should you do cardio twice a day?

The Debate on Twice A Day Cardio: Amplify Your Fitness

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I get this question a lot: should you do cardio twice a day? The simple answer is… it depends. It depends on your goals, your schedule, and your fitness level. Here’s a more in-depth look at each factor.

Is It Good To Do Cardio More Than Once A Day?

You certainly can do cardio more than once a day, but should you do it is the better question. To answer that, you seriously need to weigh the physical costs and benefits of adding more cardio. Overtraining, burnout, and flat-out exhaustion are real consequences.

Here are a few things to consider before adding a second cardio session to your daily routine.

First, what is your goal? If you’re trying to lose weight, doing two daily cardio workouts can help you burn more calories and speed up your results. But if you’re trying to maintain your weight or improve your fitness, once a day may be all you need.

Second, how intense are your workouts? For example, if you’re doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT), you might only need to do one session per day. But if you’re doing lower-intensity cardio, like a brisk walk or light jog, you might benefit from two sessions.

And finally, how much time do you have for exercise? If you only have 15 minutes for a workout, doing two shorter cardio sessions may be more doable than one longer one.

If you’re considering adding a second cardio session to your day, talk to your doctor or a certified personal trainer to ensure it’s safe for you. And then experiment to see what works best for you.

The Benefits Of Increased Cardio

the benefits of doing cardio twice a day

Due to the risks of overtraining, we hesitate to list the benefits of doing cardio multiple times a day first. We are glass half full type of people, so please consider both the pros and the cons before making a decision to add more exercise.

Below are two of the most common and well-accepted benefits of twice a day cardio:

You’ll Burn More Calories

If you’re trying to lose weight, doing more cardio can help you see results faster. That’s because you’re burning more calories and potentially building muscle too. Some research shows that people who do two cardio workouts a day burn more calories than those who do one longer workout.

Why is that? Well, think about intensity for a moment. The higher the intensity of the exercise, the higher your caloric burn rate is, right? With that in mind, are you able to maintain a higher intensity for a shorter or longer period of time? Shorter, of course.

Related Reading: Burn More Calories: 10 Best Cardio Workouts For Weight Loss

Ultimately, if you can manage to squeeze in 2 shorter duration HIIT workouts in a day, for example, that will likely burn more calories than an hour of low intensity steady state cardio.

You’ll Improve Your Cardiovascular Fitness

Doing extra cardio can also be beneficial if you’re trying to improve your cardiovascular fitness. That’s because you’re giving your heart and lungs a workout and forcing them to get stronger. Best of all? You don’t have to spend an hour on the treadmill either to get the most benefit.

A study published in the American Journal of Physiology found that individuals who did a sprint workout for 15 to 25 minutes three days a week were able to improve the structure and function of their arteries as much as individuals who exercised five days a week for 40 to 60 minutes at a moderate intensity.

Tips For Doing Cardio Twice A Day

You should keep a few things in mind if you want to up your cardio workout frequency. First, make sure you’re eating enough calories. Doing two cardio workouts a day can increase your calorie needs.

Second, give yourself time to recover between workouts. For example, if you’re doing HIIT, you might want to do your second workout later in the day.

And finally, make sure you’re staying hydrated. Drinking plenty of water with added electrolytes will help your body recover and perform at its best.

The Risks Of Doing Too Much Cardio

Becoming mentally consumed with the idea of working out twice a day comes with some serious risks and drawbacks. Before adding a second aerobic session to your day, carefully consider these possible consequences:

You Might Overtrain

You might overtrain by doing too much cardio if you’re not careful. Overtraining Syndrome (OTS) has been extensively studied and can lead to injuries, fatigue, and a loss of motivation.

Not convinced? From the Human Kinetics Journal:

“Overtraining syndrome (OTS) is a condition associated with a long-term imbalance between training and recovery.” “…OTS is the most severe condition and reflects a chronic accumulation of training and non-training stressors that can take months to years to fully recover from.”

