Cardio good or bad when you are trying to lose fat and build muscle?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 09, 2014 2:24 PM GMT
    I have been told by a friend that I do too much cardio. My routine at the gym is to run on the arc trainer for 30 min which burns 600+ calories and I keep my heart rate at 160-170. Then I spend 20-30 minutes on weights. Am I working against myself?
  • Chainers

    Posts: 375

    Mar 09, 2014 2:39 PM GMT
    What's your goal?

    Also, long term cardio isn't always the best for you. I sprint for 1-2 minutes get my heart rate really high, cool down for 1-2 minutes and repeat.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 09, 2014 2:57 PM GMT
    my goal is to lose 20 lbs of fat and build muscle. I've been told that too much cardio will start to burn muscle.
  • jo2hotbod

    Posts: 3603

    Mar 09, 2014 3:41 PM GMT
    You have to set a goal for one or the other because they are opposing goals, although you can still tone up while losing weight. First thing to do is do your cardio after working the weights, set your meals up so you eat smaller quantities throughout the day (6 meals) eat clean healthy foods maybe up the cardio to 45 if your overall gaol is to lose the weight. Once you drop the weight throttle back on the cardio and concentrate on the weights
  • Chainers

    Posts: 375

    Mar 09, 2014 3:43 PM GMT
    Alpha05 saidmy goal is to lose 20 lbs of fat and build muscle. I've been told that too much cardio will start to burn muscle.


    Pick one and proceed. Remember, bodybuilding is a marathon and not a sprint. Lose 20lbs, measure and weigh yourself weekly to make sure you are on track, then start bulking up.

    Thats my suggestion.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 09, 2014 3:48 PM GMT
    Well, it is not very easy to lose fat and build muscle at the same time, unless you are out of shape. Cardio is good for losing fat (and some muscle).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 09, 2014 7:24 PM GMT
    Those are opposing goals, unfortunately. You have to focus on one or the other. For instance, if you're mostly concerned with losing that 20 lbs of fat, keep doing the cardio and work your way down. When you reach that goal, ease up on the cardio, focus on lifting.

    Also, losing body fat is mostly diet. Cardio can help, but you can do 60 mins cardio sessions every day and STILL gain body fat if your diet is poor. I suggest using a calorie counting app on your smartphone for a week just to see how many calories you're actually getting. You'd be surprised. Most people who think they are "eating healthy" are actually not.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 09, 2014 8:15 PM GMT
    Alpha05 saidI have been told by a friend that I do too much cardio. My routine at the gym is to run on the arc trainer for 30 min which burns 600+ calories and I keep my heart rate at 160-170. Then I spend 20-30 minutes on weights. Am I working against myself?


    HIIT will provide the most fat loss, muscle preservation, and, more notably, will improve your cardiac performance and heart health in as few as 7 sessions...ever.

    Steady state cardio has the highest incidence of sudden death syndrome (suspected damage to the heart), catabolizes muscle, and, in the case of running, is high impact, and that can lead to joint issues.

    HIIT is best option of current sports science for improving fat loss, increasing exercise performance, preserving lean muscle, and promoting heart health.

    HIIT will allow you to train harder with weights, and will not impair any gains there, to any great degree. You didn't state your goal with weight training.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 09, 2014 8:19 PM GMT
    Ohno saidWell, it is not very easy to lose fat and build muscle at the same time, unless you are out of shape. Cardio is good for losing fat (and some muscle).


    I'm afraid to is a commonly held wrong belief by many. HIIT will preserve your muscle (less time), burn more fat (metabolic activation), and markedly improve your cardiac health, allowing your performance to improve across the board.

    You should consider HIIT part of ANY exercise program. It can be as simple as hockey, soccer, basketball, running lines, or intervals on the field or on the stairs, or ... even training bursts...say, doing a leg weight workout. (I'll take my heart rate to 190 doing legs, sometimes...and I'm 53, and, a triple bypass recipient. On those days, I have no need to do HIIT...I've already done it.).

    You can get super lean with as little as 8 minutes a day of HIIT.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 09, 2014 8:36 PM GMT
    bonaparts01 saidI am not an expert but I don't think so, with cardio you burn fat and when lifting weights you induce muscle growth, most important is your calorie intake during before and after workout
    It depends how much fat you have
    I hardly do cardio


    This is the wrong approach, for all the reasons already mentioned, but, specifically because it does not promote heart health.

    Muscle burns calories at rest, but...HIIT causes extreme metabolic activation through a not yet completely understood mechanism.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 09, 2014 8:38 PM GMT
    Alpha05 saidmy goal is to lose 20 lbs of fat and build muscle. I've been told that too much cardio will start to burn muscle.


    Too much steady state cardio, with adequate calories, will prefer muscle for fuel.

