T Nation

Cardio and Muscle Loss

What are all of your thoughts on cardio and catabolism?

I know running long distances is associated with muscle loss, but what about walking? I know alot of marathon runners don’t look very lean at all, especially for being that light…but I heard Dorian yates did a lot of walking on his non weightlifting days.

What are you thoughts on sprints/intervals vs medium intensity?

Just want to get some more input on the subject:)

Thanks guys

If I do cardio it’s in high interval sessions like sprints. Look at a sprinter’s body .vs. a long distance runners body. There is a lot of research to be done on the subject. Hit the search on this site and I’m sure you will find a lot on the subject.

Gerdy

I avoided it for a long time.

But then I hurt my back and started walking every day. I also walk more because I got a couple dogs. I am convinced it’s good for my overall health, certainly doesn’t eat away muscle, and helps burn some fat.

And for the last 6 months I have been doing some cardio, moderate hiking for an hour 3X per week. Lo and behold, I have lost fat, have not lost any muscle (have actually gained a bit), am in much better condition, don’t get as much DOMS after lifting, improved my work capacity, and recover faster.

Sometimes I do longer day hikes, and I have not lost muscle with these either, probably because I eat like mad the whole time.

My experiment with HIIT during fat loss phase didn’t go so well. I lost LBM. Maybe I need Surge/carbs after sessions. The same thing happened to a friend of mine. So that was interesting.

Dave Tate’s training logs in 2007 are interesting in terms of the cardio he now does, hating it all the while. He wasn’t able to get his blood pressure down without the cardio. If I remember correctly, Justin Harris had him doing some cardio even during mass gaining phase (maybe for the BP).

I prefer HIIT with BCAA’s taken periworkout.

It is about what you are eating and whether or not your lifting hard and heavy enough to hold onto your muscle.

[quote]kinein wrote:
It is about what you are eating and whether or not your lifting hard and heavy enough to hold onto your muscle. [/quote]

Agreed.

It all depends on your goals. Are you doing cardio to burn fat or just general health?

I’m doing cardio to burn fat mainly…and the added health benefits are good too.

I really like walking and biking, and I’ve beeing doing them every other day or so. So I think I’m going to keep doing them in moderation and see how my gains do.

Thanks for your input on the subject guys;)

Later

I like to crank the incline up to 10.0-12.0 and set the speed at 3.5-4.0 and go for about 20-30 mins 3x a week.

[quote]plutusplutus wrote:
I like to crank the incline up to 10.0-12.0 and set the speed at 3.5-4.0 and go for about 20-30 mins 3x a week.[/quote]

This is about what I’m doing right now. I didn’t do it for a long time but when fat loss stopped, I started. Fat loss has picked up again.

I would avoid HIIT during a fat loss cycle. I don’t think you can recover optimally and end up losing muscle this way. During a gaining phase, HIIT is the way to go.

cueball

I think HIIT is fine during a fat loss cycle and actually the most effective. But it does have to be minimized. It is hard to recover on a caloric deficit when you are training hard and add too much HIIT. I recommend 1 session of HIIT a week on a diet. If additional cardio is necessary for fat loss or desired, make that lower intensity.

[quote]Dirty Gerdy wrote:
If I do cardio it’s in high interval sessions like sprints. Look at a sprinter’s body .vs. a long distance runners body. There is a lot of research to be done on the subject. Hit the search on this site and I’m sure you will find a lot on the subject.

Gerdy[/quote]

Most distance runners, especially good ones, have very little actual fat on their bodies. [Plodders who run at 8 minute mile pace and don’t have their nutrition in gear are a different story]. But top runners tend to have little fat. They just also have little muscle. In most cases, if they magically added 30 lbs of lean mass in an instant, their bodyfat PERCENTAGE would be as low or lower than a sprinters.

Excessive distance running does NOT promote fat gain. In any way. It’s just very catabolic and not good for body composition.It is also hard to eat enough to fuel energy demands to retain muscle when you are burning those kind of calories. That’s a big part of the problem.

Cueball, can you give a few more details on what you just said regarding HIIT during gaining. Do you mean as a means of maintaining leanness, kind of in the same vein as what many do with low intensity stuff during gaining (for instance, Berardi recommends 15 min low intensity after lifting and 30 min on off days to aid in nutrient uptake and recovery, plus lots do some incline walking 3-4 days/week to try to keep the fat off w/ the trigyceride-specific burning)?

I’d be curious as to your recommendations and how you came about them. (I only ask because i’ve been doing some pre-breakfast low intensity cardio for the reasons mentioned above).

cheers,

ICS

[quote]jsbrook wrote:
I think HIIT is fine during a fat loss cycle and actually the most effective. But it does have to be minimized. It is hard to recover on a caloric deficit when you are training hard and add too much HIIT. I recommend 1 session of HIIT a week on a diet. If additional cardio is necessary for fat loss or desired, make that lower intensity.[/quote]

Agree. Recovery from HIIT takes away from lifting.

I’ve actually gained lbm since adding intervals into my program.

[quote]evansmi wrote:
I’ve actually gained lbm since adding intervals into my program.[/quote]

What are you doing?

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
evansmi wrote:
I’ve actually gained lbm since adding intervals into my program.

What are you doing?[/quote]

4 day upper lower powerlifting split

PT (push ups sit ups and other bodyweight stuff) in the am

running (distance, time, intervals, whatever i feel up for) in the pm

low carb diet where the only carbs come in during breakfast and pre and post lifting, I think around 2700 calories per day

HRX, ZMA, and BCAA’s

according to bodyfat% tracked with tape measurements:
lost 9 lbs of fat and gained 6 lbs of lbm

[quote]jsbrook wrote:
Dirty Gerdy wrote:
If I do cardio it’s in high interval sessions like sprints. Look at a sprinter’s body .vs. a long distance runners body. There is a lot of research to be done on the subject. Hit the search on this site and I’m sure you will find a lot on the subject.

