T Nation

Cardio

Which type of cardio burns the least amount of muscle. I know this may sound stupid, but obviously everybody wants to burn fat, save muscle. I am starting a cutting phase, and i do not want to lose ANY muscle whatsoever. Wondering which is better, like running/skipping rope/stationary bike/rower/eliptical/skiier etc. Also, I know doing cardio first thing in the am on an empty stomach is best for fat burning, but how catabolic is it? I am also hearing more and more NOT to use fat burners (ECA’s and such) bc they burn way to much muscle. I hear taking BCAA’s before cardio helps spare muscle, so another question is if I take BCAA’s an hour before I start, should I still take an ECA 1/2 hour before I start? Technically it would no longer be on an empty stomach. Also, what effect will that have? Good, bad, none? Any help Greatly appreciated.

I am in the same boat as you… I started a cutting phase 3 weeks ago, and began doing a half hour on a treadmill in the am, along with a strict diet (most important) and a good fat burner, I have noticed great results, as I have gone into single digit bf % (12%to9.6%) and I noticed that I did loose some muscle, but Glutamine really helps. Just remember to continue eating a lot of Protein because this will help to keep most or all of your muscle.

I’ve been cutting for several weeks now…I hate cardio, but I’ve found a decent way to do it. I get on the treadmill for ten min (1 min walk, 4 minute jog, 2 minute faster jog, 1 minute walk, 1.5 min jog, 30 second sprint.) Then I get off, as that’s just a warm up. I catch my breath and wait 5 minute for my heart to return to normal…then I jump on the erg…the rowing machine. If you haven’t tried it, it’s awesome. I set the thing at 2 kilometers, and try to beat my previous score. Usually takes me about 7:40. Anyway, it’s good cardio, and you kind feel like you’re getting a good back, shoulder, bi, and ham workout. Total, I guess that’s about 18 minutes of cardio, but since the rowing is fast pased, and the treadmill is modified interval, it seems to be burning more fat than muscle. Oh, also, you might want to modify your lifting routine to something resembling a circuit, training opposing body parts (ie chest and back) That way you never have to rest between sets, so you just run from one machine to the next; it’s not exactly “cardio” but it keeps my heart rate up. Hope this helps

Unless a person is very lean to start with, the fear of losing muscle of a quanity that is truly noticeable, is unfounded fear. Proper pre and post workout meals is some insurance against this. You already say you take precaution in this area. See other cardio-related posts, one posted the 20-minute bare minimal idea. (it’s accurate) One cannot “feel” they lost muscle, or “feel” they lost sugar, or “feel” tey lost fat. This can only be done with accurate measuring and fat testing. In my view, some get lost in tiny details that don’t really matter, or think they notice, or not notice. This excessive obsession with tiny details often obscure the viewing of the “big picture”. (if a person is contest material it might matter, though)