Daily fitness fix? Make mine a double: Finally, we can go out more than once a day. Our guide to the ‘duo-workout’ trend will make sure you get twice the benefit!

  • Anna Maxted examined ‘duo workouts’ as the exercise rule in the UK is relaxed
  • Experts claim splitting workouts can achieve a faster strength and fitness boost 
  • Anna rounded up the best split exercise regimes for achieving fitness goals

The once-a-day rule for outdoor exercise has finally been relaxed. Excellent news for our physical and mental wellbeing, because the trend for ‘duo workouts’ — splitting training into two sessions daily — is fabulous for fitness levels.

And while some of us might prefer to perform our squats or downward dogs in the privacy of home, those of us gasping for fresh air are now free to do every workout in the park, should we wish.

Doing two sessions per day doesn’t mean you spend more time exercising. Instead, you divide your usual length of workout in half and do one session in the morning and the other in the afternoon, varying the kind of exercise each time. That way, say experts, you get a faster strength and fitness boost.

Celebrity trainer and nutritionist Zana Morris says the ideal pairing is light aerobic work — ‘a brisk walk or light run or equivalent, that gets the heart beating and circulation going’ — then something short with high intensity, such as sprints, to burn fat and build muscle.

Anna Maxted reveals a selection of the best ‘duo workouts’ as the once-a-day rule for outdoor exercise in the UK is finally relaxed (file image)

Anthony Fletcher, coach and founder of Onetrack Run Club, says that depending on your fitness: ‘I’d suggest some kind of stabilising exercises, such as core work, in the morning.’

This could be Pilates, or specific exercises that work the abs and back, such as side planks. ‘Then, in the afternoon, some form of either weight lifting or strength training — or a run.’

Some of his clients work upper body in the morning, lower body in the evening.

Doing a big workout in two halves makes it easier to maintain good form. If your exercise tolerance is low, or you have back pain, it’s an effective way of increasing your total daily activity.

It’s important to adapt our experts’ advice to what suits you. ‘A six-hour gap between workouts is sensible,’ Zana adds.

Here are some great duo workouts . . .

THE FAT BUSTER

MORNING: A 40-50-minute brisk walk. ‘A brisk walk is almost the king of exercises. You’re working the abs, getting the heart rate up, everything’s stimulated,’ Zana says.

AFTERNOON: A nine-minute-plus high-intensity resistance training session, with 30 squats (build to 60), 10 lunges, 10 press-ups, 10 tricep dips (build to 20) and 25 crunches (build to 50).

This then targets specific muscles and boosts fat-burning after the walk.

Celebrity trainer and nutritionist Zana Morris, recommends beginning the day with a 35-minute run and an afternoon yoga session to clear your mind (file image)

‘You’ll work legs, back, arms, triceps, abs — and you’ll be out of breath afterwards,’ says Zana. Adjust to suit your strength.

‘You might have longer rests in between, and if you have a lower fitness level, do everything modified, for example, do the press-ups with your knees on the floor.’

For a tricep dip at home, sit on a chair, and gently lower yourself off it as far as you can, gripping the edge of the seat. Keep your chest up, with an arch in the back as you raise yourself up and down, to work out the mid-back and triceps.

THE MIND CLEARER

MORNING: A 35-minute run. ‘It gets your heart rate up, circulation moving, and for a lot of people, it’s like meditation,’ says Zana.

To stabilise your core before any run, Anthony suggests a 10-second side plank on each side.

AFTERNOON: 20-minute-plus yoga session. ‘Yoga is resistance training,’ says Zana. ‘You’re using your body weight.’ It can be intense, but is great for the mind and works well after running to stretch leg muscles, hip flexors, and lower back.

‘The warrior pose is great for glutes. If you keep your arms parallel, you’re working into shoulders and deltoids,’ says Zana. ‘The cobra works into the lower back and opens the chest.’ Look online for examples. yogawithadriene.com

THE FITNESS SUPER-BOOSTER

Zana said it’s possible to improve your fitness with 20 minutes skipping, followed by 20-45 minutes of Pilates (file image)

MORNING: 20 minutes skipping. ‘A consistent skip is more like a jog. Or you can use skipping as a brilliant high-intensity workout,’ says Zana. ‘If you do it all-out fast for as many minutes as you can, then stop, pause, breathe, do it again, that’s high intensity.

‘You can speed up and slow down; we improve our fitness when we break our rhythm.’

‘You use your abs, calves, arms — your whole body is engaged.’

AFTERNOON: 20-45 minutes of Pilates. Great for core strength, balance, posture, flexibility, and very focused.

One area skipping neglects is the obliques (side abdominals). For a Pilates exercise that works them, lie on the floor, twist at the waist and bring your right elbow to your left knee while extending the right leg parallel to the floor. Then alternate, left elbow to right knee.

The NHS website offers a range of Pilates videos for beginners (nhs.uk).

THE HAPPINESS MAXIMISER

Zana recommends starting the day with gentle cycling and then practising breathing exercises in the afternoon, to maximise happiness (file image)

MORNING: 20 minutes to an hour of gentle cycling. ‘Like a brisk walk, or gentle run, it gets the heart going, circulation moving, and it will release endorphins,’ says Zana.

AFTERNOON: 20-30-minute stretch session with foam roller or without, plus breathing and meditation exercises. (See Stretch and The Art of Breathing at zanamorris.com).

Why two low-intensity activities in one day? Because allowing recovery time is crucial to your fitness, says Zana.

THE LEG SHAPER

Anthony Fletcher, coach and founder of Onetrack Run Club, revealed jogging and cycling can help to shape legs (file image)

MORNING: Twenty minutes to an hour jog, plus mobility exercise. ‘A gentle jog gets the engine revving,’ says Anthony.

Leg presses will improve mobility in the sacroiliac joint, joining the pelvis to your spine, and relax surrounding muscles.

‘In a sitting position, lift your right knee and hold the back of the leg underneath your hamstring. Push the back of your thigh into your hand, the most gentle of contractions, for 20 seconds. Do it four times.’

AFTERNOON: Fast 35-minute cycle (hilly if possible) ‘Anything you do with intensity, where you really push, you use your abs. It also works the hamstrings, the core, the calves. Because the legs are the biggest muscle group, anything that works them intensely drives the entire body,’ says Zana.

zanamorris.com

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