Stan Efferding to Mike O’Hearn: Cardio May Not Be as Important as Level of Fitness

Benefits of cardio can vary depending on activity level.

Episode sweet 16 of The Mike O’Hearn Show aired on Generation Iron‘s YouTube channel on Sept. 23, 2022. For the rare occurrence in the series, the episode featured part two of an earlier interview in episode 10 with bodybuilder and powerlifter Stan Efferding.

Efferding and O’Hearn previously discussed the mindset regarding the body’s limits. The discussion delved into an understanding that the body is “regenerative, not degenerative,” which can influence how one goes about training and recovery. In episode 16, the duo went back and forth about cardio — how to use it, ways it’s abused, and more. Check it out below:

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People always get territorial about cardio.

Efferding prefaced that cardio has a variety of benefits that differ for sedentary versus active individuals. He nodded to cardiovascular benefits from an elevated heart rate for a longer period. The example of a bodybuilder inherently gets more cardio into their routines than powerlifters, as the former typically trains more frequently with higher volume.

Cardio may not be as important as the level of fitness or the level of strength.

Efferding suggests that those who meet expected metrics for VO2 max have better longevity than those who don’t, even if those who don’t perform more cardio.

Cardio isn’t necessarily a requirement.

When measuring health, measurable VO2 max is “best,” according to Efferding. While cardio may not be necessary, it has benefits, particularly impacting performance. For anyone who lifts weights, having better cardio will likely translate to being able to perform more volume during a lifting session, train more frequently, or potentially even recover faster.


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A post shared by Stan “Rhino” Efferding – CSCS (@stanefferding)

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If one were to perform cardio, the cardio itself isn’t why it might be worth the effort but the benefits derived from that effort. More simply, there is value in measuring or tracking cardio to see if there is any progression. Be sure to watch the entire interview to get all of Efferding’s insight on balancing cardio for benefits with fewer diminishing returns.

Featured image: @stanefferding on Instagram