    HIIT will go for gylcogen, but, increase you're base metabolism and caloric efficiency.
  • buddycat

    Posts: 1874

    Mar 09, 2014 8:39 PM GMT
    I just lost 30 pounds while building some muscle in three months and that was mainly due to diet. I did cardio everyday, mostly on a stationary bike and walking with a little jogging and sprinting. It is simply counter-productive to eat whatever and trying to burn it off. Just don't eat it. I think that before you do any of this, you need to get your diet under control, first and for most.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 09, 2014 8:40 PM GMT
    thenes saidThose are opposing goals, unfortunately. You have to focus on one or the other. For instance, if you're mostly concerned with losing that 20 lbs of fat, keep doing the cardio and work your way down. When you reach that goal, ease up on the cardio, focus on lifting.

    Also, losing body fat is mostly diet. Cardio can help, but you can do 60 mins cardio sessions every day and STILL gain body fat if your diet is poor. I suggest using a calorie counting app on your smartphone for a week just to see how many calories you're actually getting. You'd be surprised. Most people who think they are "eating healthy" are actually not.


    As I lean out, to compete, I bring my calories UP, to sustain the heavy activity level.

    Many people stall their metabolism by inadequate calories. You have to fuel the furnace. Your body gets a famine syndrome when you fail to eat. You've seen the results in pictures of skinny-fat gay guys, and kids in Ethiopia.

    To maintain performance, calories are crucial.

    That being said, adequate calories, of the right kind, often.
  • buddycat

    Posts: 1874

    Mar 09, 2014 9:15 PM GMT
    Fortunately from what I have been told, muscle burns calories constantly so build muscle helps. I think to build those muscles you need a protein source. I found the last meal of the day to be the most important as far as weight loss. I have taken that in stages depending what results I was seeing. When weight loss stalls I was reduced to a protein source like fat free string cheese or hummus along with salad, celery, and or fruits like apples and bananas that naturally suppress appetite.
  • fitartistsf

    Posts: 638

    Mar 10, 2014 7:01 AM GMT
    You ARE working against yourself...
    Cut back on the cardio... Cardio does burn up the fat, but then starts to burn muscle, counterproductive to what you want to do... Ever notice a bicycle racer or a distance runner with any appreciable amount of muscle size??? No. They can't gain muscle size, because they burn it off with all that cardio... Cut your cardio to about 3 times a week, for 30 minutes. Just concern yourself with bulking up for a period of time, eat right, supplement if you need to, then after you have gained some size, increase the cardio, adjust your diet, cut back on the amount of weight lifted per rep/increase your reps, increasing your metabolism, which will then be more for fat burning/toning...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 10, 2014 8:11 AM GMT
    fitartistsf saidYou ARE working against yourself...
    Cut back on the cardio... Cardio does burn up the fat, but then starts to burn muscle, counterproductive to what you want to do... Ever notice a bicycle racer or a distance runner with any appreciable amount of muscle size??? No. They can't gain muscle size, because they burn it off with all that cardio... Cut your cardio to about 3 times a week, for 30 minutes. Just concern yourself with bulking up for a period of time, eat right, supplement if you need to, then after you have gained some size, increase the cardio, adjust your diet, cut back on the amount of weight lifted per rep/increase your reps, increasing your metabolism, which will then be more for fat burning/toning...


    Malarkey.

    Look at their legs.

    They don't work their arms at the same rate.

    Keep up the cardio, but, switch to 8 to 20 minutes, HIIT, and keep the calories at the same level or bring them up. Study HIIT, and how to go about it.

    I had my biggest legs (28 inches at 5'5") when I rode my bike 40 miles a day and trained with weights.

    To the OP here: study up on sarcoplasmic vs muscular hypertrophy. The advice quoted here is WRONG.

    Cardio, especially HIIT, is an essential part of heart health, and any sports performance regimen.

    Bikers of long distance just burn a lot of calories (about 600-800) per hour, or more, and often don't eat enough to support their work load. There's a trade off between being lighter, and being stronger, and able to develop more power. 2/3 of your lean mass is in your legs.

    For the OP here: don't walk away from what will advance your performance and your health.

    Competing bodybuilders will push down 8500 calories per day, and do cardio, often for a hour each day. They certainly aren't lacking of muscle.

    More activity means the need for more calories. It's that very simple.

