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Lots of guys fear the treadmill, believing it has a mystical ability to shrivel up muscle, gain weight and sap strength. And some bodybuilder types bash cardio simply because they don’t like doing it. It is clearly witnessed that excessive cardio can cause muscle loss, what about moderate cardio? Does it interfere with your muscle growth, or does it help?

Myth: Can’t Do Cardio if Want to Gain Weight

Actually, it can go either way:

3 WAYS CARDIO CAN HELP WITH MUSCLE GROWTH

The 3 primary ways that cardio will help you build (and retain) more muscle are:

Improves muscle recovery.

Improves your body’s metabolic responses to food.

Keep up your conditioning and making the transition from “bulking” to “cutting” would be easy on your body.

CARDIO AND MUSCLE RECOVERY

The intense exercise that cause damage to your muscle fibers, which must be repaired. The damage is the main cause of the soreness that you feel in a following a workout and is popularly known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). The cardio exercise will help your body gain weight and to repair muscle damage more quick as it increases the blood flow. This helps your body build the muscle back up more quickly and remove the waste, which results in an all-around faster recovery.

CARDIO AND HOW YOUR BODY METABOLIZES FOOD

All nutrients which are eaten would be sucked into the muscles and is either absorbed or burned off and none would result in fat storage in your body. When we are on diet to lose weight, all energy needs would met by burning fat, not the muscle. The reality, however, is that our bodies do these things to varying degrees. Other people are more likely to store excess calories as fat and to lose muscle when they restrict calories for weight loss. Hormones like testosterone and cortisol play major roles in this. Higher levels of testosterone promote more muscle and less fat, whereas higher levels of cortisol promote less muscle and more fat. But unfortunately, there isn’t much we can do about either beyond injecting ourselves with dangerous drugs. Our genetics have set our normal physiological hormonal ranges, and that’s that. All is not lost if you’re not of the genetic elite, though.

Insulin sensitive people is highly beneficial when you’re eating a good amount of calories to build muscle, whereas insulin resistance inhibits muscle growth and promotes fat storage under the dietary conditions. Genetics affect natural levels of insulin sensitivity as well, but you can take various steps to manipulate this mechanism.

CARDIO AND CONDITIONING

The most common issue in bodybuilding world is the reduction in cardiovascular fitness when focusing only on heavy weightlifting for month. Added stress will make weight loss physically and psychologically tougher and can even results in accelerate muscle loss. Those who keep doing cardio regularly seem to better retain the ability to oxidize fat.

2 WAYS CARDIO CAN GET IN THE WAY OF MUSCLE GROWTH

As I said to introduce this myth, cardio can both hurt and help muscle growth.
Two primary ways that can negatively affect your gains are by reducing your caloric surplus too much (gain weight)  and by causing you to over-train.
The surplus issue is pretty moot, though, if you watch what you’re burning.

Normal cardio sessions don’t burn that many calories (a few hundred at most), which is easy enough to correct (eat a pile of fruit afterward, for instance). Hard gainers have more to worry about in this regard as they usually have trouble eating enough gain weight as it is. Low-intensity cardio stimulates the appetite, so including some every week can help ensure you eat enough.

SO, CARDIO WHILE FOCUSING ON MUSCLE GROWTH—YES OR NO?

The positives of including cardio in your workout session when you’re bulking outweigh the negatives, especially considering the fact that the negatives are easily dealt with. Most common point at which the added cardio will impair your strength gains and muscle growth will depend on your genetics and conditioning.
If you find that even that much HIIT negatively impacts your strength, then opt for a few sessions of low-to-moderate cardio each week instead. That will still be enough to enjoy the benefits of cardio while avoiding its drawbacks.

Is overtraining a myth? We usually expect a reward comparable with our work. The harder you work, the higher the expectations of the prize. Work harder to develop your business or get promoted? Practice longer and more diligently and you will achieve better results in your discipline.

Sports training – and especially weightlifting – are slightly different, however. There is a moment when increasing physical effort actually becomes overtraining. At this point, overtraining is not a myth anymore…

OVERTRAINING MYTH – LONGER and HARDER WORKOUTS are BETTER

Most people are aware that not always is more is better. But hardly anyone is aware of how easy it is to overtrain or how to notice it in time. You can see it in every gym. Guys training long forever the same muscle groups, repeating sets after sets. They can’t understand why their muscles are not growing, and strength remains at the same level for the next weeks after weeks, despite exhausting workouts. 

Their common myth is that the more work you put into the development of chest muscles, the more it grows. The more sets you repeat aiming the biceps, the more T-shirts will hold your arms, exposing the huge muscles.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The body can take a lot, but at some point, there is an easy way to get the overtraining syndrome.

