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We all know that cardio is beneficial to us. It delivers numerous health benefits, elevates our mood, and helps us lose weight more easily.
But, is there such a thing as doing too much cardio? More specifically, can we unknowingly shoot ourselves in the foot and make worse progress because of that?
Today, we’ll go over what you need to know about cardio and the interference effect.
Do We Need Cardio At All?
This is quite the nuanced question to answer. For the most part, yes, doing some cardio is better than none, even if you primarily care about getting bigger and stronger.
Cardio is beneficial because it raises our aerobic capacity, which allows us to do more work before becoming fatigued. This also allows us to recover a bit better between workouts and do more work within each training week.
As a whole, experts and scientists agree that folks who mix some cardio in their regimen achieve better results in the long run. Plus, cardio delivers many health benefits, and we can’t discount that.
Cardio And Muscle Gains – What We Need to Know
Cardio can most definitely interfere with our muscle gains if we are not careful. Here are the three most important considerations to keep in mind:
1. The Duration And Intensity
The most important things we need to consider are the total duration and intensity of our cardio training. The more cardio we do, and the higher its intensity is, the more it will pile stress, prolong our recovery, and prevent us from doing productive work in the weight room.
So, before thinking about anything else, remember to keep it moderate and at a lower intensity.
2. The Timing
I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but we need to go over this:
To prevent cardio from interfering with your muscle-building efforts, avoid doing it before training. If you need to do your weights and cardio at the same time, leave cardio for when you’re done lifting.
Ideally, you should do cardio on separate days, or, at the very least, three to six hours away from your weight session.
3. The Type
Research seems to suggest that certain types of cardio impact us more than others. For example, jogging appears to impact lower body hypertrophy and strength negatively.
So, it’s best to go with less impact activities like low-intensity swimming, rowing, and battle roping. Alternatively, aiming for 10-15,000 steps per day is another fantastic way to reap the benefits of cardio without risking much of an interference effect.