    HIIT has a long list of advantages over steady state cardio. You can study that, too.
  • buddycat

    Posts: 1874

    Mar 10, 2014 8:50 AM GMT
    That is true; runners, bicyclists, and even speed skaters have strong legs and smaller arms. I guess it just depends on what your goals are? How much calories and what kind of calories depends on what you are doing? I don't even want to go there on calories, I love to eat. I can woof down a couple rib sandwiches at 1200 calories and 100 grams of fat then have some cake and chips. Guess it depends on your goals. I dropped 30 pounds and yes I did cardio, like twice a day sometimes and had to really change my diet.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 10, 2014 10:08 AM GMT
    it will become a problem if you don't eat enough carbohydrates for energy purposes and consume enough protein to build muscle. That is when the cardio will start to eat into your muscle. I do cardio after weight training which allows all my energy to be used in building muscle and then do cardio at the end.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 10, 2014 12:42 PM GMT
    Wow this is a great thread...I myself have been burning 300 on the treadmill then lifting and running! I think I need to figure out whats most important and take it one goal at a time. This was very very helpful! icon_biggrin.gif

    Thanks guys
  • buddycat

    Posts: 1874

    Mar 12, 2014 8:27 AM GMT
    Yes this is a good thread about calorie types and what exercise you do. I was never one to watch my carbs but was told about them and started cutting them down to increase weight loss. I didn't think that I would need them when doing cardio. There are certainly foods with some carbs that are still good to eat like stuff with rice or noodles. I do eat carbs, just not after a certain hour. Don't you have to weight so many hours after you eat before you are burning that food?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 17, 2014 6:17 AM GMT
    Um, cardio does NOT burn muscle - unless you are over-training (running marathons) everyday, you weigh 90lbs or if your nutrition sucks -- in which case, the problem is your nutrition, not the cardio.

    The caveat to your plan is doing your cardio immediately before your strength training. You want to spend your energy on one workout, not both. If you do cardio before, you will be too fatigued to do your strength training after - especially if you're looking to gain muscle, in which you need to PUSH your energy expenditure and doing that on a low/depleted supply won't be nearly as effective.

    Ideally, you should wait at least 4-6 hours in between your cardio/strength workouts to get the full effect out of both. You can either do them on separate days or do one in the morning and one at night. If it's unavoidable or inconvenient, I'd recommend doing strength workouts first, resting in between and then doing your cardio - which will suffer but as long as you're doing over 20 minutes at a reasonable intensity, you'll be burning calories.

    If neither option is preferable, look into Crossfit - although I can't speak on much of it myself.

    *Edit* Another thing to be mindful of is the fact that muscle weighs more than fat - this can be confusing/frustrating to a lot of people looking to gain muscle mass and shed fat. Don't live by the number on your scale; put it into context.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 17, 2014 7:03 AM GMT
    Argh I want to reply so bad but I'm not getting paid for this lol

    This topic comes up all the time. I wrote this in 2009 from my old account

    QUOTE Jan 15, 2009 11:10 PM
    YES.. aerobic/cardio/oxidative promotes fat storage and release of insulin/glucocorticoids.

    glucocorticoids-inhibits or retards amino acid incorporation into proteins,maintains normal blood sugar level, conserves glucose and promotes fat storage.

    You want to train in the glycogen-anaerboic and anaerobic atp-cp energy systems.
    This is why cardio freaks never lose fat ,yes they do lose weight from water and muscle but not from fat.
    Muscle consumes the most amount of calories therefore the body goes after them first when doing cardio/oxidative workouts.

    atp-cp/anaerobic lasts about 10 seconds then the glycogen/anaerobic system kicks in and lasts about 30-50 secs.

    same concept for doing high reps low weight to get ripped. (also a myth!!!) cause it will work you into the glycogen/aerobic system which is greater than 2 mins of time.

    I've been talking about this for quite sometime on here but people still insist that ''cardio'' burns fat ..again which is a myth



    hope this helps



  • buddycat

    Posts: 1874

    Mar 21, 2014 5:00 AM GMT
    I dropped 30 pounds in three months and can tell you weight loss is 95% diet. Just make sure you get your protein.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 21, 2014 7:33 AM GMT
    It's perfectly fine to do cardio as long as you are getting enough carbohydrates to supplement it with your weight training. Proteins are a great source of energy when your body is low on ATP - that's why you see emaciated people or people with chronic starvation with low muscle tone, because proteases digest your myocytes when you run out of glucose through a process called gluconeogensis, which basically uses amino acids, the nitrogenous compounds that build polypeptide chains we call proteins, as a source of energy. You start realizing that your body is using proteins a lot for energy when your urine is thick, because of the nitrogen that is contained in amino acids, which also explains why weight lifters need to drink so much water because it is hard on the kidneys. You should do cardio along with lifting because it helps to build cardiac muscle and it helps to reduce blood pressure by making your heart more efficient in respiration. Cardio can help to increase your muscle tone by reducing the amount of fat in your body, like making your abs more defined, but you really just have to balance it with your weight lifting. Eat more: the RDA for carbs is 45-65% of your diet, protein is 10-35%, and fats are 20-35%. The American Athletic Association recommends an amount of protein in grams relative to 1.2-1.7 times your weight in kilos. Take your weight in LBs divided by 2.2 to get kilos and multiply by the factor.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 21, 2014 4:37 PM GMT
    Because lifting and cardio work in opposition to each other perhaps it's best to perform them at least eight hours apart, with cardio preferably in the a.m.