If you’re trying to lose weight and build muscle, you might be wondering how much aerobic exercise you should be doing to achieve both goals. This article will give you everything you need to know about aerobic exercise and how it can help you reach your muscle-building goals. First, let’s look at what aerobic exercise is, how it affects your body, and how it can help build muscle. Then, we’ll discuss how much cardio exercise you should be doing to reach your goal of building muscle and losing weight at the same time.
The main function of aerobic exercise
To improve cardiovascular function and oxygen delivery to working muscles. These benefits can translate into better muscle endurance, but they are largely unrelated to building muscle mass. When it comes down to it, you’ll have better luck building muscle by targeting strength-training exercises than aerobic exercise. There is some evidence that aerobic exercise may lead to increased testosterone levels, which promotes more significant gains in muscle mass when combined with resistance training.
Why aerobics alone may not build muscle
Many athletes assume that they need to increase their aerobic capacity if they want to build muscle. They often crank up their treadmill speeds and run, cycle or swim until they can barely catch their breath. As you may have guessed by now, while your aerobic capacity might improve, your ability to gain muscle could suffer. Many athletes find themselves losing muscle mass due to chronic cardio training. So what gives?
What are glycogen stores?
Glycogen is a carbohydrate that’s stored in our muscles and liver. Think of it as your muscle’s fuel tank. You can think of carbohydrates as gas for a car—how much gas you have in your tank depends on how much glycogen you have stored.
It’s also necessary for your body’s production of haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that helps transport oxygen throughout your body. If you ever feel lightheaded, it may be because you’re low on glycogen and don’t have enough haemoglobin in your system to help carry oxygen.
The role of glycogen during weight training
Glycogen is a fuel source that your body stores during aerobic activities. Most of us have been told that carbs are essential for success in weight training. Glycogen, however, plays an equally important role and maybe just as important as carbs in muscle growth. While carbohydrates and glycogen can help you build muscle, it’s essential to understand how each contributes.
Glycogen Depletion Between Sets
Anaerobic exercise—high-intensity interval training (HIIT), heavy weightlifting, sprinting—depletes glycogen stores. When you work out anaerobically, your body can’t keep up with the demand for fuel, and you start tearing down muscle tissue. Working out aerobically delays glycogen depletion so that it doesn’t begin until after your workout is over. As a result, you can train harder and recover faster.
Glycogen Replenishment During Recovery
Glycogen is a natural carbohydrate stored in the muscle that provides energy for physical activity. The body uses glycogen sparingly when exercising aerobically, meaning it can rapidly become depleted during exercise and requires replenishment after. Replenishing glycogen stores within two hours of working out will help ensure you’re ready for your next workout.
Adding Strength Training To Aerobic Exercise
Strength training is an essential component of any exercise routine. It helps you gain lean muscle mass, which will help you burn more calories and tone your body. When performed in combination with aerobic exercises—such as brisk walking, jogging or swimming—strength training can also help strengthen bones, improve balance and boost flexibility. The best part? No expensive gym membership is required! Before you begin any strength-training program, it’s good to talk to your doctor first.
Long-Term Effects of Weight Training Alone Versus Weight Training Plus Aerobics on Lean Mass (Muscle) in Older Women
This study examined whether adding aerobic exercise would increase skeletal muscle mass in older women. Researchers took 35 women, ages 70-81 years, and randomly assigned them to a weight training or weight training plus aerobic exercise group. They followed them for 16 weeks and measured their strength and lean mass at baseline, 8 weeks, and 16 weeks. The researchers found that both groups had significantly more significant increases in lean mass than controls; however, there was no significant difference between groups.