When we think of working out, we often consider activities that make us sweat and get that heart rate up fast—think a run, cycling, HIIT and boxing. And it’s super important to do enough aerobic exercise in the week, as cardio is great for weight loss and maintenance and for benefiting your heart, as it gets your blood flowing, it burns calories, and it can help you reach your fitness goals.
Yet, there is a thing as too much cardio—and perhaps too little strength training. When you’re overdoing it cardio, you could actually hurt your body in the long run. What can happen? Here’s what you might notice if you are doing too much cardio in the week (whether too many sessions or too long of ones!), and why it isn’t good for your health or muscles.
You Lose Muscle & Can’t Define It
If you’re doing too many cardio sessions in the week, or you’re going over an hour in one session, you might be doing too much for your body. Plus, if you’re not adding in weights to your routine, you’re not building muscle either—just letting it deplete from the excess cardio.
When you’re overtraining on cardio you are getting your heart rate up and burning calories, but you are not building strong muscles. And you might be tearing away that muscle without strengthening it through resistance training. Combine both cardio and weights for an effective routine. Then you can define and sculpt muscles and burn fat, in addition to only calories!
You Might be Abnormally Hungry After
If you are doing tons of cardio, you might be famished after working out. And what might happen? You could overeat, which would take away from all the progress you made working out. That means all the calories you burned will be replaced and then some if you’re overdoing it. To curb an insatiable appetite after cardio, try and keep it in check by executing short burst workouts — you still get all the added benefits of increased circulation and raising your heart rate, and also minimize the risk to trigger an overactive hunger response.
You’re Sore All The Time
Doing excess cardio might make you feel sore and tired and it could set you up for injury due to overexertion. Your body needs rest and repair to build and define muscles, and without it, your body will continue breaking down muscle further – which leads to soreness. Instead, switch up your routine from cardio only and work on sculpting muscles through other bodyweight workouts and resistance training.
You Can’t Sleep
If you are doing too much cardio you might find it hard to wind down and go to bed—especially if you are working out in the evening. If it starts to interfere with your sleeping habits then dial it back and see if it helps. Try yoga or resistance training instead when close to bed and see if you’re better able to snooze at a reasonable hour. With weight training in the evening you also get the added benefit of going from a lifting workout to the repair and rebuild phase through sleep.