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Men worry about the treadmill, understanding it to have a magical ability to shrivel up their muscles and sap endurance.
It’s also seen that many bodybuilders leave out cardio simply because they don’t like performing it.
While it’s obvious that exaggerated cardio causes muscle loss (as in the case of any marathon participant), what about a balanced amount of cardio?
Will cardio impede your muscle development? Or will it help?
Well, experts agree that it can go both ways.
Many readers have asked questions related to cardio and muscle loss on various platforms. For example, does cardio help build muscle Reddit has been viral due to the same curiosity!
And, in today’s review, we are going to discuss all the impacts of cardio exercise on your body fat, legs, and muscles to help you figure out what you should do.
So, just sit tight and keep on scrolling to find out more about if and does cardio exercises help build muscle or assist muscles in any other way.
What Does Cardio Do to Your Muscles?
Cardio has a wider impact on different muscle groups.
Particularly, there are 3 fundamental ways in which cardio can assist you to create (and retain) additional muscle. They are as follows:
- It can help in improving muscle recovery.
- It enhances your body’s metabolic reactions to food.
- Cardio encourages conditioning, rendering the transition from “bulking” to “cutting” easier on your body.
There’s more! Keep on reading to find out, how does cardio affect muscle gain?
As we mentioned earlier, cardio can both damage and benefit muscle growth. The two main paths through which it can negatively affect your increases are by reducing your caloric reserves too much, and by causing you to overtrain.
The excess issue is quite moot, nonetheless.
Normal cardiac trials don’t burn that many calories (a limited hundred at most), which is simply sufficient to correct. But in the case of long, intense trials, there are good chances of caloric depletion issues.
“Hard gainers” may have a little to worry about in this context as they commonly have difficulty eating enough as it is.
Research has indicated that low-intensity cardio facilitates appetite. So, doing some cardio exercises every week can assist with sufficient eating.
Now, how does cardio make you lose muscle?
Issues associated with cardio and overtraining fluctuate around intensity and frequency.
Cardio has, moreover, proven to cut down the excessive fat you can store in your body.
To read more about how cardio helps burn fat, just read the next section.
How Does Cardio Burn Fat?
In our combined dietary fantasy, all nutrients consumed would be stored by or into the muscles and either absorbed or simmered off, and none would be deposited as fat stores.
And when we diet to lose weight, all energy desires would be fulfilled by simmering fat, not muscle.
It’s also a fact that our bodies do all this to fluctuating degrees!
Some people’s bodies stock less fat when they overfill (they simmer off more additional calories rather than storing them), and lose less muscle when they diet for burning fat (additional energy is absorbed from fat than muscle to provide for the caloric deficit).
Other people, on the other hand, are more inclined to store additional calories and lose muscle when they prohibit calories for weight loss.
In all this, cardio can assist your muscles to utilize the nutrients you eat, leaving less for fat storage.
If you are about to ask, does cardio burn muscle too?
There is an old notion that too much cardio can affect you to lose muscle.
This is a topic of much controversy in the world of bodybuilding as the information seems to go in both directions.
Some studies have assumed that aerobic exercise enhances muscle mass.
Cardio can burn muscle but only if you’re not performing enough weight workouts or enhancing your workouts with a nutritious diet.
Cardio can burn muscle if you do the following:
(1) do cardio too much,
(2) do it just before your weight or resistance training session, or
(3) perform high-intensity cardio.
Whatever the case may be, cardio has proven in the past that it can help you with muscle recovery too.
To know about this in-depth, read the section below.
Does Cardio Help Muscle Recovery?
As most of us understand, intense exercises cause harm to muscle fibers, which must then be fixed up.
This harm is the reason for the soreness that you feel the day or two after attending a workout, and it’s understood as Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS.
The reparation of the muscle damage is a complex biological procedure largely governed by two factors:
how much of the nutrients needed for repair are carried to the damaged muscle over time, and the momentum at which waste products are eliminated.
Thus, cardio can assist your body repair muscle tears quicker because it boosts blood flow.
This assists your body to create the muscle back up quicker and eliminate the waste, which yields an all-around quicker comeback.
This is why bodybuilders always do a cardio trial on legs day–it dramatically lessens leg soreness in the duration to follow.
It’s worth pointing out, however, that these advantages are mainly for the legs because most aspects of cardio don’t affect the upper body.
If you want to increase the whole-body comeback, then you would require to do exercises to get your upper bodywork.
Want to know more about how cardio helps leg muscle, then keep on scrolling.
Does Cardio Build Leg Muscle?
Cardio-based workouts, such as swimming, cycling, and running do employ your leg muscles. Plus, they may assist your muscles to get powerful, but they won’t assist them to get bigger.
These workouts force your body to consume a lot of energy without really settling the leg muscles through sufficient strain to force them into expansion.
Among other significant exercises, cardio exercise carries the flow of blood to areas of your muscle groups where it is required.
With that, it fast traces the recovery process of sore muscles.
Also, don’t forget that the flow of richly nutritious blood may lessen the total time spent in handling the painful DOMS-induced leg workouts.
Nearly any cardio machine—the treadmill, elliptical, rower, or stair climber, can help you build powerful thighs.
Your legs do a lot of the work all around on these machines.
The Final Say
We think the advantages of cardio when you’re bulking outweigh the downsides, particularly because the negatives can be dealt with wisely.
Commonly speaking, many bodybuilders prefer HIIT cardio even when bulking, even though it settles additional stress on their body.
Research has indicated that HIIT cardio preserves muscle adequately in comparison to a steady-state, but don’t do hours of HIIT every week just when bulking.
The degree to which cardio will impair your strength and muscle growth will rely on your genetics and exercise, but a safe suggestion is no more than 2-3 sessions of cardio every week, for not more than 30 minutes.
If you find even that much HIIT adversely affecting your strength, then go for a few trials of the low-to-moderate cardio every week instead.
This is sufficient to relish the advantages of cardio while preventing its drawbacks.