If I Exercise Twice a Day Will I Lose Weight?

Young woman lifting weights
Woman lifting weights at gym (Image: Minerva Studio/iStock/Getty Images)

Weight loss requires you to burn a greater number of calories than you ingest. Exercise helps you burn calories, helping you create this negative calorie balance and lose weight. Exercising twice a day may help you lose weight, but only if you incorporate other strategies in your plan.

Expert Recommendations

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends you perform a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate exercise five times per week for weight loss. Moderate intensity exercise is defined as a level at which your heart rate increases and you start to break a sweat. ACSM notes that breaking up your sessions into 10-minute or longer segments can be just as effective as one continuous session. This means exercising two times per day may help with weight loss, but the two sessions together should total at least one hour.

Considerations

Breaking up your exercise into two sessions can help you approach each one fresh -- meaning that you can work more intensely than you might in one long session. The type of exercise you perform in each session also impacts weight loss. Exercising two times per day does not give you license to eat anything you want. Calories still count and it is very easy to replace the calories you burned in a hard sweat session with just one meal. Stick to healthy foods and control your portions to make your exercise efforts pay off.

Caution

While exercise enhances your health and weight loss efforts, you must listen to your body and provide it with adequate rest. Doing too much, too often can lead to injuries and overtraining. Exercising twice a day, every day may cause you to burn out in just a couple of weeks. You do not want to drop out of an exercise program before you experience any significant results.

Potential

The type of exercise, length of each session, your body weight and calorie intake all determine if you will lose weight on two sessions per day. A pound of weight equals 3,500 calories per day, so you must burn at least 500 calories per day to lose one pound per week. If you put in two, 30-minute sessions of a brisk walk, at 160 lbs. you will burn 277 extra calories a day, enough to lose a little more than a 1/2 pound per week -- as long as you do not increase your calorie intake beyond what you burn daily. If you do two 30-minute Pilates classes, you will improve your core strength and gain strength, but it only burns about 120 calories in 30 minutes for a 160 lb. person -- not enough to even elicit a 1/2 pound per week loss. Running at an 8 mph pace for two 30-minute sessions can scorch more than 986 calories per day. This running schedule could help you lose almost 2 lbs. per week, provided you do not change your calorie intake and were not overeating in the first place.

Empirical Evidence

The National Weight Control Registry is an ongoing research group of more than 5,000 participants who have lost an average of 66 lbs. and kept it off for a minimum of one year. Eighty-nine percent of this group lost their weight by combining diet and exercise, while 10 percent did it with diet alone. A mere 1 percent succeeded through exercise alone.

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