4 Forgotten effects of cardio

4 Forgotten effects of cardio

May 21, 2021 Off By Oliver Lester

In the previous article I went into a lot of depth about HIIT cardio and fasted cardio. I think that you now have sufficient knowledge of these 2 forms to make an informed choice (if not, we would like to hear that of course!). As I said, I want to write another article to complete the story. In this article I want to discuss the different effects of cardio on your life and the effects that your life has on the possible scheduling of cardio.


Which form of cardio is most optimal for you depends on many factors; as discussed earlier, the effect of cardio on your training is important; when strength or muscle growth is your goal, you will have to consider the intensity of your cardio and the effect on your recovery.

Someone who wants to achieve as dry a physical as possible will have to pay attention to other things than someone who wants optimal condition; the former wants maximum fat loss with maximum muscle retention.

I have also talked about efficiency before; if you do cardio all year round, your body will become more efficient in terms of movement, which makes the effectiveness of cardio (at least for energy expenditure) less.

Apart from the effect of the cardio itself when you do it, it is also good to keep in mind what the effect of the cardio is for the rest of the day or even the week. We’ve talked a little bit about this in terms of training and recovery, but think beyond that. HIIT can be a bit more hunger-suppressing than LISS, but when you push it too far it can also lead to a binge that you only compensate after 10 extra cardio sessions. In addition, too much activity of too much intensity can lead to stress, which in turn can negatively affect sleep. The drier and more starved you are, the thinner the line becomes between enough and too much.

Additionally, your NEAT in a calorie deficit will definitely be affected by the amount of conscious activity you do. If you move less and less apart from your cardio, adding more cardio will not lead to further fat loss and may even be counterproductive.

Effects of cardio


Besides the fact that cardio is useful for fat loss, we should not forget another very important aspect. I have written about this before in the pieces on metabolic training. Good metabolic fitness is very important for recovery, not only after a training session, but also in between sets. If you need 8 minutes of squats after 10 reps (I have been there) before you can start the next set, it will be very difficult to be able to load progressively from week to week without hours of workouts. In addition, if it takes a long time for you to calm down and have a calm heartbeat and breathing, it also takes longer for the body to work on recovery and growth.

That makes fitness one of the most important effects of cardio. By working on a good fitness level, you avoid this problem and ensure that recovery will never be the limiting factor in this regard. For this reason, it may be wise to periodize blocks of HIIT.


Aside from the whole story of the benefits of cardio, one of the most important things to consider is the time available and the motivation a person can muster. It is a bit more nuanced, but if we look purely at fat loss, eating 3000 kcal without cardio is roughly the same as eating 3500 kcal and 500 kcal cardio.

Some people really enjoy doing cardio and even need it to clear their heads, others do it with great reluctance. Some people work a few hours a day and get bored and snore when they sit still, while others are out for 15 hours every day for their jobs. It should be clear that you or your clients must take into account the precondition that we call ‘life’.

Also consider the type of work you do; If you’re already doing massive physical work that involves being active all day, walking a lot, or even lugging around, adding even more cardio may create too much stress on the system.

If you have an office job and you work 12 hours a day at the computer without getting up and your NEAT is therefore very low, the effects of cardio may even be positive and necessary, not only physically, but also mentally.

Effects of cardio


However, as mentioned in previous articles, there comes a point where lowering calories even further will cause problems with getting enough nutrients. In that case, adding cardio will be more sensible than lowering your intake even further.

In addition, this will also largely depend on body weight. Your organs do not grow in proportion to the amount of muscle mass you put on. That means that the more mass you have, the more stress that movement costs in proportion. Certainly in the final phase of a prep, it would be advisable, depending on the amount of muscle mass, to rather go for bags in a diet with less cardio than to do more cardio and keep the diet higher. The last few weeks before a competition or shoot, you should therefore do as little cardio as possible, with the points of this article taken into account.