Divide and Conquer

Over the past week or so, I’ve been playing around with two-a-day workouts.

::pause so that you can pick yourselves up off the floor::

Lest you think I’ve become some hardcore, gym-dwelling maniac, let me put your mind at ease. I am NOT at risk of over-training. This is still me we’re talking about here.

All I’m basically doing is splitting up my strength training workout and my cardio into different times of day. This happens naturally sometimes, but now I’m actually scheduling the time. I go to the gym for my lifting in the morning, and then go for a brisk 2-3 mile walk later in the day. If our March winds ever realize it’s now May, I might even go for a bike ride.

You’re wondering why I’m doing this, aren’t you? Well, I’ll tell you.

Time! I want to increase the amount of time I exercise each day from (on average) 30-40 minutes to (on average) 60-90 minutes. This is so that I might enjoy the fruits (and fro-yo) of the coming summer season. The problem is that with my wacky schedule, I don’t always have that much time all together. I can, however, usually manage at least 30 minutes in the morning and again in the evening.

Metabolism I like to mix things up and from what I’ve read in the past, the body likes the confusion. The whole point of exercise is to place stress on our bodies in some form or fashion, and if the body knows what to expect day in and day out, it adapts and isn’t as stressed. It makes sense to me. I’m hoping to gain a little metabolism boost from the extra effort.

Energy I like the energy boost I get immediately following a workout, and many days I could use an afternoon pick-me-up. A Snickers bar would be tastier, but exercise is better in the long run. It has the added benefit of helping to clear my mind. The Snickers probably wouldn’t do that. (Note to self: Test Snickers Mind-Clearing Potential. Someday.)

Emotional pay-off I treasure the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment I feel after a workout, whether it’s walking, biking, elliptical, or strength training. It’s the biggest pay-off for me, even more than weight management. Or at least equal to it. Getting that pay-off twice in one day is fantastic!

None of this is new theory in the world of exercise. Many studies have been published that support the idea that we don’t have to have long workout sessions in order to achieve big results. By dividing the workout into shorter sessions, we can achieve the ultimate goal, which is to get it DONE!

I’m not sure how long I’ll continue to do split workouts. Summer heat here is brutal, but I’ll do it on as many days as I can. One good thing is that if I decide to tank the afternoon session, I’ve still accomplished my minimum personal daily target of 30 minutes with the a.m workout!

Have you considered dividing your workout into multiple sessions?

12 thoughts on “Divide and Conquer

  1. I do my “hard core” workouts in the morning (intense runs, weights, etc). My goal is to walk at least once later on in the day for a couple miles. More would be even better. The main reason for this is that there are a lot of studies that sedentary jobs are complicated by blood pooling. As I’m an artist, I stay extremely still at my easel, and I’ve actually had problems with blood pooling in my feet. So, I’m trying to get myself moving! I’m shooting for a walk after lunch, and a walk in the evening with family. I haven’t made it consistently yet, but I’m working on it! Nice job!

  2. Cammy – whatever works for you! I say that is all that counts! With my aging, as hard as I always worked out, it seems I have to keep working at it harder! I suppose I could eat less which I have done over the past 3-4 years BUT I don’t want to have to keep cutting calories from where I am now.. 😉

    I prefer morn workouts just because I feel better with no food in my tummy AND I don’t like people around so my early morn solves both those issues! 😉 If I ever have to I will but I don’t want to! I like a leisure walk later in the day but not a workout walk. 😉

  3. I think it sounds a like a great idea! I struggle with what Kyra wrote about: too much sitting! I’ve been thinking about trying to do the 10,000 steps a day thing (in addition to my kettlebell workouts), not so much for weight reasons, but for body aches…I really think I sit too much!!

  4. In the fall before my calf injury I was often doing 2-a-days. My reasoning was different. I was bored and had the time and if I was working out later in the day I wasn’t snacking:) And I wanted to get a bit more of a calorie burn. I was not working out hard, just long. Watching TV shows doing a leisurely stroll on the treadmill most afternoons, doing my morning cardio with my husband most mornings, and my twice a week strength training with my mom and trainer. For me, it was great. It really helped with the afternoon snacking. I miss it:(

  5. Well, with all the doggie walks, my workouts are always divided. I only go to the gym 3 days a week though. Since getting home I have been doing shorter, more strenuous walks. Changing it up just a bit too! And I am going to try some different resistance exercises with the weights at the gym. I agree with the changing it up. Doesn’t seem fair that the body can figure that out and adapt, but it is what it is. We’ve got to be smarter than our bodies!

  6. In an ideal world, I’d be doing the kind of exercise I love at the time of day that’s most convenient, but I work 10 hours a day (not including commuting time), and I need to get it in whenever I can. I started exercising in the morning since I don’t have to be in by 10am, and then my husband and I walk and do a yoga/pilates dvd on the weekend. I also try to get out for walks in the parking lot whenever I can during the day, and I take the stairs to the ladies room on the floor above :-)

  7. I am having to do that by default now because my lifting is so intense that I just cannot do any cardio around that time. I like to do my little walks during the day afterwards now to keep up the metabolism (like you said) and get a little boost. I will bike on lifting days, but I have to be careful about how much I do.

    It is cupcake season, though, so I will bank the extra burn! ::D

  8. I am working towards doing two workouts per day, but it will probably only start happening in September or October, when the days become longer again. I really like the idea.

  9. This is how I always do it.

    I’m the opposite ad aspire to some day not divide 😉

    Some day….

  10. I love to have two workouts instead of one. My only problem is that too often I can’t get back for that afternoon one. So I’ve only had a shorter morning session.
    I do think there is a lot to be gained from it.
    I totally agree about mixing it up. I’ve been a one trick pony too long.
    And the second workout gives me that second boost of motivation to eat well too.

  11. I used to often do 2 workouts a day – it was great for getting the high intensity cardio workout in the morning when I had more energy and was guaranteed to get it in. The afternoon was for strength training or fun fitness (like sports or hiking etc) since, for me, I don’t require the same positive high energy mindset.

    It also helped to ensure I always got at least one work out in.

    Now you’ve got me thinking that I really should get back into that. Just to figure out how to get my out of bed in the morning!

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