Plus, you already hit the gym six days per week, and you can’t add extra volume on top of that because that would put you at risk of overtraining. The loss of muscle will not only reduce strength, but it will also slow down your metabolism. One meta-analysis on overweight and obese subjects, for instance, concluded that “aerobic exercise is not an effective weight loss therapy in these patients.”. That’s why cardio isn’t effective for losing fat. Does cardio burn muscle? You may have experienced this yourself as well. Studies indicate that too much cardio lowers testosterone levels and decreases lean body mass. As long as you keep it within moderation (2-3 sessions per week using a mix of HIIT/LISS will be the “sweet spot” for most average trainees) and space your cardio out intelligently during the week in order to maximize recovery, not only will cardio NOT negatively impact your gains, but it will also produce a wide variety of valuable overall health and fitness benefits. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn … A good guideline to hold onto is that you should still be able to breathe comfortably through your nose. However, besides cardio’s health benefits, there is one other scenario in which adding it to your workout plan can be helpful. Yes, cardio can certainly deliver a variety of valuable benefits when performed consistently, but going too far overboard is not a wise idea if you’re looking to build muscle and gain strength as effectively as possible. Constrained energy expenditure refers to the fact that after people do (aerobic) exercise, they unconsciously tend to reduce their overall energy expenditure, in particular their non-exercise physical activity (NEAT). A few points to consider on the issue of improving your overall metabolic conditioning…. While that seems to make sense, that’s not how it works in real life. Perform a couple cardio sessions in addition to your weight training workouts and you’ll be surprised at the positive effect it can have on helping you fall asleep faster as well as sleeping more deeply throughout the night. Remember, the work you perform in the gym is simply the “spark” that sets the muscle building process into motion. “If … If you do want to combine weight training and cardio into a single session for convenience sake, always perform your cardio post-workout rather than pre-workout. (This is often a problem for those who prep for a bodybuilding or a physique contest.). Any activity that gets your heart rate elevated and requires sustained physical exertion should be counted towards your cardio total for the week. And remember, it’s not just your muscles that are being placed under additional stress either; your joints and central nervous system are also impacted, and they require time and resources in order to properly recover as well. Not only does this lessen the discomfort of delayed onset muscle soreness, but it can actually help your muscles recover more quickly in the days following a weight training workout. For example, someone who works in construction, plays soccer twice a week or does kickboxing regularly would not be wise to then go and add 3-4 more cardio sessions on top of that if they’re trying to optimize muscle growth. Excess cardio burns up muscle, lowers your immune system, and raises stress hormones. Instead, the answer lies on a bell curve where performing some cardio is totally fine and will produce certain health and fitness benefits, but to where performing too much can begin having a negative impact on your muscle building progress if you aren’t careful. 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