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losing muscle through cardio???

I've read several threads and other websites talking about the benefits of weight training vs. only cardio in building muscles, boosting metabolism, etc.

My question is, I'm doing 3-4 hours of cardio via eliptical, step areobics and cardio kick boxing each week, and no weight training. Aren't I at least building or maintaining muscles in my legs? Am I really losing muscles from training this way, and will result in small and soft, prone to putting on lots of fat when I finish the weight loss diet?


Fri. Nov 30, 1:32pm

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I'm no expert on this but I would guess that you are at least maintaining muscle. I know from personal experience that I have built muscle doing kickboxing. From what I remember, stored fat in the body is a more readily available energy source for the body that muscle is.

Friday, November 30, 2007, 2:02 PM

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If you are doing intense cardio and not weight training you may end up losing muscle if you do not refuel and leave enough rest between sessions. From personal experience weight training is the only way I can lose weight and keep it off. However, you may not see as much difference on the scales as when you simply diet or do cardio only, but you will be smaller and more toned as lb for lb muscle takes up more space than fat but it weighs more. You will be toning your legs doing the cardio you are currently doing, however to boost your results I would do some weights and make sure you are making you cardio component progressively harder to maintain results

Friday, November 30, 2007, 2:21 PM

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See the thread CLA and Green Tea also posted on this community site.....

Friday, November 30, 2007, 2:50 PM

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OP: thanks 2:21 - i started (3 mos ago) doing eliptical only 20 mins 3 or 4 times a week. I've buit up to 35-40 minutes 2 x weekly and increasing the level every 3-4 weeks and switched out the other 2 eliptical for the 60 min step and kickboxing classes. I'm hoping that keeps everthing ever increasing. I'm guessing I better add weights now, as I'm approaching a plateau - I can feel it.

Friday, November 30, 2007, 4:18 PM

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The more muscle you have, the more fat you burn!! It also weighs more than fat BUT your measurements will get small. I have lost a lot more since I started weight training. Also, muscle burns a lot of calories while at rest, cardio doesn't do that. You only burn calories while performing the cardio. But weight training you burn calories while working out and then alot more while just laying around. Awesome!

Sunday, December 02, 2007, 1:22 PM

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2:21 poster here! Well done on your progress. Changing your routine keeps your body guessing and stops you overdeveloping some sets of muscles more then others, having an easy week also helps the body recover so you can push it up a bit in the next few weeks, so don't be scared to have a rest every so often. Also consider doing intervals and hill climbs on the eliptical if yours has that programme. Circuit Training is a great way of learning some weights as well as getting some cardio, body pump is fantastic as well. Make sure you get a trainer to show you a weights programme so you get the most for your hard work and don't be afraid if you put on weight for a couple of weeks, this will be your muscles storing water, but soon this will wear off....

Sunday, December 02, 2007, 3:10 PM

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Thanks 3:10 - the compliment helps motivate me!

Sunday, December 02, 2007, 8:45 PM

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You're doing a terrific job and increasing time and resistance is a smart way to work your cardio. I am a big believer is weight training particularly as we (women) get older. As mentioned before it will kick up your metabolism. It was a shock to me how easy it is to gain and hard to lose weight when you get older, even after a lifetime of activity. Also weight training will help strengthen bones, another concern as we age. Good Luck!

Monday, December 03, 2007, 8:16 AM

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3:10 here, let us know how you get on

Monday, December 03, 2007, 10:27 AM

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Yes, it's true. It's a scientifically proven fact that muscle proteins are broken down and used for energy during aerobic exercise. But don't worry, you are constantly breaking down and re building muscle tissue anyway. This process is called "protein turnover." Your body is constantly alternating back and forth between anabolic (building) and catabolic (breaking down) cycles. That's just a normal part of life. Your goal is simply to tip the scales slightly in favor of increasing the anabolic side and reducing the catabolic side just enough so you stay on the anabolic side and you gain or at least maintain muscle. testking 70-562 This fact of human physiology has often been taken out of context and used to scare people into not doing cardiovascular exercise for fear of losing muscle. When you fast overnight as you sleep, you lose muscle too, but that doesn't mean you should stop sleeping! Sure, it's possible for you to lose muscle from doing too much cardio, but it's highly unlikely. Shying away from cardio completely because you think you'll lose muscle is a huge mistake. testking N10-003 Only excessive amounts of cardio would cause you to lose muscle because over-training tips the scale towards the catabolic side. It's difficult to generalize and pinpoint one specific amount as too much, but I think it's safe to assume that just about anyone could do up to 45 -60 minutes of cardio a day, 6 to 7 days a week without losing any muscle - as long as the proper nutritional support is provided. testking 000-223 Trainer John Parillo has always been an advocate of lots of aerobics, even for his bodybuilder clients who are trying to gain muscle mass.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009, 5:59 AM

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