4 Indicators You Do Too Much Cardio

Sometimes when I go to the gym, I have this urge to tell some of the most religious treadmill riders “Ma’am, Step away from the treadmill!” No matter how many articles and reports are written on the benefits of other than cardio, it never ceases to amaze me how many women (and men too…) relegate themselves to the endless monotony of the treadmill – or for that matter, any other piece of cardio equipment.  Moreover, these individuals will do cardio for over an hour…sometimes hopping from one piece of cardio equipment to another…never even considering time in the weight room, in classes or outdoors.

Although there are definite benefits to doing aerobic exercise; strength, core and flexibility training all provide numerous health benefits that cardio can’t:  They increase muscular and bone strength, increase lean body mass, safeguard against injury and boost metabolism while decreasing fat.

Is it possible you are overdoing the cardio?  Here’s how to know:

  1. Time: Unless you are training for a race, marathon or triathlon, there is no need to do more than 30 minutes of cardio (with your heart rate between 65% – 85% of your maximum heart rate) when you workout. Fitness Revamp: If you want to exercise for over 30 minutes, you are better off doing a 20 – 30 minute cardio session and another 20 – 30 minutes dedicated to strength training, stretching and/or core training.
  2. You aren’t seeing results: If you are trying to lose weight, yet you aren’t seeing results, it may be because of too much cardio.  Believe it or not the idea of ‘burning off fat’ does not stem from cardio…it stems from strength training.   Fitness Revamp: Build in 20 – 30 minute strength training sessions 2 – 3 times a week.
  3. Injuries: Too much wear and tear on your muscles and joints can end up in an injury…or even worse, multiple injuries.  Incorporating flexibility and strength training helps to strengthen the joints which will prevent pain and damage to joints. Fitness Revamp: Take the time to stretch before and after your cardio sessions.
  4. Boredom: Does it take a lot to motivate yourself to go to the gym?  Doing the same type of exercise every day, of every week, of every year is…BORING!  Working out should be fun and should make you feel good.  Fitness Revamp: Mix it up.  Take a class or two that interest you each week.  Get into the weight room and do a few sets of bicep curls.  Go hiking.  Do things that motivate you and keep you interested.  Being active is what is most important…not the time and mileage on a piece of equipment.

Do you think you are overdoing cardio?  Have you found any of the above indicators true?

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  • Doug Bath

    The again… the person you want to say “Ma’am, Step away from the treadmill!” to just might in fact be training for a race. If it is winter and in a cold climate, runners run indoors quite often. Particularly when it is dark outside. Runners run. A lot.

  • Shareka Deas

    I have to agree with the article. I’m not much of a runner, but that is my choice of cardio. I run 4 times a week, and I may (or may not) throw in a “little” weight training for 10 minutes twice a week. The only difference I see in my body is in my legs…they’re more defined and toned. However, I have NOT lost any weight! As a matter of fact, I think I gained some…lol! So I will definitely change up my routine. I’m thinking run for 20 minutes (1.8 miles) 3 times a week, yoga on day 1 (30-45 minute class), strength training on day 2 (30 minutes), weight lifting on day 3 (30-45 minute class)…I think that’s a good place to start. What do you guys think?

    • Brett

      Shareka…sounds like a plan. Realize one thing, however, as you gain muscle, your muscle density ways more than fat. So 1 cubic inch of muscle will weigh more than 1 cubic inch of fat. Pay attention to how you feel and how you fit into your clothes…that should tell you more than a number on the scale!

  • Cardio Man

    I started training last year in July 2008 starting at a weight of 268lbs. I managed to get my weight down to 195lbs as of Oct 2009 (lil over 70lbs weightloss). I do 2 hours cardio 6 days a week with 1 day rest along with 3 days of weight training. So those 3 days out of the week I am attending the gym twice: once in the morning for cardio and then after work in the evening for weight training. What I’m trying to convey here is that everyone is different when it comes to their own training threshold. What I may be doing may be complete overkill for others…just my 2 cents

  • Mike Soda

    I agree with the article’s premise. I incorporate both strength training and hiking the steep slopes around my house. I live at nearly 8,900 Ft. above sea level and find the vigorous hiking to be far more fun than running. Never have used a treadmill either.