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  1. #1
    Registered User MacDonald86's Avatar
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    Running Burns Muscle: BroScience or Not?

    Any validity to the idea that running can burn muscle tissue rather than fat? I've heard this sort of thing a few times from different sources.

    I usually run 3-4 times per week at a pace of about 6.5-6.7 mph for 30 minutes and then cool down with a brisk walk. Would this be considered HIIT or not? I'm usually soaked in sweat and have a nice pant going.

    I just want to get to the bottom line of whether or not that sort of cardio is doing my any good. If there's any validity to the idea that running for extended periods of time can burn muscle tissue then Ill just change my cardio to a one hour brisk walk or something.

    Apologies if I sound stupid, just really would like to get a better idea about this. Thanks.
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  2. #2
    Registered User nhclone's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MacDonald86 View Post
    Any validity to the idea that running can burn muscle tissue rather than fat? I've heard this sort of thing a few times from different sources.

    I usually run 3-4 times per week at a pace of about 6.5-6.7 mph for 30 minutes and then cool down with a brisk walk. Would this be considered HIIT or not? I'm usually soaked in sweat and have a nice pant going.

    I just want to get to the bottom line of whether or not that sort of cardio is doing my any good. If there's any validity to the idea that running for extended periods of time can burn muscle tissue then Ill just change my cardio to a one hour brisk walk or something.

    Apologies if I sound stupid, just really would like to get a better idea about this. Thanks.
    Depends what you mean by burning muscle. Your body is constantly "eatin up" and rebuilding tissue, including muscle. However, if the body feels it needs to keep the tissue to function at the optimal level, it will keep it or add to it. That's why lifting is important. Lifting convinces your body to keep the muscle it has so it can handle the lifts. If all you do is run 30 minutes a day, yes, you'll probably lose some muscle (for an exaggerated example, think of the body type of a marathon runner). The cardio is doing you good though, in terms of fat loss.

    HIIT is High Intensity Interval Training, so a constant pace for 30 minutes wouldn't qualify. I would imagine the stickies would have some good HIIT workouts.
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  3. #3
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    What are you expecting from it, thats the question. If you are expecting fat loss, it wont do anything for that unless you dont eat the calories back, you will just get more efficient at running, deficit and crappy nutrition makes you lose muscle. Running for extended periods (30 mins is super short) WILL eat away at recovery and muscle mass over time, period. It will make the adaptations necessary to become more efficient, and it certainly doesnt need a ton of muscle mass slowing it down, but you can minimize it with recovery and lifting.
    If you are running at that pace and only covering about 3 miles (from your speed and time spent), that is an extremely slow running time and pace so you have nothing to worry about, once you start getting to double digit mileage and increase the frequency, nutrition is even more important.

    HIIT on your feet is sprinting however.
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  4. #4
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    HIIT= High Intensity Interval Training.

    30 minutes of jogging is liss or miss. Sprinting 40yd walking back and doing it again is hiit.

    Cardio won't cause muscle loss unless it hinders your gym intensity, hinders your recovery, or causes you to be in a crazy deficit.
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  5. #5
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    As others have said, what you are doing is not HIIT.

    However, even so, I would make sure that you get adequate rest and protein if you're doing this.

    Are you lifting weights in addition to this? Because if you are, I did the same and my results were impacted by the fact that I wasn't getting enough rest and nutrition.
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    Thanks for the replies, appreciate it.

    I eat at a steady deficit at or under 1720 calories per day, get at least 180-200g of protein daily, and try my best to hit my fats as well.

    I do weight training 3x a week (various upper body/ chest exercises with dumb bells) and get some core work in on my lifting days. Only been hitting the gym religiously for almost a month now, but have lost over six pounds and am starting to see hints of upper body definition. Will be beginning a more traditional lifting program with compound exercises this week.

    The cardio I've been doing only with the goal of widening my caloric deficit and strengthening my habit/ discipline of hitting the gym. Looks like Ill keep this pattern going as long as it doesn't impede/ get in the way of my recovery time. Thanks!
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  7. #7
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    Your body doesn't use protein or muscle for an energy source unless nothing else is there to provide energy. So technically you can burn muscle but if you are actually eating the way you are suppose too, you won't.
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  8. #8
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    Originally Posted by MacDonald86 View Post
    Thanks for the replies, appreciate it.

    I eat at a steady deficit at or under 1720 calories per day, get at least 180-200g of protein daily, and try my best to hit my fats as well.

    I do weight training 3x a week (various upper body/ chest exercises with dumb bells) and get some core work in on my lifting days. Only been hitting the gym religiously for almost a month now, but have lost over six pounds and am starting to see hints of upper body definition. Will be beginning a more traditional lifting program with compound exercises this week.

    The cardio I've been doing only with the goal of widening my caloric deficit and strengthening my habit/ discipline of hitting the gym. Looks like Ill keep this pattern going as long as it doesn't impede/ get in the way of my recovery time. Thanks!
    the cardio you're doing is not enough to hinder muscle recovery, but with the low amount of cals you're eating, it's possible that once you start with a REAL training program that you could lose potential gains.

    do you have a gym membership or what? why aren't you doing squats? you're going to find quickly that someone your size eating what you're eating every day is likely NOT going to fuel you enough for the intensity required from true compound based training.

    first thing i'd do is make sure you're on a good lifting program...not an upper body (which for most new guys means lots of chest and biceps) and core 3x a week program coupled with cardio...squats/deads/bench/pull ups/rows/calf raises...all should be in your program.

    then i'd up your cals accordingly. someone your height and weight doesn't even need to go under 2000 cals a day for a good cut.
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  9. #9
    Registered User MacDonald86's Avatar
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    I've been putting off a legit program due to a mix of not having a spotter/ fear of the unknown. Never done proper squats or dead lifts, and to be honest a little intimidated by them cuz I don't have the best back.

