Cardio per se is not the problem. In fact, cardio exercise may enhance muscle mass because it can reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), improve sleep quality, and increase one's tolerance for intense weight training. Cardiovascular exercise promotes blood vessel dilation, ideal for increased nutrient delivery to and waste products from muscle tissue--this is what may reduce DOMS. Sleep quality can be enhanced because the body will need restful sleep in order to recover from the energy expended during cardio. Weight training intensity may be increased when performed in conjunction with cardio because one's aerobic capacity may increase, allowing for lessened rest period durations between sets.
The real issue here is over-training and/or dieting. Over-training occurs when one performs physical activity at frequencies, intensities, and/or durations that overly taxes the body's ability to recover. Dieting in this context means caloric reduction. Over-training and/or dieting are not conducive for muscle anabolism (growth). Rather, muscle breaks down (catabolism) as the body resorts to its protein stores for much-needed energy.
So the key here is to perform cardio exercise in moderation and eat plenty of carbs and protein to spare muscle tissue. Moderation means three to five days per week at 65-85% MHR from 20 to 45 minutes. Recommendations for how much in the way of carbs and protein one should eat to preserve muscle mass can be found in the nutrition section of this blog.
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."
Brian Danley, CFT "Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going." 408-688-1586 (cell) briandanleyfitness.com https://www.linkedin.com/in/briandanleyfitness https://www.facebook.com/BrianDanleyFitness
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I'm a personal trainer who loves to help others fulfill their health and fitness goals. I consider myself a bodybuilder in that I live the lifestyle of eating healthy food, working out regularly, and sculpting my body.