Some of us love doing cardio and some of us stay away from it like the plague fearing that it might make them loose some of their hard earned muscle if they did it.

The fact is, those cardio phobes could actually increase their muscle mass if they just incorporated a few cardio sessions with their regular weight training routines.

We're not talking about doing countless of aerobic work, like the type that endurance athletes get into. But more manageable and effective cardio work like 3-4 times a week for 30 - 45 minutes. Coupled with a good eating plan, you should not lose muscle mass doing cardio but if you cardio for more than 60 minutes daily, you could be in danger of overtraining and muscle loss may occur.

Cardiovascular exercise incoporate activities such as Stationary biking, jogging, rowing, 
brisk walking, using the cross trainer or doing aerobic classes. Basically any activity 
which requires you to expend lots of energy and increases and maintain your heartrate 
for more than 30 minutes.

Ofcourse it's not just a matter of hopping on your bike and going for a leisure cruise or jogging casually around your local park. You need to work at a pace that is challenging but not exhausting. You need to be breathing heavily but not gasping for breath. As you begin to get fitter you should continually increase your intensity so that it is still challenging for you. Once you have gained a good level of fitness, you should vary your sessions to include low and high intensity cardio through the form of interval training. This is when you do one minute of normal intensity, then one minute of high intensity for 30-45 minutes.

So how can doing cardio increase your muscle mass?
When we exercise we increase blood flow throughout the body and oxygen is forced into working muscles. The more we exercise, the more we increase the size and quantity of blood vessels that deliver oxygen to muscles. As blood vessesls are the supply routes that carry oxygen and nutrients to muscles, the more vessels we can generate, the greater ability we have to repair and build muscle tissue.

The amount of cardio and frequency you need to do obviously depends on your bodytype and the natural ability you have to loose fat and/or build muscle tissue. Please refer to "training for bodytype" article to determine how much aerobics is best for you.

Strategies to prevent muscle loss while doing Cardio

If you are still concerned that you might lose some of your hardearned muscle 
through cardio, you might like to consider the following hints:

1. Protein. To ensure that you don't lose muscle make sure that you eat enough protein. Protein is the building blocks of muscle building and ideally you should be having 5 to 6 small meals containing high quality protein.

2. Carbohydrate. Many people make the mistake of not eating enough carbohydrates in their attempt to lose weight. Carbohydrates give you energy to exercise and are also protein sparing. Make sure your carbs are not too low as your body will eat into your muscle tissue for energy.

3. Increase Calories. Make sure that you're eating enough food to support muscle building. Your body needs energy from a variety of sources and if it does not receive it, you'll probably experience muscle loss. If your body thinks it's going into 'starvation' then your metabolism will slow down and your body will burn muscle to conserve energy.

4. Keep up the weights. Often many people, give up the weights and do mainly cardio thinking that it will enhance fat loss. In fact, weight training will help prevent muscle loss while dieting. Muscle is a metabolically active tissue so the more muscle you have, the greater ability you will have to burn fat.

Cardio for Improved Muscle Growth

DON'T BE AFRAID TO DO CARDIO. Aerobic exercise is the perfect compliment to your bodybuilding goals because it helps to enhance and improve the delivery of nutrients to your muscles so that it can grow. You are more likely to lose muscle mass from not eating enough than doing too much cardio. Therefore, the best way to prevent any muscle loss while doing cardio is to eat enough calories through a balanced diet containing high quality protein, carbohydrate and fats so that you're building muscle while burning fat through timely cardio exercises.

Have Fun!
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