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The scale is going the right direction! Fat loss VS lean muscle loss is at it again…

Steve February 8, 2013

There is more than one way to burn muscle over fat but I want to touch on cardio today.  

For the sake of time I will touch on three ways that cardio typically cancels out lean muscle.  

1: Too much cardio. 

    Too much cardio can have a negative effect on your metabolism the same way that eating too few calories can.  Remember that by nature the human body will adapt.


2: Not enough rest in-between cardio Training. 

    Off days help prevent over-training.  Your body repairs and strengthens itself between your workouts.  Without time to repair and rebuild, lean muscle tissue will continue to break down!


3: Cardio on an empty stomach.

    After a night of sleep, your body is already in a catabolic state.  Cardio first thing in the morning is problematic due to the lack of protein after you sleep and an empty stomach.  Cardio can cause your body to burn lean muscle.

Cardio on an empty stomach will very from person to person however cannot be done long term for the simple fact that the body WILL adapt.  Fitness does not have a finish line but your lifestyle will take you where you want to go.



2 Responses to “The scale is going the right direction! Fat loss VS lean muscle loss is at it again…”

  1. Dave M says:

    What is the definition of too much cardio, are you refering to duration or exertion? If you are only doing 15 minutes of cardio per workout day but at 90% of your max heart rate, is that too much? Or is an hour per workout day at a 65% rate too much? And what type of rest between cardio events are you refering to? Most training programs, say to run a half or full marathon, involve running almost every day, and taking off a day or two during the week, is that acceptable? Thanks for the response.

  2. Great question. Just as most everything else, exercise conditions and reactions to the body vary for each individual. Too much cardio is simply an amount that compromises recovery, such that significant amounts of muscle are burned to meet the demands. The demand coming from the nutrient balance consumed; once the nutrients (energy stores) are depleted, the muscles become effected.
    Provided your nutrition practices are adequate, daily cardiovascular respiratory exercises are not to be shied away from, nor intense training. 30 to 45 minutes at an average 55% to 65% max HR consistently (again this will vary on the individual) will satisfy the needs to increase the heart and lungs while burning the extra calories desired. However, ideally a 20 to 30 minute duration of Interval Training would meet more demand to the cardio benefits (insert peaks of strong bursts for short intervals throughout). Here’s a more accurate statement: Too much poor implementation of cardio, especially when combined with improper nutrition practices, can promote the burning of muscle for fuel.
    You will know when you’ve had too much cardiovascular activity as you begin to feel sluggish, fatigued, and drained. Feel and Listen to your body.