So you've decided your route to successful weight loss is to increase your metabolism, and your plan to accomplish that is to work out twice a day. If one workout is good, then two will be better ... well, kind of. There can be benefits to exercising multiple times a day, but you should know how to get the most out of your workouts to ensure that all the time you're putting into exercise is well spent.
Yes It Does
Any physical activity you do will burn calories, so it follows that each time you challenge your body with a workout, your metabolic thermometer will go up and you'll burn more. And once your metabolism increases, it stays at that elevated rate for awhile -- not to the extreme levels that you reached while exercising, but it's estimated that during the "after burn" period you'll use up around 15 additional calories for every 100 calories that you burned during your workout. And that's the goal -- burn more calories.
Break It Up
Just because working out twice a day is a good idea when it comes to raising your metabolism doesn't mean that you need to spend a full hour on exercising each time. First of all, that kind of schedule will get old fast, and you'll be more likely to give up on working out altogether, which won't do anything for your metabolism at all. You'll benefit just as much from two shorter workouts as you would from one longer workout. Break your normally 45- to 60-minute workout into two or even three workouts throughout the day. Provided you put the intensity into each one to get your heart rate up, your metabolism will follow suit, increasing and burning more calories during and after your mini-workouts.
Weight Training Versus Cardio
Once you've decided to exercise twice a day, the next question might be whether you should choose weight training or cardio exercise. While weight training will increase your muscle mass, which can dial up your metabolism a few notches in general, it's the cardio that will really get your heart pumping and your metabolism burning. That doesn't discount the pros of resistance training, so definitely include it in one or both of your daily workouts. That will allow you to focus on one or two muscle groups each day, benefiting those muscles, and give you time for some serious cardio like running or biking.
Optimal Weight-Loss Approach
If you're looking to increase your metabolism for weight loss, the best approach is to incorporate more than just one tactic. Break up your exercise routine into two daily workouts and focus on cardio, but take a look at your diet, too. The key to weight loss is burning more calories than you take in, so increasing your metabolism will be most effective if you eat fewer calories. And look at the whole project as a lifestyle change. Working out and adjusting your diet isn't just a temporary task. You'll need to continue exercising to maintain that hot bod you've created.
- Runner's World: Can You Really Boost Your Metabolism?
- ShapeFit.com: Increase Your Calories to Lose Weight
- Medical News Today: Even Short Bursts Of Intense Exercise Can Improve Metabolism
- American Council on Exercise: Does an Aerobic Workout Cause an Individual's Resting Metabolic Rate to Stay Elevated for a Long Time After a Workout (the So-Called ''After Burn'' Effect)?
- Stronger Arms and Upper Body; Joe Wuebben and Jim Stoppani
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.