Cardio is something all of us, whether we like it or not, perform to some degree. Whether we are trying to put on some lean mass or trying to shred down for the summer, cardio is always an integral part of exercise.
But sometimes we can find out the hard way that we’re over doing it and no longer receiving the full benefits of the love/hate relationship. Look closely at the following signs to ensure you’re getting the most out of your cardiovascular exercise and not damaging your body in the process.
Too Much Cardio Sign #1: Not Losing Weight Anymore
Too many people start out doing cardio at an unreal rate of around 30-40 minutes per day. They will see some immediate results so they think more is better. On only week 2 of the program, they’re doing an hour’s worth of cardio per day and a month into the workouts they’ve stalled dramatically and are no longer seeing the pounds fall off like they once did at the start of this. This is because there is no progression that is truly attainable.
To get the most out of your cardio, especially if you’re new to the scene, incorporate around 15-20 minutes a couple times a week with your normal workouts. After a few weeks, add a couple of minutes and increase a few minutes every few weeks for up to eight weeks. Then take a week off, let the cardiovascular system reset as well as your metabolism and then start over. This will ensure that you’re always progressing at a steady rate and ensuring you’re varying the time spent doing so, so your body is always guessing and keeping you achieving a healthier physique.
Too Much Cardio Sign #2: Not Able to Sleep As Well
Another tell tale sign that you’re getting in too much cardio, or any workout for that means, is that your sleep is being affected. If you find it difficult to fall asleep, or fall asleep and stay asleep, your body is probably not able to fully rest and recover from all of the central nervous system pounding you’re putting it through.
Make sure if you’re performing HIIT cardio that this is switched up from time to time with some steady state cardio to give the central nervous system a break as well. Ensure also that you’re not working out too close to bedtime. Taking a break completely from cardio for awhile will help reset the body and give it the rest it needs to get you back on track.
Too Much Cardio Sign #3: Can’t Recover/Losing Muscle
If you’re a runner, you need time to fully get your legs recovered in order to perform at your best. Too much cardio because you’re trying to push yourself will not only stop you from being a stronger runner, but from receiving the necessary recovery to come back from training stronger than ever. On the other hand, if you’re on a mass gaining program, cardio is essential to keeping your endurance and heart strong, but too much will lead to a hindrance of your muscular gains and in some cases you will actually lose muscle because the calories are not able to be high enough.
Keep cardio at medium rate to ensure you’re getting the most out of the fat loss and keeping the muscle you’ve worked so hard for.
Too Much Cardio Sign #4: Increased Soreness/Injury
The final tell-tale sign – and probably the most evident and easy to feel – is that your soreness levels are through the roof. There’s a difference between being sore and on the verge of being injured. Running and jogging through pain is one thing, but when left untreated can turn into worse pain like shin splints and possible stress fractures.
Check your ego and know when a rest day is needed. This doesn’t make you lazy and doesn’t make you lose all your gains – this is smart to plan into your routine. Up your supplements on these days, get a massage and make sure to rest and stretch anything that’s tight or that has been bothering you during your workouts. This will reap huge benefits for you in the long run and will help to provide longevity in the weight room or during your cardio sessions.