Dorian Yates was a six-time Mr. Olympia champion. He is well known for his enormous size, strength, and authority in bodybuilding. Such a man has certainly been overtrained several times on the way to achieve his successes. Contrary to popular myth, however, this great bodybuilder claims that overtraining is not a myth at all. Listen what Dorian Yates says about overtraining and how to avoid it:

Dorian Yates, six-times Mr. Olympia, speaks about overtraining

WHAT IS OVERTRAINING?

Overtraining is an accumulation of stress related to training and/or non-training, which results in a long-term decrease in performance with associated physiological and psychological symptoms. Once overtrained it may take several weeks or even months to restore full fitness performance.

The most common side effects of excessive training load are chronic fatigue, depression, lack or deterioration of athletic performance.

However, the symptoms of overtraining are not always so obvious. There are many other signs of overtraining that you should know about to be able to stop training at the right time before you get to the point where you need long, sometimes weeks, and even months of recovery.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN OVERTRAINING AND OVERREACHING?

It’s very important to be able to recognize the difference between overtraining and overreaching.

Overtraining as we defined before is defined as an accumulation of stress related to training and/or non-training, resulting in a long-term decline in performance with associated physiological and psychological symptoms and symptoms of overtraining, in which it may take several weeks to even months to restore fitness.

Overreaching is a temporary condition that occurs in response to heavy or intense training. Overreaching occurs when an athlete undergoes hard training, but with enough recovery, while overtraining occurs when an athlete trains intensively, but without sufficient regeneration.

In the case of overreaching, a decrease in performance can be resolved in a few days or weeks, but overtraining can be a long process that lasts from several weeks to several months.

  • Functional overreaching – a short-term drop in performance that can lead to improved performance after a short rest period.
  • Non-functional overreaching – a short-term drop in performance that can be fully recovered after a long rest period (a week or more), but this does not improve performance.
  • Overtraining – a prolonged decrease in performance, which requires a few weeks, even several months of rest for full recovery.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF OVERTRAINING?

If there is only one symptom, it does not necessarily mean that you are overtrained. However, if you experience several, you need to pay more attention to the balance between training and rest.

You will probably need to reduce your training load and ensure a good balance between training and rest and recovery. If the symptoms do not disappear after a week or more, it is recommended to visit a specialist for an accurate diagnosis.

Is overtraining a myth?

SIGNS OF OVERTRAINING AND OVERREACHING:

  • YOU CAN’T FINISH YOUR WORKOUT

When your body is overtrained, you will not be able to lift the weights that you usually do. You will feel a decrease in energy and strength, making it difficult or even impossible to finish your sets of exercises. Despite your daily visits to the gym, you will feel weaker, slower and more lethargic.

  • YOU GAIN FAT DESPITE TRAINING

Usually, when hormones are in balance, fat loss is simply a matter of increasing energy expenditure relative to calorie intake, but when you are overtrained, this is no longer true. Testosterone levels decrease and cortisol levels increase, which causes catabolism (breakdown of muscle tissue) and increases insulin resistance and fat storage. Final result? You train harder and watch your diet carefully, but you gain fat.

OTHER SIGNS OF OVERTRAINING:

  • Slow heart rate recovery after training
  • Very high resting heart rate
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Abnormal heartbeat, palpitations
  • Emotional instability and nervousness
  • Poor sleep quality, restless sleep
  • Reduced attention and concentration
  • Anxiety and unreasonable fear
  • Excessive sweating during activities or training
  • Low motivation and interest in training
  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • decrease in libido

If you ignore above signals coming from the body and continue intensive training, there may be further signs of overload and overtraining, which will further slow down the ability to regenerate:

  • Low resting heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Shortness of breath, shortness of breath
  • Quick fatigue during exercise
  • Drowsiness and lethargy
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Decreased immunity

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF OVERTRAINING?

Overtraining is caused by a lack of balance between training and rest and recovery. By overloading the body with excessive effort and at the same time not giving it enough rest, you are exposed to various unforeseen and undesirable effects.

A decrease in performance during strength training can be caused by three factors:

  • Central nervous system fatigue
  • Metabolic fatigue
  • Muscle damage

The effects of fatigue on the central nervous and metabolic systems are very short-lived and last for a few hours at most.

Hence, the conclusion that a decrease in strength lasting longer than 24 hours is caused by muscle damage.

Overload, as opposed to overtraining, is a normal training process in which you take another workout before the muscle damage caused by previous training is completely repaired.

HOW TO PREVENT OVERTRAINING?

  • DO NOT TRAIN EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK.

There are no such people who, without taking drugs, are able to lift weights, run or participate in intense workouts every day of the week and still recover properly. Unless you have the Hulk endocrine system, it is absolutely necessary to reduce your training intensity at least two days a week and plan at least one day a week with absolutely no exercise.

