Is Cardio Really Hurting Your Strength Gains?

I remember when I was first getting into training and people were afraid of doing any form of cardio because they thought they would burn all the muscle they had worked so hard for…

Let’s be honest…

Most of those same guys who have convinced themselves that use it as a to be lazy and not be in shape.

I mean if you look at the research there is evidence that strength training and conditioning have a negative effect on each other at the highest level.

So that explains why bodybuilders and world class endurance athletes are never the same people nor do they look remotely similar.

But most of the guys in the gym saying this rubbish aren’t anywhere near bodybuilding stature.

I know because I used to be one of those guys too. Funnily though at the same time as I didn’t believe in cardio at the gym I was still playing footy, mountain biking and doing plenty of other things I just didn’t count them as the cardio.

Today, things are a little different to how things used to be when I first started in the gym.

The crossfit and F45 boom has lead to everyone wanting to turn everything into cardio training.

Not as many people as scared of ruining their gains through cardio… now they’re scared of resting too much.

They don’t feel like they’re working hard enough because they can actually breathe softly enough in between their sets to hear their own thoughts.

We see people finishing choosing not to go heavier because they’re afraid if they do, it will be too hard to do without resting, yet wonder why they can’t get their first pullup.

The reality is that even though cardio isn’t going to kill your gains by doing it alongside your strength work (as long as you fuel yourself sufficiently). Trying to turn your strength work into cardio will kill your results you see from your strength training.

The fitness world right now is facing the opposite of what we were 10 years ago.

Back then everyone was lifting heavy and avoiding conditioning work.

Now the majority of the industry as a large thanks to bootcamps, ‘functional’ gyms and the like aren’t afraid of getting in shape any more.

Instead everyone is scared to put in the work to get strong.

A big part of this is lack of understanding… I listened to a podcast recently where a coach said that people who only lift weights and don’t do high intensity work get fat.

But that’s just a ridiculous claim as basically all physique competitors (the leanest people in the world) just lift weights and do low intensity cardio with nearly no high intensity work.

In reality, people who just lift weights and eat more calories than what they expend get fat…

Just like people who do heaps of high intensity cardio while eating more calories than they expend get fat too.

The only difference is at least the ones who lift weights get strong too so they’ll at least have some muscle on them and just like a tan everyone looks better with some muscle. The cardio bunnies who eat too much just end up skinny fat and that’s nobody’s goal.

So here’s the thing..

Doing some conditioning is good for you and will probably help your gains over time through increasing your work capacity

Turning your strength workouts all into high intensity cardio (F45 I’m looking at you guys) does nothing for your strength…

At the very least take a lesson from crossfit’s book and do your strength first and then hammer your conditioning afterwards if you feel you need it.