For the spring semester of my junior year, I packed up my yoga mat, P90X DVDs (and as many clothes as I could feasibly squeeze into one suitcase), and flew to Australia. Six months later, I packed it all back up and headed home. But I took something else home with me, too. Ten pounds of pudge.
Though I ran in the morning with roommates, swam as much as humanly possible, and regularly practiced sunset yoga on a cliff overlooking the beach (jealous much?), I still managed to increase my pant size in a matter of a few months thanks to lots of alcohol and late-night snacking.
My plan to shed the weight once back on home turf: Two-a-day workouts. But is working out twice a day safe? We talked to experts to find out if being a double gym rat is a total no-no.
It Takes Two (Baby)—Why It Matters
My goal was to lose weight, but that's not every double exerciser's motive. There's a range of reasons why people choose to visit the gym more than once in 24 hours, such as building muscle or training for an especially tough race. And while research shows regular exercise is essential for leading a healthy life (from weight maintenance to keeping the heart healthy), for some people, one workout a day doesn't seem to fit the bill.
Plenty of studies have compared the health effects of working out once a day—say, for an hour—versus splitting up the workout into two 30-minute sessions or even shorter bouts of exercise. When it comes to adiposity (a fancy term for body fat), blood lipids, and psychological wellbeing, it's unclear whether working out once, twice, or three times really makes a difference. The reality is that our bodies are generally more responsive to the intensity of exercise rather than just how long we're pounding the pavement or swinging a kettlebell.