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How Much Cardio is TOO Much Cardio?

Someone asked me an awesome question the other day: “How much cardio is too much cardio???”

And that hit home with me, because I went through a phase a couple years ago of doing wayyy too much cardio that left me exhausted and burnt out for fitness. Anyone else been there?

Figuring out the right amount of exercise for your personal body and your goals can be challenging! Do you do cardio 3 times a week? 4 times? Morning? Night? 2 times a day? So many options!

(Note: you shouldn't have to do cardio 2x a day) In 2015 I was doing over an hour of cardio 6-7 days a week for a good chunk of time, and it ate my muscles (and energy) away, reduced my strength greatly and made me resent the gym. I knew I had to make a change so I first started backing off the intensity of my cardio, because mentally I was still attached to doing cardio every day. I started to make a change in 2017. Less HIIT cardio, lower heart rate and less calories burned...not exactly common for a fitness lover! I went from an hour to 45 minutes. Then 45 to 30 minutes, and I stayed accountable to myself that I would honor those times. It was hard to not keep pushing when I was used to longer workouts, but the payoff was balance for life!

Limiting my time in cardio actually started making me feel better! I felt more energized and like I was being more efficient. I pushed harder under the clock. As time went on with less cardio, I was able to get more out of my workouts! The last step in backing off too much cardio was reducing the days of the week. So instead of 6-7x (sounds exhausting right), I switched to 30 minutes of cardio 4-5x, and this has been a good balance for me and my maintenance goals for the past year up & to now! With the reduction of cardio also came the increase in strength! I also recommend lifts weights first, cardio after. I also try not to do too much cardio around my leg days to get the most out of my muscles. So if you’re wondering if you’re doing too much cardio, that thought right there, may be a hint that you are. But it’s ok! Because fitness is a learning process. I recommend a slow and gradual back off until you find something you can maintain for life.

Here is a wonderful table showcasing how many calories can be burned depending on 3 different body weights!

I hope this helps! Sourced from Harvard.

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