Does Cardio Burn Muscle?
Its a well known fact that doing cardio everyday is the most important thing you can do for your health but lets assume you don’t care about your health, lets talk about gaining muscle. I know you are used to hearing that “cardio burns muscle” but I’m going to show you why that’s wrong. Cardio does NOT hurt your ability to gain muscle at all and it might even HELP you to ADD muscle mass.
The reason that cardio has gotten a bad reputation for burning muscle is that most often, people couple drastic diets with cardio in their effort to “cut” after “bulking”. Its the drastic caloric reduction that is responsible for the muscle loss, not the cardio! If you don’t consume enough protein and enough calories, your body will cannibalize your muscles – a good safe limit is not to reduce your calories by more than 20% below your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure), to find a muscle-safe caloric intake for dieting please use calorie calculator. Proper nutrition while dieting is key to insuring you don’t lose muscle mass. You can lose weight with an all-twinkie diet but you will lose lots of muscle at the same time!
So cardio doesn’t burn muscle, but how might it help you GAIN muscle? – Lets look at THREE ways:
- DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) is a common result of intense workouts and doing 20-30min of daily cardio increases circulation and the increased nutrient flow by the muscle helps the muscles rebuild faster.
- Not every workout plan has 5 minutes rest between sets, some workouts you will need to do to build mass are very taxing to your cardiovascular system. If you don’t constantly work to keep your cardiovascular system running at peak performance there are workouts you just wont be able to do with sufficient intensity to gain mass.
- There are intense weight workouts that double as cardio workouts and these go by several names - hybrid workouts, complexes, etc – and they all have one thing in common, they take compound weightlifting exercises and do them repeatedly for cardio – often as intervals. These hybrid workouts can build muscle and give you a cardio workout at the same time!
Cardio does not burn muscle mass, crash diets and bad nutrition burn muscle mass! 20-40min cardio every day is not only good for your health but it can help you add muscle as well.