Two-A-Day Training for the Average Joe

Two-a-days are just what they sound like; two training sessions per day, broken up into highly focused (and different) segments.  Once used exclusively by individuals involved with athletics, the concept of two-a-day training is slowing picking up steam amongst even the novice gym-goer.  A quick glance at why the average Joe is putting himself through hell twice a day is clear; two-a-days are the absolute fastest way to transforming your body and making the lasting changes you’re seeking.  But does that mean they’re necessarily right for you?  The answer is….it depends.

Today, we’re looking over the basic concepts of two-a-day training, detailing a common routines, and helping you determine if two-a-day training is right for you.

First and foremost, understand that developing the body of your dreams doesn’t take 5-6 days of exercise per week.  Not even close.  A dedicated individual, with impeccable eating habits, can easily shed pounds, build muscle, and build that athletic dream body in as little as 3-4 gym sessions a week.  Of course in reality, it’s just not that simple.  Just take a look around your gym.  You probably see a lot of regulars, right?  And they don’t look like they’re about to grace the cover of a fitness mag, right?  There’s something more to it than just showing up and going through the motions.

The Benefits of Two-a-Day Training

The most important benefits of two-a-day training, is the fact you’re working out twice a day.  This means two opportunities to boost your metabolism, two opportunities for post-exercise nutrition excellence, two opportunities to slash calories…you get the idea.  But we’re not just throwing two random workouts together; that’s a recipe for over training and injury.

To make the most of your training sessions, it’s important to follow some ground rules.  First, space training sessions at least 5-6 hours apart.  Second, limit two-a-day training to no more than three weeks straight – this one is important.  Third, training sessions should be limited to 35-40 minutes MAXIMUM.

Essentially what two-a-day training allows you to do, is give 100% max intensity during both training sessions.  We like to think we’re giving it our all during those 60+ minute sessions or fitness classes, but in reality, our last 30-40 minutes aren’t nearly as effective as we’d like to think they are.  With two-a-days you can bust out those burpees like a mad man, because you know you don’t have to pace yourself for the next 45 minutes of training ahead of you.  You can bump the weight on that bench press because there aren’t 15 other sets staring you down.

The one caveat to all of this is the following – if training sessions are too close together or too long, kiss the benefits of two-a-day training goodbye.  You want to be able to work at max intensity, the entire time in the gym, every time in the gym.  It’s that simple.

A Sample Two-A-Day Routine

The following will give some basics.  Reps + sets will depend on your particular goals.

  • Day 1 (chest + back) AM: Skull Crushers + Pull Ups
  • Day 1 PM: Bench Press + Bent Over Rows + Dumbbell Flys + Lat Pulldowns
  • Day 2 (legs) AM: Barbell Squats + Box Jumps
  • Day 2 PM: Deadlifts + Quad Extensions + Bulgarian Squats
  • Day 3: REST
  • Day 4 (bi’s + tri’s + shoulders) AM: Barbell Curls + Skullcrushers
  • Day 4 PM: Preacher Curls + Military Press + Dips + Lateral Raises
  • Day 5: REST

That’s a simple five day split that follows a simple two-a-day training format.  By keeping workouts short and sweet, you’ll hit your muscles hard and heavy…which is key to optimal growth.  Of course, the workout above is for someone who is already low in body fat and is primarily concerned with adding muscle.  For those of you looking for something more cardio-heavy, an entirely different two-a-day training program could be created for your needs.

Last but not least, nutrition is an absolutely key component to successful two-a-day training programs. If your goal is to boost metabolism, really lean up, build muscle mass, and develop an overall cut appearance, you’re going to have to eat ample protein and essential fatty acids.  There’s no way around this one.

If your goal is fat loss, you’re going to want to be careful with the food you take in. What I mean by this is, don’t starve yourself!  Your two-a-day training is going to be intense, and will likely put you in a calorie-deficit as it is.  Watch your current caloric intake and consider dropping it by 10% to see how things progress.  You don’t want to go into starvation mode, which is entirely possible if you cut calories too drastically.

For most of you, 35% carbs/35% protein/30% fat is the ratio you should be looking for while on a two-a-day training program. Of course, there are loads of supplements available, especially for some of you more hardcore exercisers, but as you probably know by now, I don’t really recommend these two my readers.  A protein shake post-workout and maaaybe some BCAA’s (which I’ll discuss later) is about all I ever recommend.  Keep it simple.

That’s the basic run down of two-a-day training and should give you everything you need to know to get started.  So the final question is, is it right for you?   Only you can answer this one.  Your gym time will essentially be the same, maybe slightly less.  The added time may come from getting yourself two and from the gym.  If your gym is close, you’re doing home workouts, or you don’t mind the commute, I say go for it and see how you like it.

Use these two-a-days to bust through a stubborn plateau, push yourself to new heights, and generally see what your body is made of.  They’re no doubt intense, but the pay off is better results in less time.  Give it a shot and as always, I’m here for any of your questions, comments, or concerns.