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3 Things You Can Do To Stop Cardio from Killing Your Gains

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3 Things You Can Do To Stop Cardio from Killing Your Gains

 

 

3 Things You Can Do To Stop Cardio from Killing Your Gains

Will cardio affect my gains? When a fitness professional hears a question like this, it's very hard to give one answer because there is other variables at play. How much cardio, what type of cardio, what is the primary goal, the current weight/age/height of the person, how much gym experience they have, and what type of diet they are on, are all variables that could affect the outcome of this question. For quick and easy answers, it's best to refer to generalities for general questions and not use specific circumstances. Has cardio effected muscle gains in the past for some people? Yes, but more than likely it stemmed from an extreme circumstance. Here are 3 practices you can use so that cardio will fuel your gains and not extinguish them. 

 

1.) Keep protein intake @ 1 gram per lb of body weight - Studies have shown that if protein intake is kept high during a calorie deficit; muscle gain can still occur and muscle is preserved a lot more efficiently when compared to a diet that is not high in protein. This relates to cardio because if a person was doing a substantial amount of cardio and their protein intake is at a minimum, that person's chance of growing/ retaining muscle is decreased because your body will break down muscle when the body is doing aerobic exercises too frequently and for too long. The best way to enjoy cardio sessions and keep growing muscle is to keep protein intake high. The best rule of thumb is to use 1 gram of protein per lb of bodyweight. Ex. 180lb man should be eating 180 grams of protein per day to reap the benefits. 

 

2.) Keep it short and sweet - Unless you are walking, cardio sessions should be short and sweet. 30 mins tops. Being at a high heart for too long, too often primes your body to start looking for fuel sources other than what's stored. It will start to break down muscle as fuel. This refers back to the #1 bullet point because the protein in your diet can only carry you for so long because protein has to take care of other functions in the body. Keeping your cardio sessions shorter and intense will actually increase your growth hormone levels which will aide in recovery and muscle growth. I would stick with 20 mins of intense intervals on any cardio machine to reap the benefits without jeopardizing muscle. 

 

3.) Strength Training/ Cardio Ratio - Strength training should always be the main course meal for the majority of your workouts. Strive to hit 3-5 strength training sessions with an addition of 2-3 cardio sessions per week. Strength training does break down muscle, but if diet and recovery are in check. The muscle will recover and grow. If your body is in a state of constant muscle break down from doing too much weights and too much cardio. It won't matter how much protein is in your diet, or what type of cardio you're doing because you are simply doing too much for your body to recover and grow from. Don't do more than 4 cardio sessions per week, but keep it 2-3 to reap  maximum benefits. And ALWAYS prioritize strength training in front of cardio if your goal is to gain muscle. 


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