Human Kinetics Journal

In other words, if you push yourself too hard and think you can merely “sleep it off”. You could be in for a rude reality check.

So if you are convinced adding a second session gives you an edge, make sure you listen to your body. As it’s been said, think of your fitness as a slow-paced marathon and not a short-distance sprint.

You Might Neglect Other Aspects Of Your Fitness

If you’re spending too much time doing cardio, you might neglect other important aspects of your fitness, such as weight training and stretching.

Stretching in particular is one facet of fitness that is perhaps the most underrated and underappreciated. The obvious benefit of stretching is more flexibility, but have you considered how that would be advantageous for cardio and strength training workouts?

Research has shown that increased flexibility may:

  • Improve your performance in physical activities
  • Decrease your risk of injuries
  • Help your joints move through their full range of motion
  • Increase muscle blood flow
  • Enable your muscles to work most effectively
  • Improve your ability to do daily activities

So the next time you roll your eyes at the thought of stretching, maybe you should give it a second thought.

You Might Not See The Results You Want

If you’re not seeing the results you want from doing cardio twice a day, there are a few reasons why that might be.

First of all, on the most basic level, it might be because your workouts are just too easy or too short.

Second, you might not be eating the right foods or even eating too much food in general. You can always track that information yourself and make any necessary changes or consult with someone that is qualified to assist you.

Third and the most serious is that working out too much is causing adrenal fatigue and/or hormone imbalances.

“Over-exercising can increase our stress hormones, and raise the risk of muscle loss, injury, and fatigue,” according to Dr. Akhunji

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Body aches.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Lightheadedness.
  • Loss of body hair.
  • Skin discoloration (hyperpigmentation)

If you’re experiencing any of those symptoms and they’re not improving after making a concerted effort to recover, go see your doctor, stat.

Related Reading: 5 Best Affordable Ice Bath Tubs For Those On A Budget


Will cardio twice a day burn muscle?

A long-time myth that refuses to go away is that cardio will burn muscle, and thus lose all your strength training gains. That is actually false.

According to one of many studies:

We and others have demonstrated that aerobic exercise acutely and chronically alters protein metabolism and induces skeletal muscle hypertrophy.

National Library of Medicine

That said, there are conditions in which doing too much cardio could cause muscle wasting. For instance, if you’re in too much of a caloric deficit or not allowing enough time to fully recover. Fatigue and a sharp decline in performance are key indicators you might be doing too much cardio.

Should I do cardio twice a day to lose weight?

No, you do not need to do cardio more than two times a day to lose weight. Some health experts say doing too much can actually lead to weight gain. Instead, dial back your workout to a more moderate-intensity for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. This will help you burn calories and lose weight without overdoing it.

See our article on The Best Cardio for Weight Loss for more tips.

How many times can you do cardio a day?

You can do cardio as often as you like, but most experts recommend doing it three to five times a week. Realistically, doing any sort of vigorous exercise more than once a day for more than a couple weeks will lead to sub par results. Sometimes, doing less is more. Just be sure to give yourself enough time to recover between workouts and avoid injury.

Is it better to split up cardio?

No, there is no evidence that splitting up cardio is better for you. On the contrary, it may be worse for you. When you split up your cardio, you are more likely to miss workouts and fail to reach your fitness goals.

Are 2 hours of cardio a day too much?

It depends where you are physical. If you’re a beginner, two hours of cardio a day is too much. This can lead to overtraining, fatigue, and injuries. Instead, focus on moderate-intensity cardio for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. This will help you burn calories and improve your fitness without overdoing it.

If you’re a professional athlete or experienced, then of course 2 hours of aerobic training in a day will be fine.

The Bottom Line

Doing any sort of cardiovascular exercise more than once a day is beneficial, but it’s not necessary. If seeing results is your #1 priority, you might be better off prioritizing your calorie intake and giving yourself time to recover between workouts. And if you still do not see the results you want, perhaps your not allowing yourself enough time to see results.

What do you think? Is more cardio better or worse to see results? Let me know in the comments below!

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