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Is cardio doing me a disservice?

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Old 09-14-2009, 10:14 AM   #1
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Question Is cardio doing me a disservice?

Quote:
By Sasha
I am trying to put on muscle right now so too much cardio is detrimental.

I went to Weight and Resistance Training forum and found this statement.
Few months ago someone told me that you should not do too much cardio if you are trying to build muscle (what I am trying to do right now).
I do at least 1 hour/cardio and 1 hour weight lifting 6x/week (Iíve been doing it for over 1 1/2 years) and Iíve gained very little muscle during this time. One of the reasons I think it is because I need to increase my protein consumption and I started wonder if the amount of cardio I am doing is also harming my attempt of growing some muscle.
I am doing both because beside to build the muscle I also want to lose weight.
Can someone explain it to me please? Should I keep 1 hour cardio to my workout to build muscle or should I change my strategy?
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Old 09-14-2009, 10:33 AM   #2
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Thanks for asking this Belezura. I read that as well and was very confused. I recently started weight training and do a full body WT 3x per week. I do cardio 3x per week.
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Old 09-14-2009, 10:36 AM   #3
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Well hello

Muscle is very VERY difficult for a woman to build. If you put on 1-5lbs in one year, you are seriously rocking. Women who look "built" have usually been doing heavy weight training for around five years (less than that and they are genetically gifted).

The reason cardio is detrimental for me is because:

To build muscle, you need a surplus of calories over what you would need to maintain. You cannot build muscle at a calorie deficit.

A calorie defecit can help you shed bodyfat which will SHOW the muscle that you already have, but it will not ADD any muscle.

For example, a female my size needs around 1900 calorie per day to maintain, 1600 for fat loss, and around 2300 for muscle gain.

If I did an hour of cardio each day for 5 days in a week (400 calories burned per day), I would be at around a 2000 calorie deficit for the week. That's fine for fat loss, but not to gain muscle.

People use the terms "bulking" and "cutting" for building muscle. "Bulking" means you eat at a calorie surplus so that you build muscle (and yes, fat comes along with that too). Once they have built a decent amount of muscle, they then "cut" (basically, diet to lose the bodyfat).

So you have to choose - build muscle or lose fat. Both don't really coexist.

I should also add that my idea of "building muscle" may not be the same as yours. If you see my exercise log in the confessions post, my workouts generally consist of lifting, minimum, 60lbs-100lbs for an entire hour. I have been mantaining for five years and I am far beyond the fat loss stage.
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Old 09-14-2009, 10:37 AM   #4
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Good question.... I've been wondering the same thing. I'm interested to see the replies!!
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Old 09-14-2009, 10:41 AM   #5
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When I first started my weight loss journey, I also did a 3 day full body workout and around 3 days cardio. Weight training is essential for gaining strength and keeping your joints/bones healthy. You will find that consistent weight training will help improve your cardio (ie. less pain while running).
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Old 09-14-2009, 10:42 AM   #6
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No one needs to be doing cardio for one hour a day. Seriously. Do a good 20 minute High-Intensity Interval Training workout (you can google it) and you will done your body a world more good than plodding away at cardio for an hour. And if you're lifting an hour a day for 1.5 years, you should definitely see some muscle definition by now. The Body for Life program is an excellent program that will ensure you get enough lifting, cardio, and nutrition all in the right buckets. Check it out - and give yourself back 40 minutes a day!
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Old 09-14-2009, 11:01 AM   #7
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Thank you very much for the answers.
But now help me out here:
Did I understand it right?: I can’t lose weight and build muscle at the same time?
If I cut my cardio I’ll stop losing and I still have some more weight to lose till I get to my goal.
Should I lose the weight first and just after start to think about building muscle?
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Even if you want to be miserable today, it's better to be thin and miserable than fat and miserable.
Anyway you look at it, thin comes out ahead!"

from The Thin Commandments Diet book

March/08 142 * Aug/09 129 * Sept/09 123
Oct/09 121 * Nov/09 120 * Jan/10 - 132!!!
Just came from a vacation... Now I have to undo the damage
Feb/10 130 * March/10 125 * October/10 127

Last edited by belezura : 09-14-2009 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 09-14-2009, 11:04 AM   #8
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I second sportmom on the Body for Life suggestion - I do the intensity training suggested in there on the elliptical for 20 minutes - it's the best 20 min I have ever spent on exercising. I get a better workout than when I was just doing the elliptical at one or two levels for 40 mins.. and at the end of those 20 min (and it goes fast!) I know I did my body good.
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Old 09-14-2009, 11:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by belezura View Post
Thank you very much for the answers.
But now help me out here:
Did I understand it right?: I canít lose weight and build muscle at the same time?
If I cut my cardio Iíll stop losing and I still have some more weight to lose till I get to my goal.
Should I lose the weight first and just after start to think about building muscle?
I would so: No, you can't build muscle and lose weight at the same time.

The reason is that you need to burn more calories to lose weight, but consume more calories to build muscle. This is even more essential because you are female and it takes years to put on good quality muscle.

You need to pick a goal. At 125lbs and 5'4, I think you would benefit for more from weight training than cardio at this point. Cardio for one hour per day at your size is simply going to burn away at your muscle rather than any fat loss.

Fat loss is through being on key with your diet, not cardio (when you are 5'4 and 125lbs. If you were 300lbs, it would be a different story).

