Once you have set your fitness goals, you need to track your progress with ZOZOFIT to know whether you are achieving them. If your goals involve building muscle mass, you may be reluctant to incorporate cardio into your workout routine because you might have heard that it can impede your gains. Does cardio burn muscle? The truth is more complex than you may realize.
Does Cardio Burn Muscle?
Is it true that people who invest most of their time and energy in endurance training tend to have less muscle mass? Yes; you can see that long-distance runners tend to be lean. Does that mean that cardio burns muscles? No; by itself, cardio does not burn muscle. In fact, in some instances, cardio can help to build muscle.
Situations in Which Cardio May Contribute to Decreased Muscle Size and Strength
If you are trying to improve your overall physical health, you might opt to eat a low-calorie diet. If you then do intense cardio workouts, you could be burning more calories than you are putting back into your body. If you do not properly fuel your body, the energy has to come from somewhere and, as a result, you may start seeing a reduction in muscle mass as the body starts breaking down protein. However, this does not mean that cardio is unhealthy for your muscles; it means that you need to eat healthy food to replenish the calories that you are losing.
There is also evidence to suggest that focusing on aerobic exercise to the exclusion of resistance training, or doing an aerobic workout for too long, may affect your muscle mass.
Does cardio burn muscle? No, but some types of aerobic exercise may be better for maintaining strength than others. For example, cycling is a low-impact workout that does less damage to the muscles than running.
Ways in Which Cardio May Help Build Muscle
If you are striking the right balance between cardio and resistance training and eating enough healthy food to fuel your body properly, cardio workouts can actually help build muscle. For example, cardio may improve insulin sensitivity, which helps your body use amino acids and carbohydrates more efficiently.
Your bloodstream carries hormones such as insulin, as well as oxygen and nutrients, throughout your body. Your capillaries are the blood vessels that deliver your blood to the various organs and tissues of your body. Your muscles need oxygen and nutrients to recover after intense activity.
Aerobic exercise actually helps increase capillaries in your muscles. As a result, the bloodstream can deliver more oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, which helps to heal the damage done by lifting weights. This reinforces the hypothesis that a balance between cardio and resistance training is most efficient at increasing and maintaining muscle gains.