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So I’ve been doing a lot of research on different training plans and trying to figure out what would be best for me as far as building more muscle. As far as fat loss goes, the only place I want to lose fat right now is in the belly.
But you can’t spot fat loss. The more cardio I do, the more I lose in my arms and legs, when those are the places I want to bulk. I do plenty of ab exercises and probably have a defined sixpack underneath the layer of fat on my tummy, so I’d keep doing more cardio in attempt to lose that and get a flat stomach. But I never get there. I changed my running to where I run intervals, and we do plenty of cardio at kickboxing.
I know that doing too much cardio could result in muscle loss. I have been all over the internet and forums. One poster on bodybuilding.com says:
“Cardio is generally not recommended for most persons wishing to do body re-composition. (Even fat loss) This especially goes for the female population who has for so long been doing way too much cardio. In the book, New Rules for Women, the directive is given to all women to “Step away from the treadmill!” While cardio arguably can do some good things it generally is done far too much and for all the wrong reasons with the female population.
“The biggest problem IMHO with just adding cardio outside of a weight lifting program is that it will potentially cause a woman to drop muscle faster than fat. Since most women have less muscle and lose it faster than men, this is a big problem. Doing only cardio or too much cardio results in women who are skinny fat. For some of the more overweight female populations, cardio can serve to help with the fat loss and will not have negative consequences. Keep in mind that the closer you are to an ideal bodyweight, the harder it is to preserve muscle.
Now here is the “rub” for those of you who are “hard-core” cardio queens and just cannot give it up. Doing cardio can actually completely stop or thwart your fat loss efforts especially as you get closer to your ideal weight. The way that works is that we all burn a certain amount of calories per day in NEAT type of activities. NEAT stands for Non Exercise Thermogenesis Activity and is basically all the moving that you do every day outside of exercise. This could be climbing stars, walking from the car to the door or even fidgeting. Some of us are really good NEAT people. When cardio is added to the mix of a training routine it has the potential to wear a person out and they decrease their NEAT. Net result is even less calories burned. Consider another scenario. Some people do cardio and it triggers mad hunger. They go home and EAT THE HOUSE. Net result is more calories added then burned.
Often times all a person has to do (if they are stalled on weight loss) is to stop all exercise except for NEAT and focus on diet. This will give them the “correct” baseline for diet and then they can add back in the exercise based from this baseline.
So the answer is not to just add cardio to your training program. Cardio is certainly not the root of all evil and there are legitimate reasons to do it. Just know that fat loss and muscle gain goals can be easily disrupted with too much cardio. It is about finding the right balance of food, lifting and cardio for you and your goals.”
I have found many similar articles to this as well. So then I guess my answer would be to decrease my cardio, and maybe not run 10 miles a week….
But this is where I get lost as to where to go from here. If you’ve been following me from the beginning, you’d know that what started all of this was running.
I began my journey to health in 2012 when I decided to begin the Couch-to-5K running program, and transform myself from someone who hated running with a passion, to someone who enjoyed running and could run for long distances. I began my first blog, Metamorphosis, to document my efforts, and eventually I made it my goal to run a half marathon.
I’d still like to complete that goal by the time the Rock and Roll marathon comes to Texas in November, and I did make it a new year’s resolution to log 550 miles this year in running (so far I have only logged 38 running miles this year). But I also have been working really hard at my strength goal to get a Jillian Michaels type physique and really want to build more muscles. I don’t want to look like a twig, I want to look strong. But it seems like the more running I do the skinnier I get (as far as my arms and legs go) and the less muscles I build.
I like running and would like to keep at it and train for the marathon, but I’m wondering if I keep that goal then it would interfere with my building goal, (and my flat-stomach goal) so I’m a bit lost as to what I should do as far as my training. :/