No matter what type of athlete you are or what challenge you’re training for next, there’s one word that exists in your training routine normally; CARDIO.
Some athletes love the feeling of hitting the miles and minutes, others view it as the second thing next to death, but either way, we lace up our sneaks and press play on our cardio mixes.
So with all this cardio going on; how do you know if you’re doing too much? Read this to find out!
Aerobic exercises are almost always considered beneficial for your health. Cardiovascular activity in any form (HIIT, Steady State,etc) helps promote with weight loss, muscle and heart conditioning, and even mental health.
But believe it or not, there is such thing as “too much” and here’s how to tell:
Are your cardio minutes matching up with your goals? Too many times athletes make the mistake of going “all in” on the cardio train in effort to lose weight that they forget what there general aesthetic goal was in the beginning.
For example, if you want to tone up, and have muscular development on your physique; cardio alone won’t get you to your goals. Functional and strength straining aids muscular development. Cardio should be applied to your training program as a weight loss tool alongside your strength program. Are you allowing rest days or having trouble recovering between workouts? This is always the hardest point to get across to athletes; more is not always better! If you are using multiple cardio sessions daily in your training program, you should be considering multiple rest sessions as well.
In order for your body to fully reach muscle hypertrophy, rest days are vital to your training program. If you’re struggling with intensity, endurance, and overall stamina during your cardio sessions weekly, a rest day or multiple rest days may be in need for your body to recovery and progress in your training.
Are you experiencing a sudden plateau? Too much exercise or not enough recovery time for athletes can result in your body responding negative effects from cardio; sometimes resulting in your results coming to a screeching halt.
Too much cardio can result in muscle wasting or atrophy, metabolic slow downs, and even cause the body to release a stress hormone cortisol into the body.
If you’re suddenly seeing a plateau, too much cardio can be the culprit. Does your diet match up with your miles? Think about your car. When you’re low on fuel and oil, how does your car run? How long will it continue to run? Not very well; your body is the same way.
Matching your nutrition to your training is key when it comes to progress and keeping training at top notch! Following a restrictive, low carb and fat diet alongside excessive cardio can cause metabolic damage and cardiac output shut down, and in some extreme cases, can take months to years to reverse the damage and can result in hypothyroidism, and issues with hormones, insulin response, and carbohydrate sensitivity.
Following a moderate approach nutrition approach of 40% protein, 30% carbohydrates, and 30% fats to your diet in my opinion, is the most successful nutrition program for most athletes.
So now that we covered some reasons why you may be doing too much cardio, how do you know what is the right number for your cardio?
I follow the golden rule that weight loss should be 80% nutrition and 30% aerobic activity. With that being said, focusing on cardio sessions that burn near 300 calories per session rather than multiple sessions burning less are far more effective in my experience.
For every 3-4 cardio sessions, I a lot 2 rest days for experienced athletes. If you’re a beginner to a fitness routine, allowing fewer cardio sessions may be a better option.
It’s also important to alternate higher and lower intensity workouts and cardio sessions throughout your workout week. All exercises is beneficial to the body in different ways, so seek variety and balance for your well-rounded fitness program and watch the results happen! Article Contributed By: Alysha White, Axis Labs Sponsored Athlete and Master Trainer