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The 3 Biggest Mistakes You Make When Starting Cardio

If you’re still not doing any cardio, you need to start.

Yes, I was one of those guys who thought doing cardio would stop me from building muscle, but I was completely wrong.

Cardiovascular training will increase your work capacity, therefore you’ll be able to handle a higher training volume when lifting. This leads to more muscle and strength being built.

Now I love my conditioning as it transfers into performance benefits in every aspect of my life, in particular on the Jiu jitsu mats.

Here are the 3 main mistakes I see people making when starting their cardio – even the veterans.

Switching It Up 

This is the most common mistake I see everyone make, and a lot of personal trainers too! 

You need to stick to the same sessions for a significant amount of time to get fitter. 

If you keep switching sessions you never know whether you’re improving or not. 

Which quite often is deliberate so you can hide away from being held accountable to your times.

Stick To One Machine 

When starting your cardio stick to one piece of equipment. Rower, assault bike or ski erg and if you’re lighter and can run properly. Definitely running is fantastic.

Pick one that you can train with high volume without getting injured. The rower, assault bike and ski erg are great as they’re all low impact on joints. 

Stick to one for at least 12 weeks. It takes time to adapt to the movement and get real benefit from it and know how hard you can push.

Eating Too Little Calories 

A lot of people will say when they start adding cardio into their training their strength drops. The reason for this is because you’re not fuelling your body properly for the increased output from cardio. 

Hard conditioning burns a large number of calories and can be taxing on the nervous system.

This requires extra carbohydrates. I would add an extra 300 -400 calories from carbs on days you are performing your conditioning.

If you are eating properly your strength will increase not drop with the increased cardiovascular and recovery capabilities.


Pick one type of cardio and stick to it for 12 weeks. Running, ski erg, rower or assault bike 

Stick to the same sessions for at least 6 weeks so you can measure progression 

Make sure you’re eating enough calories to fuel your sessions so you can recover adequately, otherwise you’ll drop strength.

If eating enough high quality food cardio will help your performance in the weights room 

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