T Nation

Cardio Doing Me Harm?


Didn't know where this should go. Seems like it's probably a newb question, so I'll ask it here.

Despite for a time being really overweight (240 pounds, 42" waist), I've always been pretty athletic. I lost most of my weight the last few years of high-school. In college I was active, did BJJ, Skied, SAR, what not, but most of my training was basically aimed at not getting fat while reading 10+ hours a day, and drinking lots of beer.

As such, I didn't eat much, and did lots of cardio everyday.

Now I like being able easily run six min miles all day long, but now I'm trying to build some muscle, both for strength and aesthetics.

Old habits are hard to kick. Even on my "off" days, I run/sprint for 20min to an hour... basically, seven days a week I do at least 20 min of interval training. If not that + anywhere from 40 min to two hours of some other running around (running, biking, hiking w/pack).

Is this doing me any harm/good? Should my off days be totally off (I lift 4-5 days a week depending).

What say the T-Nation Gods. I enjoy doing it, but...


7 days a week interval training is way too much, most athlete I know don’t do that mucg interval, no way you can have a good recuperation from that.

Stick to no more than 2-3 cardio session/week imho.


What about 40min-1hour steady state cardio?


I want to say that if you’re making progress it doesn’t really matter… but sheesh, that’s a lot of cardio. I mean… damn.

Good: You should be able to eat more, and theoretically, your metabolism is high (because of the sheer volume of activity).

Bad: lots of running hurts your knees, long steady-state cardio can lead to elevated cortisol/stress levels, thus hurting progress.

If you stop it all at once you’re probably going to get nervous and twitchy and spazzy for a week or two, followed by probably some horrible depression as your body adjusts to the vast decrease in energy expenditure. So don’t do that.

If you enjoy your running, and you’re still making progress with it, keep it. It might have some deleterious effects in the future, but fuck it, so does everything. If you stop making progress, you either need to eat more, or you might want to look into decreasing the amount of random runs you do.

If you don’t enjoy your running, I’d slowly cut back on it and get your diet under control so you don’t need to be too concerned about the effects of beer-binging weekends.


I am making progress. I’m just wondering if I’d be making it faster by cutting the cardio…

…by doing zero anything on at least one day a week?

I’m also trying to do that magical, impossible thing where you both build muscle and cut fat at the same time… While I’m not really doing that, I have been able to put on about ten pounds without adding fat over the past month or so… but I don’t know if that’s due to, or despite the cardio.


Just try it for a while to lower the cardio a bit and see what it does.


part of the benefit of being a beginner is you can get stronger and lose body fat at the same time