Why Men Need Cardio – and Women Need Strength Training.

Gender segregation is running rampant in gyms across the country and around the world.

In the cardio section of the gym (with all the treadmills, bikes and ellipticals), you’ll find mostly women. And in the strength training area (with various machines and free weights), you’ll see mostly men. But this isn’t a segregation enforced by gym policies or rules – but rather, it’s a segregation enforced by our own fitness misconceptions.


Let’s face it: Men don’t like doing cardio. Lifting weights is one thing, but running or sprinting on a treadmill is a different beast entirely. But in actuality, men do need cardio.

The big myth is that you can’t build muscle and include cardio in your workout. I hear this all the time:

I want to get big. That’s why I don’t do any cardio. I don’t want to lose my muscle gains or strength.

The myth that all cardio cannibalizes muscle is pervasive – and untrue. The truth is, even professional bodybuilders do cardio.

Why? Because cardio has a number of benefits that all men can use. Cardio:

  • Strengthens your heart and improves overall heart health.
  • Decreases gym recovery time.
  • Can increase the body’s metabolism.
  • Improves endurance.
  • Increases bone density.
  • Results in better sleep and more energy.
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol and more.

It’s true that long, drawn-out cardio sessions can lead to muscle loss. Because of this, it’s recommended that cardio sessions don’t exceed 45 minutes. My cardio, for example, is limited to 15 – 25 minutes per day. I alternate between running at a steady pace on one day and then doing intervals on the next.

It’s important that all people – regardless of gender – incorporate cardiovascular exercise into their workouts.


While most women get plenty of cardio, they often shy away from the weight room. Beyond the intimidation factor of working with free weights, most women avoid strength training because they don’t want to become bulky or overly muscular.

Whatever your gender, there’s no reason to fear becoming too muscular. In actuality, it takes a tremendous amount of time, know-how, strategy and effort to develop the massive physiques that you see on bodybuilding magazines. It doesn’t just happen – and it definitely doesn’t happen overnight. I often remind clients that once they build a desired amount of muscle, they can simply stop progressing to heavier weights and the muscle gains will stop. Yes, it’s that simple.

But it’s not just about looking a certain way. Strength training:

  • Prevents, stops and reverses the muscle loss that we experience as we age.
  • Improves performance of everyday tasks (i.e., carrying the groceries) with increased strength.
  • Reduces the risk of injury.
  • Improves posture and balance.
  • Lowers the risk of diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer and more.
  • Burns calories and boosts your metabolism.

Strength training is a good thing for men and women. And if you’re not incorporating it into your workout, then you’re cutting your results short.


Break the glass wall that divides your gym. There’s cardio and strength training equipment in your gym for a reason: Any effective workout uses both.

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 do my yoga every morning when I wake up, then cardio at the gym before work, and then weights after work. I make minor adjustments to my routine every other week just to keep my body from reaching a plateau, and I’ve never felt better! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. DAVEY!!!!! You forgot the osteoporosis control on women with free weights, since it helps to improve the density and quality of bones

  3. Davey,

    I agree that it is easy to get into a routine of the exercises you enjoy or find easiest. I guess the advantage of a personal fitness coach is that you really can guide your client into a balanced program.

  4. Hi Mr Wavy
    First I’d like to congratulate you on producing a comprehensive guide on keeping fit. I’d like to respond to your article on cardio for men. I usually use bike, stepper and rowing machine, but I’m working in Rome at the moment and apart from running and very expensive gym membership – I don’t know what to do? I cannot run due to a head injury in my past. My balance was compromised. This is a huge shame because I’m staying on the edge of Borghese Gardens which is always full of serious runners. I walk as far as I can, some days – though even that on the Roman terrain is difficult.
    I’m here for another four months – any ideas?
    Stephen Thomas O’Malley.

  5. Dear Davey, you forgot one little reason why people [like me] don’t do cardio: it’s about TIME! As I work and study in university my time is very short, and I have to count every minute while working out and doing cardio I will have to cut off time to rest among the exercises and the repetitions.
    That’s why i don’t do cardio, and I think some people dont do it for same reason.

  6. christopher says:

    thats very true-men need cardio-either before or after circuit or weight training-im doing it before all else now-when i reach my goal-which is imminent-i will switch-up.men need cardio big time.when and after they reach their goal-they can continue their building process.it works-listen to DW-he knows what he is talking about.im listening-im following-and results are evolving.this is absolutetly true.

  7. Great blog, it is really true that men need cardio compared to weights etc. ive read some of the other comments and they complain about not having time but even if you take out one session of weight lifting and replace it with cardio thats good enough! Thanks for sharing.

  8. Vanessa says:

    Davey, thank you so much with this. I have no idea how many guys and gals I know that are patronized by this myth. Also, I’m really annoyed since people say I shouldn’t do strength workouts since I’m a girl. I’ll show them this next time someone makes a Hulk comment.

    Thank you once again, Davey!

  9. I’m a guy but I stay clear of weight training. I run and I go on the wii fit and focus on the yoga and muscle exercises that tone my waist and stomach. For some reason I want 0 muscles I just want to be really thin and toned.