I often get asked if cardio interferes wuth your ability to gain muscle. Most often, I think this question is wishful thinking from those looking for excuses not to do cardio. There is a grain of truth in it though, if you do too much cardio then your body is so busy repairing damage from the intense cardio that it cant rebuild the muscle torn down by lifting weights. How much cardio is too much?
Ive been cycling ~120 miles a day since I started the Tour de Hans last week and I can tell you the 12hrs high intensity cycling it takes me to complete that 120 miles with packs on my travel bike is too much cardio if you want to gain muscle. On the other hand, half an hour of sprinting or running will have no effect whatsover on your ability to gain muscle. 30min of cardio is fine if you want to gain muscle but 12hrs is too much, so where is the cutoff point?
Here is the rule of thumb I use, if you are still exhausted an hour after completing the cardio then it is interfering with your ability to gain muscle. For me personally, this is 2- 3hrs of intense cardio. I could do low intensity cardio like walking 5-7 hours a day without affecting my ability to add muscle.
So, its an hour after I have completed my 120 miles for the day and I am so exhausted that I can barely stay awake and its only 7:30m. It would be foolish to lift weights now as my body does not have the ability to rebuild the muscle if I break it down. Tomorrow is an easy day so I will do pushups and pullups then.
Gute Nackt und schlaf gut!
By the way the photo is of my high energy breakfast today, a JDD (Jelly Delivery Device). I rip out the center of the roll making it like a bowl then scoop in as much jelly as it will hold – yym!