Does Cardio Ruin Muscle Gains?


For years, fitness enthusiasts have debated whether cardio exercises ruin muscle gains. On one hand, cardio exercises are essential for cardiovascular health and weight loss. On the other hand, weightlifting is necessary for muscle building. So, is it possible to do both without one interfering with the other? In this article, we’ll explore the science behind cardio and muscle gains and determine whether or not cardio exercises are detrimental to muscle growth.

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If you’re someone who is looking to build muscle, chances are you’ve been told to avoid cardio exercises like the plague. The fear is that cardio will burn off all your hard-earned muscle gains. However, the truth is a bit more complicated than that. While it’s true that cardio exercises burn calories, the idea that it ruins muscle gains is a myth.

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In fact, incorporating cardio exercises into your workout routine can actually be beneficial for muscle growth. Cardio exercises increase blood flow, which delivers oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, helping them to recover and grow. Furthermore, cardio exercises can help you to maintain a healthy weight, which is important for muscle growth. So, the next time you’re tempted to skip cardio in favor of weightlifting, remember that cardio exercises can actually help you to achieve your muscle-building goals.

does cardio ruin muscle gains?

Does cardio ruin muscle gains?

If you’ve been weightlifting for a while, you might have heard that doing cardio can ruin your gains. But is there any truth to this claim? Let’s dive into the science behind it and find out.

What is cardio?

Cardio, short for cardiovascular exercise, is any type of activity that raises your heart rate and gets your blood pumping. This can include running, cycling, swimming, or any other form of aerobic exercise.

Benefits of cardio

Cardiovascular exercise has many benefits, including:

  • Improving heart health
  • Burning calories and aiding in weight loss
  • Increasing endurance and stamina
  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels
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How does cardio affect muscle gains?

Some people believe that doing cardio can interfere with muscle gains by burning too many calories and reducing protein synthesis. However, research has shown that this is not necessarily the case.

While cardio can burn calories, it does not necessarily cause muscle loss. In fact, regular cardiovascular exercise can actually improve muscle recovery and growth by increasing blood flow and oxygen delivery to the muscles.

How to incorporate cardio into your workout routine

If you’re looking to add cardio to your weightlifting routine, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Start slow and gradually increase intensity and duration
  • Choose an activity that you enjoy and can stick to
  • Balance cardio with weightlifting and rest days
  • Consider adding high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to your routine for maximum benefits

Cardio vs weightlifting: which is better?

Both cardio and weightlifting have their own unique benefits and can be beneficial for overall health and fitness. While weightlifting is important for building muscle mass and strength, cardio is important for heart health and burning calories.

Ideally, a well-rounded workout routine should include both cardio and weightlifting exercises for optimal health and fitness.


In conclusion, cardio does not necessarily ruin muscle gains. In fact, incorporating regular cardiovascular exercise into your workout routine can have many benefits for both your heart and your muscles.

Remember to start slow and gradually increase intensity, and to balance cardio with weightlifting and rest days. With the right approach, you can enjoy the benefits of both cardio and weightlifting for a healthy and fit body.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does doing cardio ruin muscle gains?

Many people believe that doing cardio can ruin muscle gains, but this is not entirely true. While it is true that intense cardio can lead to muscle loss, moderate cardio can actually help maintain and even improve muscle mass. This is because cardio exercises increase blood flow and oxygen delivery to the muscles, which helps with recovery and growth.

However, it is important to balance your cardio with your strength training to avoid overtraining or burning too many calories. If you are trying to build muscle, limit your cardio to 1-2 sessions per week and focus on resistance training exercises.

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2. Can you do cardio and still gain muscle?

Yes, you can do cardio and still gain muscle. In fact, incorporating cardio into your workout routine can have many benefits, such as improving cardiovascular health, increasing endurance, and burning excess calories. The key is to balance your cardio with your strength training and to make sure you are consuming enough calories and protein to support muscle growth.

To maximize muscle gains while still doing cardio, focus on high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or short-duration, high-intensity cardio exercises. These types of cardio exercises can help increase muscle mass and metabolism while still burning calories.

3. How much cardio should I do if I want to build muscle?

If your goal is to build muscle, you should limit your cardio to 1-2 sessions per week and focus on resistance training exercises. However, the amount of cardio you do will depend on your individual fitness goals and needs.

If you are trying to lose weight or improve cardiovascular health, you may need to do more cardio than if you are solely focused on building muscle. It is important to find a balance that works for you and to listen to your body to avoid overtraining or burnout.

4. When should I do cardio if I want to build muscle?

The best time to do cardio if you want to build muscle is after your strength training workout. This is because your body will use your glycogen stores for energy during your strength training session, leaving your body in a state of muscle breakdown.

By doing cardio after your strength training session, you can help replenish your glycogen stores and increase blood flow to the muscles, which can aid in recovery and growth. However, if you prefer to do cardio on a separate day, make sure to space out your cardio and strength training sessions to avoid overtraining.

5. Can too much cardio hinder muscle growth?

Yes, too much cardio can hinder muscle growth. This is because excessive cardio can lead to a calorie deficit, which can cause your body to burn muscle for energy instead of fat. Additionally, cardio can increase cortisol levels in the body, which can inhibit muscle growth and even lead to muscle breakdown.

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To avoid hindering muscle growth, limit your cardio to 1-2 sessions per week and make sure to consume enough calories and protein to support muscle growth. Additionally, focus on resistance training exercises to build and maintain muscle mass.

Does Cardio prevent GAINS? 🚫💪

In conclusion, while cardio can have a negative impact on muscle gains, it ultimately depends on the individual’s fitness goals and how they incorporate cardio into their routine.

If your primary goal is to build muscle, it’s important to prioritize weightlifting and limit the amount of cardio you do. However, if you’re looking to improve overall health and endurance, incorporating moderate amounts of cardio can be beneficial.

It’s also important to note that proper nutrition and recovery play a crucial role in muscle gains. Eating a balanced diet and getting enough rest allows your muscles to recover and grow, regardless of whether you incorporate cardio into your routine or not.

In the end, finding the right balance between cardio and weightlifting, along with a healthy lifestyle, is key to achieving your fitness goals. So, don’t be afraid to mix it up and experiment with what works best for you.

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