Does Cardio Prevent Muscle Gain?

Dear Davey

I’m trying to increase my muscle mass and so I do a lot of lifting and strength training. I also do some cardiovascular exercise like runging and sometimes biking. Is it possible that my cardio is preventing me from getting better results?

– Concerned in Montana

Dear Concerned in Montana,

You probably have nothing to worry about – but you’re certainly in good company. A lot of people are afraid to run, swim or bike because they believe their muscle mass will decrease. And there is some truth to this fear.

If you are training for a marathon or running vast distances every day, then yes – you’ll be limiting the amount of muscle that your body will add. But for the rest of us who run or jog or spin moderately, there is nothing about which to worry. If there is any muscle loss, it will be minimal.

If you’re still concerned about losing muscle mass, limit your cardio to 20 or 30 minutes a few times a week and monitor your progress. I, for example, am able to run six days a week and experience minimal muscle loss.

And conversely, cardio has many great benefits that all of us can enjoy, including:

  • Fat loss, toning
  • Stronger heart and lungs
  • Increased bone density
  • Reduced stress
  • Reduced risk of heart disease and some types of cancer
  • Temporary relief from depression and anxiety
  • Increased confidence about how you feel and how you look
  • Better sleep
  • More energy

I hope that helps!


About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. I also love Runging [sic]! ๐Ÿ˜‰ lol.

  2. Thank you! i wanna gain muscle too, and i do some sort of cardio every day. And since i’ve been doing it, i feel soooo much better.

  3. If cardio can reduce fat, then it might affect how ‘big’ the muscle looks, too. I wish I could run 6 days a week! The elliptical works best for me!