The first thing that most of us will do to get lean is to up the cardio. But doesn’t cardio eat muscle? It’s a common view held by both novice and seasoned gym-goers, and yea it definitely can.
But if you correctly implement cardio as part of your conditioning plan, it can yield incredible results.
Stop severely restricting calories and doing hours of cardio
Seriously though, stop. Training like this is very counterproductive. Yea in the process you may lose some fat, but this can also result in some hard-earned muscle loss. When you aggressively reduce your energy intake while performing an excess of cardio, you can actually end up lowering your metabolism as your body will try and conserve as much energy as possible by going into ‘survival’ mode.
This mainly hormonally driven process can result in muscle loss and a tendency to store fat if done for a prolonged period of time. As you lose more muscle, your metabolism will slow even further. This is because you’re shedding more metabolically-active tissue.
But wait, don’t kick cardio from your workout plan just yet!
There are some forms of steady-state cardio that can deliver benefits such as improved insulin sensitivity and mobilizes stored fat. Remember though that this all depends on your diet and the macronutrient manipulation that you follow.
Cardio, in general, is important to help maintain general wellbeing and improve overall health. Low-impact cardio is generally more beneficial for those looking to enhance their physique, rather than higher impact treadmill or outdoor running because the cortisol response is lower. Low-impact cardio also keeps your average heart rate lower and tends to cause less soft tissue trauma, meaning you’ll recover quicker and are less likely to break down muscle tissue.
There are so many low-impact cardio options to choose from, meaning you’ll never get bored while training.
- Walking: treadmill, assault Airrunner, or outdoors
- Cycling: stationary bike, WATTbike, spinning, assault Airbike
- Rowing Machine
Author: Logan Leigh Rix
Logan blends her passion and profession by working as a digital and social media marketer and content creator in the fitness, health and wellness industry. She’s also a personal trainer, former Face of Fitness finalist and Fitness Magazine featured athlete.