Is Excessive Cardio Destroying My Muscles?

Is Excessive Cardio Destroying My Muscles?


Cardiovascular exercise is a popular choice for many individuals aiming to improve their overall health and fitness. However, there is a growing concern among fitness enthusiasts about whether excessive cardio could potentially harm their muscle gains. Let's delve deeper into this topic to understand the relationship between excessive cardio and muscle destruction.

Understanding Muscle Breakdown

During intense cardio sessions, the body primarily relies on stored glycogen for energy. Prolonged cardio can lead to the breakdown of muscle protein to meet the body's energy demands, especially if glycogen stores are depleted. This process, known as catabolism, can negatively impact muscle mass and strength over time.

The Role of Cortisol

Excessive cardio can also elevate cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol, a stress hormone, is catabolic in nature and can further contribute to muscle breakdown. High cortisol levels coupled with prolonged cardio sessions may create an unfavourable environment for muscle maintenance and growth.

Finding the Right Balance

While cardio has numerous health benefits, including improved cardiovascular function and calorie expenditure, finding the right balance is crucial. Incorporating adequate rest days, proper nutrition, and incorporating strength training can help mitigate the potential muscle loss associated with excessive cardio.


In conclusion, excessive cardio can have a negative impact on muscle mass if not balanced properly. Understanding the effects of prolonged cardio on muscle breakdown and implementing strategies to support muscle maintenance are essential for individuals who engage in regular cardiovascular exercise. By finding the right balance and listening to your body, you can enjoy the benefits of cardio while safeguarding your hard-earned muscle gains.

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