Time to hit the weights and reshape your body through muscle building!!! Don't be scared of the scale. Most "fit" women weigh a lot more than they look, because weight doesn't have the same meaning when you are building muscle.
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Old 09-14-2009, 11:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by belezura View Post
Thank you very much for the answers.
But now help me out here:
Did I understand it right?: I can’t lose weight and build muscle at the same time?
Yes, you can. For people who want to serious build muscle, like competitive weight lifters and body builders, they will sometimes cut cardio to build more. THis doesn't apply to you.
If I cut my cardio I’ll stop losing and I still have some more weight to lose till I get to my goal.
WRONG! If you do cardio the RIGHT way - you'll lose MORE. FASTER. ta-da!!!! That is the glorious gift of HIIT. ANd you can do it walking, running, walk/running, ellipticalling, anyway you want.
Should I lose the weight first and just after start to think about building muscle?
Oh God, no. That would be the worst mistake you could make!


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Last edited by sportmom : 09-14-2009 at 11:11 AM.
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Old 09-14-2009, 11:13 AM   #11
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I haven't read BFL but if it's a solid 3x per week full body program, I think that is really what you need at this point.

The whole building muscle/fat loss thing is a bit tricky at your stage - I think just getting used to the idea of strength training and being on a solid program (such as BFL or New Rules of Lifting for Women) is more important than worrying about the details.

Like I said, I have been weight training for years and I am looking into getting into competitive Olympic-style lifting, so I am a bit meticulous about the deatils of my training, which is around five years in progression. Start with the basics and you won't go wrong. Even I had a 10lb dumbbell, once up on a time :P
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Old 09-14-2009, 11:19 AM   #12
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The problem with female strength training (and strength training in general) is that there is so much myth & misinformation about the topic that it is difficult for someone to really understand what works and what doesn't (sounds like weight loss, eh?). Like weight loss, it is actually more simple than it appears. There's no tricks to it, there's no secret. Just a basic program (ie. basic fullbody program) is good enough to get any beginner on their way to better bone health and increased strength.

I'll show you my basic program:

Monday
Squat 5 reps x 3 sets
Bench Press 5 reps x 3 sets
Deadlift 1 rep x 5 sets
(yes, that's 35 reps in an entire day)

Wednesday
Squat 5 reps x 3 sets
Press 5 reps x 3 sets
Power Clean 5 reps x 3 sets

Friday
Squat 5 reps x 3 sets
Bench Press 5 reps x 3 sets
Deadlift 1 rep x 5 sets
(yes, that's 35 reps in an entire day)

.... SIMPLE! 3 Days! No workouts on 4 days of the week.
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Old 09-14-2009, 11:25 AM   #13
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Burn fat and build muscle....all you have to do is look to several forum members Meg and Mel being 2. Want another awesome example? Check out Pam Brown's story. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pcipAz_dwc
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Old 09-14-2009, 11:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
By Sasha
I'll show you my basic program:

Monday
Squat 5 reps x 3 sets
Bench Press 5 reps x 3 sets
Deadlift 1 rep x 5 sets
(yes, that's 35 reps in an entire day)

Wednesday
Squat 5 reps x 3 sets
Press 5 reps x 3 sets
Power Clean 5 reps x 3 sets

Friday
Squat 5 reps x 3 sets
Bench Press 5 reps x 3 sets
Deadlift 1 rep x 5 sets
(yes, that's 35 reps in an entire day)

.... SIMPLE! 3 Days! No workouts on 4 days of the week.
Sasha that sounds great!!!!
You don’t spend half of the time I spend at the gym...
Over 12 hours/week. It sucks!!! BTW I use HIIT for my daily one hour of cardio
I almost can’t believe it works...
I would die to see a pic of you...

But your program is like that now, right? or you do 3x week since the beginning?

I want to be like you when I grow up!!! LOL
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Even if you want to be miserable today, it's better to be thin and miserable than fat and miserable.
Anyway you look at it, thin comes out ahead!"

from The Thin Commandments Diet book

March/08 142 * Aug/09 129 * Sept/09 123
Oct/09 121 * Nov/09 120 * Jan/10 - 132!!!
Just came from a vacation... Now I have to undo the damage
Feb/10 130 * March/10 125 * October/10 127

Last edited by belezura : 09-14-2009 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 09-14-2009, 11:44 AM   #15
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I'm one that lost scale weight & body fat while increasing lean body mass.

When I first started weight lifting, my trainer measured my body fat % with calipers (9 point) and calculated my BF % and lean mass. Over the 18 + months I have worked with her, she has done it several more times and scale weight and body fat % went down while lean mass went up. There are some limitations to the 9 point caliper measurments, but I believe that my experience in losing weight (overall) and body fat while gaining lean mass reflects Meg's experience as well. I'll see if I can get a print out of my old statistics so I can share them.

The other pattern that I found interesting from my body fat/lean mass records is that I did lose lean mass when I was training for my half marathon (scale weight dropped a few pounds, and it was lean mass; body fat % went up a bit at that time). I do not fully understand the reasons that steady state cardio reduces muscle mass but I would speculate it has to do with metabolism and how your body processes it's nutrients---both the nutrients that you eat and the nutrients in your muscles, liver, etc.

I second the recommendation for HIIT. It works.

Nutrition is vital, of course.
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