It often happens inadvertently — you skip a workout, then inevitably, you skip another one. Before you know it, you've missed two days in a row, and you're not sure what to do. Do you jump back into your routine, or should you make up for it by doubling up two workouts in one day? The answer: it depends.
First, let's look at what happens when you miss a workout. How your body responds to a hiatus depends on the workouts you're used to. "The more intense you train, the more you'll physically feel the results of missing your workouts," Dannah Eve Bollig, an ISSA-certified personal trainer and creator of The DE Method, told POPSUGAR.
A quick anatomy lesson can explain this: our muscles consist of type I (slow-twitch) and type II (fast-twitch) muscle fibers. "Type I contribute to endurance training, and type II are your more powerful muscle fibers that help your body perform high-intensity exercises or heavy strength training," Bollig explained. When you miss a workout — or two — your type I muscle fibers will continue to be used during daily activities, but your type II fibers will begin to break down due to lack of use.
That doesn't mean doubling up workouts is the answer. "Two-a-day workouts are popular and often necessary for high-level athletes who are training for a specific sport or competition," Bollig said. When done correctly, working out twice a day can increase your overall strength, power, endurance, and muscle mass while also decreasing your body fat percentage, she added. But if you're not an athlete or training for a specific competition, Bollig doesn't recommend it.
Two-a-days put you at risk of overtraining. Bollig warned that sometimes your body needs rest, and ignoring those signs can result in decreased results or injury. "It's extremely important to always listen to your body and detect if and when you need a break," she told POPSUGAR.
While doubling up workouts after missing a couple can make you feel like you're making up for lost time, Bollig cautioned that it has the potential to set you back even further. "Given that missing only two days won't have much of an effect on your body, it's much safer and smarter to just get back on your normal routine," she said. So instead of feeling guilty for the break, use it as motivation to stick to your regular workout schedule.