Ways & How

How to Burn Fat, Not Muscle During Cardio

How to Burn Fat, Not Muscle During Cardio

Cardiovascular exercises raise your heart rate and thereby increasing your metabolic demand. This forces your body to burn up stored fats and carbohydrates in order to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the basic fuel for all cells in the body. As cardio burns calories over a sustained period, it is considered as one of the best ways to achieve weight loss.

However, one of the most common myths about cardio workouts is that they can cause muscle loss. In fact, some bodybuilders avoid cardio workouts like the plague due to this misconception. There’s no truth to it, however; in fact, high-intensity cardio actually promotes muscle gains because it stimulates the release of human growth hormone. The result is an increased amount of available protein in the muscles—the better to support muscle building. The danger lies in cardio done without adequate nutritional support. When you do intensive cardio workouts during periods of caloric deficits, the body’s readily available energy stores cannot fulfill the metabolic demands, which renders it a bit indiscriminate in finding alternative fuel sources.



other words, the body ends up burning lean protein in addition to fat deposits just to sustain the body’s need for ATP. Naturally, this is something that you don’t want to happen, and it won’t happen if you learn how to burn fat, not muscle during cardio. Once you’ve gained a basic understanding of how the body uses stored nutrients for energy, you can avoid muscle loss when during cardio.

  1. Make sure that your diet includes sufficient amounts of protein. This is the most fundamental requirement to maintaining muscle mass. You can do away with meal timing or vitamin supplements altogether and still keep your muscle gains as long as you consistently fulfill your body’s daily quota for protein, which is generally 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.

  2. Don’t let up on resistance training. To maintain your muscle gains, you can’t backpedal on weightlifting. Using lighter weights while doing intensive fat burning exercises signals your body that you no longer need all the muscle you have built. This leads to muscle being burned for energy. Adding cardio to your fitness program does not mean that you can ease up on your weight training goals. If doing cardio and resistance training leaves you stretched too thin to push muscle gains aggressively, then at the very least, you need to maintain your current weightlifting levels.

  3. Scale back on the frequency and/or number of repetitions when weight training, at least while you are trying to lose fat. You should still lift with the same or greater weights as you did before focusing on calorie reduction and fat-burning, but reduce the total number of sessions you do in a week or do fewer reps overall. Calorie restriction is an unavoidable part of a weight loss program, but know better than to force your body to work too hard under a calorie deficit. It’s true that no matter how hard you exercise, it still comes down to having to burn more than you consume so that you can drop the pounds, but always be aware of the danger of muscle loss when the body does not have adequate fuel to sustain cardio exercises.

When you’re trying to successfully figure out how to burn fat, not muscle, during cardio, there may be times when you feel frustrated. Dieting while going after weight loss goals is a challenging task, and it can be tempting to simply give up. When this happens, keep reminding yourself that you are after lasting results that shortcuts can never achieve and sustain your goals.

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