Will Cardio Make Me Lose My Gains??

Alex Josipovic coach at CrossFit South West Sydney

You’ve heard it from ‘Gym Bros’ before; “No way! Cardio will make me lose my gains! (Bra)”

What does that even mean? And what the hell are ‘Gains’ anyway?? ????

This is typically the catch cry for people that can’t be bothered getting out of the weight room and breathing a bit heavy. They claim it will make them lose strength, size, testosterone and whatever other big words they know.

But will it really?

In Short, NO.

Cardio will not make you lose all your gains. In fact, cardio is essential and is a staple in
many training programs (unless you’re an Olympic weightlifter or your goal is to be the
strongest human alive). If your goal is to be an Olympic weightlifter and you have 2
hours per day to train, don’t spend 1.5 hours of that time doing cardio or you won’t be a
very good weightlifter. However, if you spend 10-15 minutes of your 2 hours on cardio,
it’ll be the perfect amount. Building on that, we all know resistance training builds
muscle, but what makes that muscle look good? Cardio. Cardio based exercise will help
you trim fat to reveal a toned rig.

Will I Become Weaker If I Start Doing Cardio?

Once again, the answer is no. Doing cardio could be something as simple as using a
bike or a rower for a warm up/cool down. Adding in high intensity interval training with
cardio equipment will definitely not make you weaker either. It will actually increase your
power output which therefore means it will increase the speed at which your muscles

Cardio Is Good For Heart Health.

Cardio based exercises are actually great for heart health and should be encouraged for
almost everyone. Resistance based exercises are also great for heart health, but they
often cause your body to operate at a lower heart rate – which means your heart is
beating slow. Your heart is a muscle, and just like every other muscle in your body, the
more it works, the more effective and efficient it becomes. Cardio exercise is one of the
best ways to train your heart muscle to ensure it is pumping away at optimal levels.

Do I Have To Sit On A Stationary Bike or Run On A Treadmill The Whole Time?

Absolutely not. Cardio based training is characterised by anything that is going to get
your heart rate up, and keep it up during the session. This means you can still lift
weights and count it as cardio (they just need to be relatively light and you need to move
them with smaller rest periods), you can swim, do body weight exercises, core exercises
etc. You don’t ever have to sit on a stationary bike or get on a treadmill to get that cardio
fix in.

Cardio Can Actually Be FUN (Believe it or not)

To be consistent with cardio exercises, it’s always much more fun exercising in a social
and encouraging environment. An exercise modality such as CrossFit is an excellent
way to incorporate your resistance training and cardio based training together. CrossFit
will get you strong, fit and it’s all done in a supportive and fun environment. It’s easy to
make friends and stay motivated when training together.

Do I Need To Worry About Calories Burnt or My Heart Rate Ranges?

In short, No If you are training for a specific event and need to cut a certain amount of
weight prior to the event then you may measure your calories. However, calorie
measurement on a standard stationary bike or wearable fitness device is often
questionable, so I wouldn’t look into it too much. Heart rate ranges are also only useful
for specific goals. Sure, there are optimal fat burning ranges and power increasing
ranges, but again, the accuracy of most standard devices that measure your heart rate is
questionable. Take away advice is that you should start incorporating some cardio in
your workouts. Just start slow and steady and then build up from there. Who knows, you
may actually enjoy it?

Ben Lazzaro

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