The best thing you can do to help prevent muscle wastage is to make sure that you strength train regularly, and that your strength training is genuinely challenging. Use weights or exercises that will fatigue your muscles in 4-12 reps.
There isn't really an ideal 'ratio' of strength training to cardio. But you should be aiming at 2-3 all-body strength workouts per week (resting 48 hours between ST sessions). Realistically, using compound exercises that work several different muscles at once, you should be able to achieve an all-body workout in 20-40 minutes. This doesn't really differ between whether you are trying to maintain existing muscle mass, or gain muscle.
It is true wery long cardio workouts can deplete the body's reserves, and this can increase muscle wastage, but this isn't a major issue for most people. While keeping your workouts to 30-40 minutes may avoid this, probably the better approach is simply to refuel your body with a post-workout snack (as part of your overall calorie budget). Ideally this would be a combination of carbs and protein, and be within 30-60 minutes after a workout.
Weight lifting is key, key, key...but you also need some cardio. Not huge amounts, but interval training doing HIITS or using circuit training with light weights works too. I do it all and rotate through all my DVD's. I use all home DVD's with minimal equipment, but it works.
I do 3 days heavy lifting for 3 months with a variety of cardio 30-40 minutes 5 days a week ( I do that much because I enjoy it) and then change the entire routine and do the new one for 3 months. I change it all up every 3 months and it keeps your body guessing.
Cardio won't eat up all your muscles if you are eating properly, getting enough protein, getting enough strength signalling muscles you need them! Muscle is not all shed if your body gets stressed with weight lifting and thinks it needs the muscle. So keep strength training, always.
I have minimal muscle loss when losing fat because I lift heavy. Yes, you can't avoid losing some muscle as you shed fat, but you can minimize that loss by eating well and strength training.
Do cardio and do strength, but for me personally strength training is not enough. I need actual cardio to keep myself conditioned for events and hiking. It is best to do both and keep it balanced.
Agree with SergeantMajor. To lose the fat, you will also be losing some muscle. That's why you do heavy weight lifting (to try to maintain what you have). Diet is still what you need to focus on.
TACDGB- You know you're going to have to bulk to build your muscles, right? Basically, you're going to have to eat those calories that you're burning with your cardio. I've seen you at bb.com and I really recommend that you do more research over there.
I'm cutting now and do minimal cardio (HIIT maybe twice a week after I ST). I don't do more because it makes my hunger feel out of control. And, honestly, it's not needed for my goals.
I am so tired of cardio getting a bad rap. Cardio is good for the heart and lungs. But you do have to be careful how much you do as it will tear down your weight lifting muscles. I was doing 18 to 22 miles a week running and I was told that was too much to build muslces. I want really defined muscles (really ripped). So now I am doing 45 minutes 5 days a week instead of 60 minutes 6 days a week. So we shall see how this works. So I would think that might work for you...........45 minutes each time 4 to 5 days a week. Good luck. I have heard this too and I so do believe this. It's 80% nutrition 10% working out and 10% genetics.
That you have to do cardio to lose weight is an urban myth. Weight loss and fat loss are a function of nutrition not any specific form of exercise. If you do your strength training in the proper form of circuit training, just strength exercises you obtain a built in cardio benefit with no dedicated cardio. Strength training improves muscularity and muscle function which increases your resting metabolism, cardio does not have this benefit. Cardio is excellent to improve your cardio respiratory system and endurance so should be at least a part of your fitness programme.
Remember the three parts of a weight control programme in order of importance are nutrition (diet), strength training and lastly cardio. The assigned percentages are nutrition 80%, strength training 15% and cardio5% which should give you an idea as to the balance.
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Remember any time you are looking to lose weight, you will lose some lean body mass along with fat, however, doing so slowly and incorporating ST with Cardio will lessen this percentage. Cardio is just as essential to our healthy living journey as ST. One does not necessarily trump the other.
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9 1/17/12 6:14 P
thanks! will this enable me to lose fat on my gut (problem area)? how do i prevent the cardio from 'eating' up the muscles i'm trying to build during ST?
Fitness Minutes: (112,042)
46,222 1/17/12 5:02 P
Where we store our fat is determined primarily be our genetic make-up, that being said, cardio and ST are both essential, not only in losing weight, but in meeting our healthy living goals. I believe cardio gets a bad rap--while cardio is catabolic (muscle wasting in nature), most of us are not going to be fitness competitors where that is a big problem.
According to US Dept of Health and Human Services 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, most people need
-2 hours 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate intensity activity a week OR
-1 hour 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous activity per week OR
A combination of the two. This is to maintain a level of physical activity.
When you increase the amount to 300 minutes (5 hours) of moderate activity or 150 minutes (2 hrs 30 min) of vigorous activity per week OR a combo of both you will receive added health benefits.
Add in 2 sessions of full body resistance training per week and you should be good to go.
I hope this helps! Coach Nancy
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9 1/17/12 4:26 P
Getting confused. I'm trying to lose belly fat (lost fat all over but some still left in belly and won't go away). I'm thinking of increasing my cardio (to lose fat) - but i'm afraid it might also reduce the effects of the weight training (eating up muscles). Can someone help in advising the 'correct' ratio of cardio/weight lifting? I want to be lean (not really weightlifter muscular). thanks!
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