Hi everyone, I just found this site and I really like it! Anyway, I have read a lot about how if you just do cardio you'll lose muscle. But, when I do something like the exercise bike I will be sore the next day. Would I still be losing muscle? I thought if you were sore it meant you were strengthening your muscle? I do little free weights on my arms to just try to keep toned and I'm not really concerned about gaining muscle, but I don't want to lose any, I just want to lose fat. So, I guess I'm wondering if anyone understands how that works because I know I'm not building any great muscle mass, but would I be losing muscle if I'm getting sore from it? And, are the little dumbells that are just 5 pounds enough to keep you from losing muscle mass? I mean for me those are heavy enough for my arms, I can be sore from that. I just don't really understand how it all works about losing weight and losing muscle as well as fat! :)
09-16-2006, 06:46 PM
Welcome to 3FC! We're glad you found us. :)
Let me try to answer your questions ... first of all, cardio doesn't necessarily burn muscle. What you've probably read is that TOO MUCH cardio will start to burn muscle when you run out of other fuel for energy. Your body will turn to muscle as an energy source when there isn't anything else left to power your workout. There isn't any specific time when this happens, but most experts agree that more than 60 minutes per cardio session starts to be risky (and is unnecessary for weight loss benefits).
If your cardio workouts are an hour or less, I don't think you're in danger of losing any muscle. :)
Second, muscle soreness doesn't have anything to do with whether you're building or losing muscle. You can't judge a workout by whether or not you're sore the next day -- the soreness has more to do with a lactic acid build-up than how much you've stressed your muscles.
Third, cardio - like riding your exercise bike - isn't muscle-building exercise. It's great for calorie burning, strengthening, and endurance, but won't build you any new muscle. In order to build muscle, you have to work with weights in order to stress your muscle fibers and build new muscle tissue.
Good for you for recognizing the importance of maintaining your muscle mass! Preserving and increasing your muscle will keep your metabolism running high and make you look tight and toned when you reach goal. :carrot: The best way to keep and build muscle is to start a full-body weight training program, not just for your arms. You'll want to do exercises with weights for all your muscle groups - biceps and triceps (fronts and backs of your arms), shoulders, back, chest, legs, and abs.
The amount of weight to use is going to vary from exercise to exercise and from muscle group to muscle group. The best way to figure out what the right weight is for YOU is to do a set with a certain weight, like your 5# dumbbells. If you can do 12- 15 reps and it's getting really tough or impossible to do any more, then it's the right weight for you. If you get to 15 reps and can keep going, the weight is too light for you and you need to go heavier. If you can't even make it to 12 reps, the weight is too heavy and you need to go ligher. Keep in mind that you'll need to continually adjust your weights as you progress and get stronger. :strong:
Protein is the building block of muscle building and repair, so be sure to get enough protein in your diet to support your muscle building workouts! Keep up your cardio, add some more weights, be sure your nutrition is good and you'll do fantastically!!
Hope this helps! :D
09-16-2006, 06:57 PM
If you are sore the next day from a cardio exercise, you are not necessarily building muscle; it just means that you have worked that muscle a lot, or in a new way. For example, after being off for a month (trip, plus shoulder injury), my thighs were really sore after the first cardio session- because they had become lazy.
Cardio doesn't necessarily use up muscle, although it does use protein to a small extent for fuel. Excessive cardio or endurance cardio, such as training for long distance runs, can use lean muscle mass. That's why endurance runners are always lean and trim (it also keeps them light for running).
Although your main goal is not to gain muscle, I would suggest adding a strength routine to your program. Muscle burns more calories just by being itself, than does fat, so the better the weight loss. If you lose just fat, you end up being the same shape and softness you were before. If you develop some muscle, you end up being thinner and more shapely, once the fat goes away.
The most important factor in losing weight is diet, diet, diet. You must be in a calorie deficit to lose fat, and you must eat appropriate foods. Exercise, cardio or strength, is a bonus.
You don't say what kind of lifting you do, but I am assuming higher repetitions with lighter weights. You are building endurance in your arms, not muscle. There really is no such thing as toning- you either build muscle, maintain muscle or lose muscle. I also believe in working the whole body, not just the limbs. Compound exercises, that work a number of muscle groups, keep your strength and development balanced and give you more co-ordination.
Many people do a balance of resistance and cardio, myself included. The cardio helps with the fat loss and cardio vascular development. The resistance exercises, with increasing weights, maintain or build muscle at the same time.