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Does Cardio after a Workout kill Gains

Does Cardio after a Workout Kill Gains:

The Impact of Cardio After a Workout on Muscle Gains:

The impact of cardiovascular exercise (cardio) after a workout on muscle gains is an interesting topic that has been debated among fitness enthusiasts and experts. While the primary goal of cardio is to improve cardiovascular health and burn calories, it can also have implications for muscle growth and recovery. Let’s delve into this in more detail. read also,Pilates ab Exercises

Firstly, it’s important to understand that muscle growth, also known as hypertrophy, primarily occurs in response to resistance training. Resistance exercises such as weightlifting or bodyweight exercises create micro-tears in the muscle fibers, and during the recovery process, the muscles repair and rebuild themselves, resulting in increased muscle size and strength.

When it comes to performing cardio after a workout, it can have both positive and negative effects on muscle gains, depending on the duration, intensity, and timing of the cardio session.

Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Energy expenditure:

    Cardio exercises, especially high-intensity activities like running or cycling, increase energy expenditure and can contribute to a calorie deficit. While creating a calorie deficit can be beneficial for overall weight loss, it’s important to note that a significant calorie deficit can hinder muscle growth. In such cases, the body may prioritize using stored glycogen and fat as fuel, potentially compromising the availability of energy and nutrients required for muscle repair and growth.

  2. Hormonal response:

    Resistance training promotes the release of anabolic hormones such as testosterone, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), and growth hormone, which play crucial roles in muscle protein synthesis and hypertrophy. Cardio exercises, especially when performed immediately after resistance training, can impact this hormonal response. Some studies suggest that performing cardio before resistance training may impair the acute hormonal response, potentially affecting muscle growth. However, the long-term impact of this effect on overall muscle gains is still a topic of debate.

  3. Recovery and fatigue:

    Intense cardio sessions can cause muscle fatigue and increase overall recovery time. If the cardio session is too exhaustive, it may interfere with the body’s ability to recover from resistance training and potentially delay muscle repair and growth. On the other hand, performing low-intensity cardio, such as walking or light cycling, after a workout may help with active recovery by increasing blood flow, promoting nutrient delivery to muscles, and reducing muscle soreness.

  4. Individual variability:

    It’s crucial to consider that the impact of cardio on muscle gains can vary among individuals based on their fitness levels, genetics, training goals, and overall exercise programming. What works for one person may not necessarily work for another. Some individuals may find that incorporating cardio after a workout enhances their recovery and doesn’t hinder muscle growth, while others may experience a negative impact.

To optimize muscle gains while incorporating cardio, here are a few suggestions:

  1. Prioritize resistance training: Make sure that your resistance training routine is the primary focus of your workout sessions. Dedicate sufficient time and effort to perform exercises that target specific muscle groups and stimulate hypertrophy.
  2. Manage cardio volume and intensity: If you decide to include cardio after resistance training, consider moderating the volume and intensity. Performing low-to-moderate intensity cardio for a shorter duration may be more beneficial for muscle recovery and growth compared to prolonged, high-intensity cardio sessions.
  3. Timing: If possible, space out your resistance training and cardio sessions. This allows for better recovery between workouts and reduces the potential interference of cardio on the anabolic response to resistance training.
  4. Monitor nutrition and recovery: Pay attention to your nutrition and recovery strategies. Ensure that you’re consuming an adequate amount of protein and calories to support muscle growth. Additionally, prioritize rest, sleep, and other recovery modalities like stretching and foam rolling to optimize muscle repair.

 The Importance of Post-Workout

Recovery After intense exercise, the body undergoes a series of physiological changes to repair and rebuild damaged muscle tissue. This process, known as post-workout recovery, is crucial for muscle growth and adaptation. During this phase, the body repairs microtears in muscle fibers, replenishes energy stores, and facilitates protein synthesis. It is essential to prioritize recovery to optimize gains and minimize the risk of overtraining or injury.

Potential Negative Effects of Cardio after a Workout

Increased Energy Expenditure:

Performing cardio exercises after weight training can result in additional energy expenditure, which may compromise muscle recovery. A calorie deficit can hinder the body’s ability to repair and build new muscle tissue.

Elevated Cortisol Levels:

Intense cardiovascular exercise can trigger the release of cortisol, a stress hormone associated with muscle breakdown and fat storage. Elevated cortisol levels may counteract the anabolic effects of weight training and potentially hinder muscle growth.

Muscle Glycogen Depletion:

Cardiovascular exercise primarily relies on glycogen stores for energy. Performing cardio after weight training may deplete muscle glycogen levels, which are vital for optimal muscle recovery and growth. Inadequate glycogen stores can impede muscle protein synthesis and compromise overall gains.

Despite these potential negative effects, it is important to note that the impact of cardio after a workout on muscle gains can be highly individualized. Factors such as exercise intensity, duration, frequency, and overall training volume play a significant role.

It is crucial to consider individual goals and priorities when determining the most appropriate exercise sequence.

Potential Benefits of Cardio after a Workout

1. Enhanced Fat Oxidation:

Cardiovascular exercise can promote fat oxidation, aiding in weight loss or body composition goals. Incorporating cardio after weight training may provide an additional opportunity to burn calories and promote overall fat loss while maintaining muscle mass.

2. Improved Cardiovascular Fitness:

Incorporating cardiovascular exercise after a workout can enhance cardiovascular endurance and overall fitness levels. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals whose primary goals include overall health and fitness, rather than solely focusing on muscle hypertrophy.

3. Active Recovery:

Light to moderate cardio exercises after weight training can facilitate active recovery. Engaging in low-impact activities such as brisk walking or cycling can help increase blood flow, alleviate muscle soreness, and expedite the removal of metabolic byproducts, thus aiding in the recovery process.check this,What are Pilates Exercises


The impact of cardio after a workout on muscle gains is a complex and nuanced topic. While there are potential negative effects such as increased energy expenditure, elevated cortisol levels, and muscle glycogen depletion, it is crucial to consider individual factors and goals. Incorporating cardio after a workout can have potential benefits, including enhanced fat oxidation, improved cardiovascular fitness, and active recovery.

Ultimately, individuals should tailor their exercise routine based on their specific goals, ensuring that they strike the right balance between resistance training, cardiovascular exercise, and recovery to optimize overall fitness and well-being.