to back strength training days.
Now this is something that really has to be monitored.
Ideally when you perform a strength training workout on a specific muscle group, you want to have at least one day of rest before working out that same muscle group again.
If you are going to do strength training sessions on back to back days then you should split the workouts up.
Your timing should look something like this:
- Chest day 1 and back day 2.
- Upper day 1 and lower day 2.
- Push exercises day 1 and pull exercises day 2.
- And so on.
If you can only get two workouts in that week, then a full body strength workout on both days won’t be the worst thing to do. But it’s also not going to allow you to get the right stimulation necessary to increase your strength. That’s why we always suggest one day off between strength workouts.
What’s the right workout split for me?
This is going to vary for every individual.
Some people will respond better to working out once a day Monday through Saturday.
Some will do better with two workouts a day a few days a week.
What I suggest is that you perform strength workouts every other day and then alternate cardio in between those workouts.
- Monday – strength
- Tuesday – cardio
- Wednesday – strength
- Thursday – cardio
- Friday – strength
- Saturday – cardio
- Sunday – off
- Monday – cardio
- Tuesday – strength
- Wednesday – cardio
- Thursday – strength
- Friday – strength and cardio mix
- Saturday – active recovery (hiking, biking, etc.)
- Sunday – off
You can change it up however you want. Just make sure that you’re getting at least 2-3 strength workouts in a week and 2-4 days of cardio based on your goals.
More cardio if you’re looking to drop pounds a little more quickly.
More strength if you’re really looking to build lean muscle and tone up.
- Workout timing will always depend on the specific individual.
- Try a schedule out and see how your body responds. Assess and then re-adjust as necessary.
- Make sure you get at least one full day of rest each week unless a big event prevents you from doing so.
- The best way to go about working out is to be consistent each week with your workouts.
Trainer’s question of the day.
How do you like timing your workouts throughout the week?