Gerdy

Most distance runners, especially good ones, have very little actual fat on their bodies. [Plodders who run at 8 minute mile pace and don’t have their nutrition in gear are a different story]. But top runners tend to have little fat. They just also have little muscle. In most cases, if they magically added 30 lbs of lean mass in an instant, their bodyfat PERCENTAGE would be as low or lower than a sprinters.

Excessive distance running does NOT promote fat gain. In any way. It’s just very catabolic and not good for body composition.It is also hard to eat enough to fuel energy demands to retain muscle when you are burning those kind of calories. That’s a big part of the problem.[/quote]

Oh I didn’t mean to imply that long distance runners were not lean. I was trying to say that if you perform cardio at high interval sessions like sprinting instead of one long drawn out cardio session like running 5k that you can burn fat and keep more muscle. So when trying to build muscle and stay lean(er) I’d prefer the sprinting type of cardio.

If one were running long distance their trying to put on muscle would be halted. They would still be burning fat tho. The sprinter .vs. long distance runner analogy was just showing that while both are lean, most sprinters carry more muscle especially in the legs than long distance runners who are lean, yet lack size, most are very skinny.

So like you said about long distance runners gaining 30lbs. Take the same person and split them up in two dimensions. lol Train one with long distance running and the other sprinting. The sprinter is lean yet carries more muscle and the long distance runner probably looks like the sprinter with 30lbs less muscle. Hopefully I’m getting across what I’m trying to. lol Messages can be misleading at times. Sorry for the mishap.

Gerdy

[quote]evansmi wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
evansmi wrote:
I’ve actually gained lbm since adding intervals into my program.

What are you doing?

4 day upper lower powerlifting split

PT (push ups sit ups and other bodyweight stuff) in the am

running (distance, time, intervals, whatever i feel up for) in the pm

low carb diet where the only carbs come in during breakfast and pre and post lifting, I think around 2700 calories per day

HRX, ZMA, and BCAA’s

according to bodyfat% tracked with tape measurements:
lost 9 lbs of fat and gained 6 lbs of lbm[/quote]

Good work.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:

Good work.[/quote]

thanks, i’ve got a long way to go but once i hit single digits i’ll post somethin in the P&P forum

[quote]Dirty Gerdy wrote:
jsbrook wrote:
Dirty Gerdy wrote:
If I do cardio it’s in high interval sessions like sprints. Look at a sprinter’s body .vs. a long distance runners body. There is a lot of research to be done on the subject. Hit the search on this site and I’m sure you will find a lot on the subject.

Gerdy

Most distance runners, especially good ones, have very little actual fat on their bodies. [Plodders who run at 8 minute mile pace and don’t have their nutrition in gear are a different story]. But top runners tend to have little fat. They just also have little muscle. In most cases, if they magically added 30 lbs of lean mass in an instant, their bodyfat PERCENTAGE would be as low or lower than a sprinters.

Excessive distance running does NOT promote fat gain. In any way. It’s just very catabolic and not good for body composition.It is also hard to eat enough to fuel energy demands to retain muscle when you are burning those kind of calories. That’s a big part of the problem.

Oh I didn’t mean to imply that long distance runners were not lean. I was trying to say that if you perform cardio at high interval sessions like sprinting instead of one long drawn out cardio session like running 5k that you can burn fat and keep more muscle. So when trying to build muscle and stay lean(er) I’d prefer the sprinting type of cardio.

If one were running long distance their trying to put on muscle would be halted. They would still be burning fat tho. The sprinter .vs. long distance runner analogy was just showing that while both are lean, most sprinters carry more muscle especially in the legs than long distance runners who are lean, yet lack size, most are very skinny.

So like you said about long distance runners gaining 30lbs. Take the same person and split them up in two dimensions. lol Train one with long distance running and the other sprinting. The sprinter is lean yet carries more muscle and the long distance runner probably looks like the sprinter with 30lbs less muscle. Hopefully I’m getting across what I’m trying to. lol Messages can be misleading at times. Sorry for the mishap.

Gerdy
[/quote]

Boy, if I had more time on here to set all you Newbs straight on things. It’s like the blind leading the blind on this forum!

In BB cardio is done strickly for weight loss, with the focus on burning calories, more specifically fat, without forcing the body to remodel itself to perform the fuction of your training more efficiently - which means muscle catabolism. So you can throw out sprints, HITT, and running.

The only thing that will achieve fat loss with minimal, or no muscle loss, is doing cardio at medium to medium high intensity. Keeping your HR in the target zone (120-130 BPM for most) and not performing any explosive activities.

You want to utilize chiefly your red muscle tissue which is equiped to deal with oxygen, which is the only way to metabolize fat (Kreb cycle)

Explosions= White muscle or fast twitch muscle, which deal with anerobic glycolysis. Basically they burn the sugar stored in the muscle tissues.

Tapping into actually buring your stores of bodyfat is what you want to do, and the only way to do that is the cardio method I laided out.

My favorite means is via elyptical trainer, as it provides a smooth motion, that is easy to perform, gentle on the joints, yet burns a lot of calories for the time you are actually on the machine.

Performing other activies such as biking running sprints, will not burn body fat directly, it will burn calories, but more likely those calories will be taken from the most dispensible source of energy in your body: your skeletal muscle.

Last tip: 30-45 min of cardio, at the pace I prescribed, followed directly by a post workout meal -i.e. protein shake.

Diet and cardio need to be incorporated together. If they are not insync you could lose muscle and gain fat at the same time, or lose muscle and fat. The goal here is to lose fat and either keep ALL your muscle size or even gain muscle.