    My gym ran a promo for three hour long sessions with a personal trainer, so I hopped on that with the express purpose of learning proper form on dead lifts/ squats and safe way of benching solo. Looking forward to my first session this Thursday.
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  10. #10
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    Originally Posted by MacDonald86 View Post
    I've been putting off a legit program due to a mix of not having a spotter/ fear of the unknown. Never done proper squats or dead lifts, and to be honest a little intimidated by them cuz I don't have the best back.

    My gym ran a promo for three hour long sessions with a personal trainer, so I hopped on that with the express purpose of learning proper form on dead lifts/ squats and safe way of benching solo. Looking forward to my first session this Thursday.
    That's a good plan. You can also watch these: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=...view=playlists
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    Originally Posted by MacDonald86 View Post
    I've been putting off a legit program due to a mix of not having a spotter/ fear of the unknown. Never done proper squats or dead lifts, and to be honest a little intimidated by them cuz I don't have the best back.

    My gym ran a promo for three hour long sessions with a personal trainer, so I hopped on that with the express purpose of learning proper form on dead lifts/ squats and safe way of benching solo. Looking forward to my first session this Thursday.
    just watch all the vids you can on proper form. 'so you think you can squat' is the first vid(s) i'd watch...great series on youtube.

    just keep in mind that when it comes to squatting and deads, those are the easiest exercises to safely dump weight on...so if you end up not being able to finish a rep it really isn't putting you in much danger b/c you either let go of the weight or tilt back just enough to let it roll off your traps...start light and work your way up, just like anything else.

    good luck.
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  12. #12
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    Oh, and definitely will be adjusting my caloric intake accordingly. Was beginning to feel it may be a bit low anyway. Thanks.
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    it more so burns a higher % of muscle glycogen as a fuel source. Thus if not replenished your muscles will shrink in fullness (loss of H20 and glycogen).
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    it more so burns a higher % of muscle glycogen as a fuel source. Thus if not replenished your muscles will shrink in fullness (loss of H20 and glycogen).
    Interesting. Any tips on mitigating this effect? If it has anything to do with drinking enough water, I get at least a gallon a day. Thanks.
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    Cardio is important for overall health, simply increase calories if you find you are not bulking fast enough or are cutting weight too fast.

    Problem solved.
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    Originally Posted by MacDonald86 View Post
    Interesting. Any tips on mitigating this effect? If it has anything to do with drinking enough water, I get at least a gallon a day. Thanks.
    Mother of god, don't worry about burning glycogen affecting your "fullness", that's so stupid it hurts.

    Jesus I don't think I can stand this forum for much longer, my head is going to explode.
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    Originally Posted by MacDonald86 View Post
    I've been putting off a legit program due to a mix of not having a spotter/ fear of the unknown. Never done proper squats or dead lifts, and to be honest a little intimidated by them cuz I don't have the best back.

    My gym ran a promo for three hour long sessions with a personal trainer, so I hopped on that with the express purpose of learning proper form on dead lifts/ squats and safe way of benching solo. Looking forward to my first session this Thursday.
    Just be aware that it totally depends on your gym whether the trainer can teach you that or not. When I did a trail with Lifetime Fitness, it seemed like all their "trainers" knew how to do was recommend circuit training - the machines being the most profitable for the gym.

    fyi, a lot of people buy the book "Starting Strength" to learn to squat - it lays out how to do the lift in step by step detail. They also have a dvd as well (though I'd buy the book first), or the youtube series you find searching for "squat rx" tells you a lot about how to do squats properly as well (or so I've read here, and it seems to match up with what I know from Starting Strength).

    You're totally right to be concerned about getting the form right. Only drawback is some trainers know what they're doing, others do not. :-(
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  18. #18
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    Had my first session today.

    This guy SEEMED to know what he was talking about on the squats/ lifts. Was very strict about my knees not jutting out past my toes, and kept telling me to focus on pushing my ass out and using my hips to come back up and push from my heels, no homo. If me totally ****ing sucking at the form my first time around is an indication that the PT knows what he's talking about then I should be on the right track, lol.
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    Serpentarius's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MacDonald86 View Post
    Had my first session today.

    This guy SEEMED to know what he was talking about on the squats/ lifts. Was very strict about my knees not jutting out past my toes, and kept telling me to focus on pushing my ass out and using my hips to come back up and push from my heels, no homo. If me totally ****ing sucking at the form my first time around is an indication that the PT knows what he's talking about then I should be on the right track, lol.
    http://vimeo.com/30763907
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yha2XAc2qu8

    on squats it helps imagine reversing your knees coming IN when coming back up after using hip drive coming out of the hole too. Just shove your knees out HARD so the knee tracks over your feet. Seriously 25 mins of your life to watch those 2 vids is worth it!
    There is always someone less fortunate, with real hunger, with real adversity, who made something of themselves. What is your excuse?
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    Registered User MacDonald86's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Serpentarius View Post
    http://vimeo.com/30763907
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yha2XAc2qu8

    on squats it helps imagine reversing your knees coming IN when coming back up after using hip drive coming out of the hole too. Just shove your knees out HARD so the knee tracks over your feet. Seriously 25 mins of your life to watch those 2 vids is worth it!
    Appreciate it, checking out both vids.
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