A good idea is weight lifting from Monday to Friday and cardio training from Sunday to Tuesday or Wednesday. Thanks to this, Saturday is a day of complete rest.

An example of a weekly training schedule may look like this:

  • Day 1: Weights
  • Day 2: Masses and cardio training
  • Day 3: Cardio only
  • Day 4: Weights and cardio training
  • Day 5: Masses and cardio training
  • Day 6: Weights
  • Day 7: Full rest

You can freely modify this schedule, provided that you keep two days a week free of weights and one day completely free from training. If you want to speed up your metabolism a bit, don’t take two full rest days in a row.

  • GET ENOUGH SLEEP

Getting enough sleep is a key element in preventing overtraining. Seven to eight hours a day is considered optimal. Remember that the main processes related to increasing the body’s efficiency take place during sleep. If you don’t give your body the right amount of sleep, the effects of hard work in the gym will be lost.

  • ENSURE A PROPER DIET

The last key element is a proper diet that fully provides the body with everything it needs for self-repair. You need to provide the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. Usually, a well-balanced diet provides the right amount of all the ingredients you need, but it’s a good idea to supplement your diet with the right supplements and nutrients for those who train weightlifting.

The body is such a self-healing machine. You just need to provide him with the right amount of training, rest and nutrients.

Most women desire the same type of body. They want to be lean but not too skinny. They want to have some muscle definition, particularly in their arms, stomach, and legs. And they want to have a bubble butt that fills their jeans. And, amen! I’m all for that. To achieve this physique, the average woman needs to lose fat and add some muscle. Just losing the fat wouldn’t be enough as most women lack the muscle that gives an athletic look (leaving them with the common skinny-fat body type).

MYTH: WOMEN SHOULD TRAIN DIFFERENTLY THAN MEN

What is the best way to achieve these goals?

Conventional “wisdom” has women grinding away on the treadmill every day and working out with three-pound dumbbells. I’ve yet to see a woman achieve a fitness model physique by doing that. Achieving a lean, athletic look takes nothing more than having a good amount of muscle and low body fat percentage. Reducing body fat percentage is mainly a function of diet, but what’s the best way to build muscle?

Lifting weights, of course. And you’re probably not surprised that I recommend heavyweights. I can already hear you disagree. Women shouldn’t lift heavy weights because they don’t want to get bulky, right? Wrong. It’s incredibly difficult for a woman to ever reach the point of looking bulky, regardless of how hard or often she trains. The hormone that most directly regulates muscle growth is testosterone, and an average woman’s testosterone levels are a mere 5–10% of an average man’s.

In one study, post-exercise testosterone levels were 45 times higher in men than in women. This isn’t surprising when you consider that research has shown that resistance training doesn’t even increase testosterone levels in women—only growth hormone, estradiol (a type of estrogen), and cortisol.
If you’re a woman, I PROMISE you that you will never wake up one day disgusted with your bulky physique if you lift heavy weights (heavy for YOU, but light for weightlifting guys) and stay lean. Getting to the point of having large, protruding muscles is a very gradual, grueling process that you would have to consciously work at every day, and it would take years.

BENEFITS OF BUILDING MUSCLE

If you’re a woman and you’re still not quite sold on weightlifting yet, these health benefits of building your muscles, as discussed in a study conducted by the University of Texas, will change your mind::

  • Your chances of developing diseases like diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cancer are significantly reduced.
  • Your bones become stronger.
  • Your metabolism speeds up because muscle, even when idle, burns energy. This makes it easier to stay lean.
  • Your life expectancy increases.
  • Your immune system becomes stronger.

And what about your physique? Well, gaining muscle does wonders for that too. Strong, well-developed muscles are what give women the curves they love. Nothing improves your image more in and out of your clothes than lean, defined muscles. If all that isn’t enough, then you should also know that maintaining a strong, well-muscled body helps you age better.

Research has shown that greater muscle mass percentage in older women is associated with better mobility, lower body weight, and lower body fat levels. Now, what qualifies as heavy weight for a woman?
The weight that is heavy enough to limit you to 8–10 repetitions. Lifting heavy weights (relative to your strength, of course) is just the fastest way to change your physique.

If you’re a woman and you want to be toned, sexy legs and around, tight butt, then you can’t beat an intense workout of “boy exercises” such as barbell squats, Romanian deadlifts, and barbell lunges.
If you want sleek, defined arms, the quickest way to get there is by going heavy on exercises like dumbbell curls, straight-bar curls, and EZ-bar curls. Women, it’s time to put down the pink play weights and get sexy by lifting with the guys! (They’ll find it pretty hot, too.)


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