How many hours a week are you on the treadmill, elliptical, bike or running outside?
You are probably asking yourself, really is there such a thing as doing too much cardio? If you want to lose extra body fat then I should do 45-60 min a day right? First let me breakdown what exactly is considered chronic cardio, chronic cardio is moderate to extreme exercise performed several times a week for 30-60 minutes. Exercises that would be considered are spinning, running, jogging and elliptical. Walking does not fall under this umbrella.
Now let me explain why chronic cardio can potentially harm your weight loss efforts and cause the exact OPPOSITE effect. When we place our body under certain level of stress, cortisol a stress hormone is released. Overall this is not a bad thing, cortisol helps the human body deal with outside stressors from work, exercise and stressful environments as long as you give your body enough time to rest and recover. When you decide to “suck it up” and go to the gym on 4 hours of sleep or habitually day after day place your body under high amounts of stress this does not have enough time to eliminate the high amounts of cortisol in bloodstream properly. This can lead to sugar cravings, excess storage of fat in the belly, neck and face (particularly in women), over eating and bing eating, suppressed immunity and problems sleeping, and a decrease in sex life. Now if you include cutting calories on top of the chronic cardio you are making the problem even worse. Including in the metabolic effect on muscle mass, you can actually LOSE muscle, that is right, lose muscle that you have worked hard to get and retain.
So the next time you decide to skip your rest day and just power through another workout or add on another 45 minutes of elliptical, running, stair climber, whatever it may be stop yourself and realize your body needs the rest. Nothing tragic is going to happen if you skip the gym or your cardio today you are helping your weight loss efforts and muscle gain in giving your body time to recuperate.