5 Cardio Myths Debunked

5 Cardio Myths Debunked

When it comes to cardio training, there’s plenty of information out there. Often, information that is entirely conflicting.  On one hand, you might read that you should only be doing fasted steady state cardio training first thing in the morning and on the other, you read that HIIT is the route to go.

Who’s right?

Or more importantly, who’s wrong?

There are a number of cardio myths out there you need to know. Let’s go over a few so you don’t find yourself being misled.

Cardio Myth #1: Steady State Is Useless

Numerous studies have published the fact that HIIT training wins the fat loss war when it comes to cardio varieties. It’s true, you will get more ‘bang for your buck’, so to speak if you want to burn fat rapidly from cardio training.

But does that mean that all steady state cardio is useless?  Not at all. There are a number of times when steady state is the superior choice such as if you are on a very intense diet plan, you’re lifting weights five times a week, or if you’re a beginner.

Don’t be so quick to write this form of cardio off.

Cardio Myth #2: Empty Stomach HIIT Is Best For Fat Burning

Many people are aware that steady state cardio on an empty stomach can help accelerate fat burning.  So since HIIT already beats out steady state cardio, that must mean that HIIT on an empty stomach is even better, right?


It’s a myth that you should be doing HIIT without eating first.  Your body needs glucose present to perform HIIT as you should, so attempt it without eating and you won’t be working at the intensity level necessary to see the true results you should be.

Eat first, then cardio. That’s how it should be with HIIT.  If you want to accelerate your results, try using a supplement such as L-Carnitine, which will help you burn more fuel from body fat stores.

Cardio Myth #3: Your Body Will ‘Adapt’ To Cardio Training

Many people are also under the impression that your body will adapt to cardio training and basically stop burning calories.  This isn’t so.

There are some reasons why you may not burn as many calories during your workout as you used to such as if you are eating a very low calorie diet and your entire metabolic rate is slower or if you’ve lost lean muscle or even fat mass for that matter, but your body doesn’t ‘adapt’ to the cardio itself.

If you are increasing the intensity level of all your lifting workouts over time, it’s reasonable to expect that you won’t always be increasing the intensity of your cardio sessions as well.

Do that and you may find yourself overtraining.

Cardio Myth #4: You’ll Lose Your Gains  

Think hopping on the treadmill will cause you to lose your gains? Many of those involved in bodybuilding fear cardio thinking even just a little will lead to less muscle mass.

While it’s true that overdoing cardio and not eating properly before and after it could potentially lead to lean muscle mass, a couple 20 minute sessions per week should be fine for almost everyone.

If you’re smart in your approach, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Cardio Myth #5: Cardio Is Not Necessary When Bulking

Which brings us to the last myth, that you don’t need cardio while bulking.  It’s best if you do keep some cardio in.  You definitely don’t need to be doing it daily, but 20 minutes of moderate intensity cardio a couple times a week can help keep you in better cardiovascular shape, which then helps prevent fatigue during your big lifts.

If you’re getting winded by the time you hit three reps on your squats and you’re aiming for five, it’s obvious that your lack of conditioning will be holding you back.

Plus, staying in cardiovascular shape will make it a million times easier to get back into it when you move into a fat loss phase.

So there are a few of the top cardio myths that you may be falling for.  Can you think of any others that you’d’ add?


King, Jeffrey W. A comparison of the effects of interval training vs. continuous training on weight loss and body composition in obese pre-menopausal women. Diss. East Tennessee State University, 2001.

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