One of the most common theories in the fitness world is that too much cardio can burn muscle. There is usually some truth to any statement, but does that mean you should stop doing cardio altogether when you start lifting weights?
The truth is cardio can burn muscle if you’re not doing the right kind of cardio at the right time. If you’re trying to lose weight, then you’re probably focused on burning more calories. Calorie for calorie, a cardio workout burns more calories than a weightlifting routine, but a cardio workout won’t necessarily help you lose fat. If you have the wrong diet and are doing too much cardio, you can lose muscle without realizing it.
If you enjoy high-impact cardio exercises, you should keep doing what you enjoy, but if you are trying to build muscle or are concerned about losing the muscles you have gained, you need to be careful with how much cardio you do.
The best type of cardio for someone focused on building muscle is a low-impact cardio routine, such as walking, cycling, or swimming. There is also no need to obsess over how much cardio you’re getting. Walking for 30 minutes three times a week is plenty of cardio to keep your heart healthy and your body and optimal shape.
You also can end up burning muscle if your diet isn’t optimized for strength gains. An ideal diet is balanced with plenty of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. It’s important to eat a pre- and post-workout snack to make sure your body has the fuel it needs so that it won’t steal it from your muscles. The best way to ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need is to stash a quality protein snack, such as Jawbox Jerky, in your gym bag so you can feel assured that you’re getting the nutrition your body needs.