Some cardio is good for your heart and health, but too much cardio is bad for your muscle.
One day a friend of mine was complaining that, although he was eating much more than me, he couldn't build any muscle while I was getting bigger quickly.
That was some years ago, btw.
This guy was a very active buddy, he played basketball, in the summer was playing soccer...he was the type of guy that almost every morning, from what I know, used to go running for an hour or so.
And he was going to the gym to because he liked to have some more muscle and look not big...but at least with a nice physique.
But he looked the same for me from day one to when he gave up working out (which was a couple of years later).
Thinking of that guy gave me the idea of writing this article so that you can be aware of the side effects of too much cardio.
Is Too Much Cardio Bad for Muscle?
The answer is yes. I don't do too much cardio, just enough to train my heart and keep me healthy, but not more than 20/30 minutes two or three times a week.
Don't get me wrong, cardiovascular activity is really good generally speaking, but
Too much cardio can have some side effects
If you are a runner, if you play for a basketball team or a soccer team where you have to run like crazy for 90 minutes then yeah, it doesn't matter how much you train, you do much cardio but it can never be too much cardio.
But from a bodybuilder point of you it's different. It always depends on your goals right?
Somebody says that too much cardio burns muscle, others say the it doesn't really burn muscle
Who is right?
From my experience, too much cardio doesn't burn muscle directly, but it kinda does indirectly.
It's all about calories.
One hour of treadmill burns an average of something like 800 calories (running 7 mph), one hour of elliptical burns 400 to 500 calories and one hour of exercise bike burns around 300 calories (read Elliptical or Exercise Bike: Which One is Best? for a detailed comparison).
If you do too much cardio you burn so many calories that maybe your body can't find in your food. Maybe I need 2,500 calories a day to maintain my muscle mass, while you need 3,500 a day. If you want to build more muscle then you have to increase your calorie intake even more...but the question is...
You have to eat like crazy! If you don't provide enough calorie to your body, it will just have to find another source of energy, which is found in your fat storage first, and in your muscle after.
Now let me ask you the question: have you ever seen a resistance runner with big muscle?
Some Cardio Is Good, Too Much Cardio Is Not
If you didn't do any cardio at all it'd be hard to burn fat, we all know that.
But for people like us that want to build muscle, that's probably not a good idea.
There is a point where lots of cardio becomes too much cardio instead.
Stick with 20/30 minutes two or three times a week and you'burn fat, keep healthy and preserve your muscle!
If you're a runner, if you play soccer 1 hour every day you're not going to build muscle. All the strength is going to go towards endurance, but as far as getting bigger and stronger...that's not going to happen.
You have to understand something, if you want to get bigger and build muscle you have to increase your daily calories intake.
There is no magic man, your body will eventually adapt to the type of activity that you do.
If you like running and do lots of cardio your body is going become skinnier and smaller. If your goal is building muscle you have to do those activities that allow you to put mass on, which is eating right, not doing too much cardio and lifting weights like crazy!