Does Aerobics Make You Lose Muscle?

April 22, 2011 by · Comments Off on Does Aerobics Make You Lose Muscle?
Filed under: Articles, Blog 

Yes, it’s true. It’s a scientifically proven fact that muscle proteins are broken down and used for energy during aerobic exercise. However, you are constantly breaking down and re-building muscle tissue anyway. This process is called “protein turnover.” Your body is constantly alternating back and forth between anabolic (building) and catabolic (breaking down) cycles. That’s just a normal part of life. Your goal is simply to tip the scales slightly in favor of increasing the anabolic side and reducing the catabolic side just enough so you stay anabolic and you gain muscle (or at least maintain it).

This fact of human physiology has often been taken out of context and used to scare people into not doing cardiovascular exercise for fear of losing muscle. When you fast overnight as you sleep, you lose muscle too, but that doesn’t mean you should stop sleeping!

Sure, it’s possible for you to lose muscle from doing too much cardio, but it’s highly unlikely. Shying away from cardio completely because you think you’ll lose muscle is a huge mistake. Only excessive amounts of cardio would cause you to lose muscle. Extreme amounts of aerobic work, such as the type of training done by competitive endurance athletes, could be considered over-training. Over-training tips the scale towards the catabolic side. Just look at the slight, wiry physiques of any distance runner or triathlete if you need proof of that. It’s difficult to generalize and pinpoint one specific amount as too much, but a safe maximum guideline would be 45 -60 minutes of cardio a day, 6 to 7 days a week. Within these limits, you shouldn’t worry about losing any muscle – as long as the proper nutritional support is provided. Beyond 60 minutes a day, you hit a point of diminishing returns and you may increase the chance of injury, over-training and muscle loss.

Trainer John Parillo has always been an advocate of lots of aerobics, even for his bodybuilder clients who are trying to gain muscle mass.

“Aerobics can enhance your recovery from weight training by promoting blood flow and oxygen transport to your muscles,” says Parillo. “Aerobics forces oxygen through your body, increasing the number and size of your blood vessels. Blood vessels are the ‘supply routes’ that transport oxygen and nutrients to body tissues, including muscles, and carry waste products away for muscular growth, repair and recovery. The expansion of this circulatory network is called ‘cardiovascular density.'”

So, according to Parillo, aerobics can actually enhance recovery from weight training and increase muscular growth by developing the circulatory pathways that provide nourishment to the muscles. Cardiovascular training is important for good health, for fat burning, and for muscle-building.

Losing muscle has more to do with inadequate diet than with excessive aerobics. If you suspect you are losing muscle there are four likely causes:

You are not eating enough protein. Protein is the only nutrient that can be used to build muscle. To stay on the anabolic side you must eat five to six protein containing meals every day. Each meal should be spaced out approximately three hours apart. Research has proven that if you are physically active, you need a minimum of .8 grams to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Bodybuilders may need even more. Your carbohydrates are too low. Low carb diets are often used for fat loss, but it is a mistake to cut your carbs too drastically. Carbohydrates are protein-sparing, so even if you are eating large amounts of protein, you can still lose muscle if your carbs are too low. You are not eating enough calories to support muscle growth. This is actually the most probable cause of muscle loss. When your calories are too low, your body goes into “starvation mode.” Your metabolism slows down and your body actually burns muscle tissue to conserve energy. Muscle is metabolically active tissue, requiring a great deal of caloric energy just to maintain it. That’s why your body will shed muscle if it thinks you are starving. You are not training with weights. It is a common misconception that if you want to lose weight, you should start with cardio only and add the weighs later – another big mistake! The weight training helps keep you from losing muscle while you are dieting.

You are much more likely to lose muscle from not eating enough than you are from doing too much cardio. All too often, people are afraid to eat a lot and do a lot of cardio at the same time. It doesn’t seem to make sense. Logically, it appears that the two would cancel each other out, but the opposite is true. Many people believe they must “starve” the fat by drastically lowering calories. Unfortunately, this approach can cause you to lose muscle along with the fat. The only way to maintain your lean mass while losing fat is to feed the muscles with plenty of protein and nutritious calories while at the same time, burning the fat off with lots of cardio.

Whether your goal is muscle development, fat loss or both, you should always include some form of cardiovascular activity as part of your training program. Unless you’re talking about some kind of ultra-endurance regimen, AEROBICS WILL NOT CAUSE MUSCLE LOSS. In fact, aerobics supports the pathways that help you build muscle!

Lori Victoria Braun


October 11, 2010 by · Comments Off on FITNESS PROGRAM
Filed under: Articles, Fitness, Fitness Date Club 
Author: treena
There are many different fitness and health programs available these days, all with a promise of the best results and perfect outcome for you. But, hold on, there is no one single plan that can work miracles with an all fits one and one fits for all. Each and every single individual has a different need and lifestyle. So therefore, one program does not suit all individuals. All fitness programs have their perks and negative sides. It is up to the individual to decide which routine works best for you. Pick a workout program that you will enjoy, so that you will not quit from exhaustion, burnout or boredom. Just because something works for another person, does not mean it will for you. There are a few that are quite popular such as pilates, which is based upon developing and improving body posture and flexibility of movement, using the resistance of springs. Pilates can be practiced by using specially designed equipment or performing routines based on the pilates system, simply on a mat. There is also the step fitness program. Step is quite simply a form of aerobic exercise involving stepping on and off a step, often to the beat of music. Videos or dvd’s can be purchased to use in the home, or if you prefer, you can go to your local gym and enroll in classes. And last, but definitely not the least is aerobics fitness programs, which is in numerous different formats but rather involves lots of  different motions of the arms, leg raises, kicks, stretching, bending and lunging to music as well. This is usually more fun and entertaining with groups of people or with a few friends or family. Join a gym or fitness club and surround yourself with others who have the same goals or interest. That way, you will find that you are more likely to stick to it, and accomplish your fitness goals… Have fun and good luck!

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