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How To Build Strong Rock Hard Muscle And Burn Fat Doing Cardio

Updated on March 1, 2013

Losing Muscle

Doing cardio can cause your body to burn muscle but so can weightlifting. If you exercise too much your muscles will suffer. It does not matter if you are lifting weights or doing cardio. You should pay attention to your body and give your muscles time to recover. It is difficult to accidentally overtrain. Your body will tell you if it needs more rest. If my muscles are still sore from the day before I will exercise different muscles or take time off. You should take a rest day at least once a week anyway.

Cardio exercises are popular with people attempting to lose a lot of weight. If you exercise a lot and deny your body the foods it needs your body may start to lose muscle. Weight lifters are less likely to be starving themselves. The main reason cardio is associated with muscle loss is because of poor eating habits. A bad diet can cause you to lose muscle. So you should maintain a healthy diet and avoid over training if you do not want to lose muscle.

You can also lose muscle from lack of use. To hold onto muscle you need to keep using it. So if I stop lifting heavy weights and replace it with bike riding I am going to lose muscle in some areas and gain it in others. The 'use it or lose it' phrase applies.


Burning Fat

Cardio exercise can burn a lot of fat. I can burn more fat doing intense cardio exercises than I can lifting weights. As you lose fat your muscles may look smaller because there is less fat over top of the muscle. That is another reason people think doing cardio will cause them to lose muscle. Weight lifers often put on some extra fat causing their muscles to look bigger.

Checking your muscle size when you are gaining or losing fat is like weighing yourself when you are wearing heavier or lighter clothes. Your muscles may appear to be smaller even if they have gotten bigger when you have lost fat. Just like you can appear to have lost weight by weighing yourself when you are wearing lighter clothes. So even if the muscle size does not change the people dieting and doing cardio appear to have smaller muscles and the weight lifters that are trying to put on weight appear to have bigger muscles.

Building Muscle

I know cardio works great for building muscle because my calf muscles are rock hard. A while after I started doing a lot of biking I noticed my calf muscles had gotten bigger and a lot harder. People can easily see that I have strong legs and if they felt my legs they would notice how hard my leg muscles are. My abdominal muscles also got pretty strong from doing cardio.

The trick to building muscle is to do exercises that require strength and continue to exceed your limits by improving. If you do cardio exercises like running, biking or swimming you are moving your whole body. It is easy to get really strong leg muscles using your body weight. For your arms you can punch, row a boat, use an exercise machine, etc. If you gradually increase the intensity or duration your muscles will become stronger. For bigger muscles do short intense exercises like sprinting or running uphill. Long workouts can give you really hard muscles but they will not be as big. For best results do both.

Biking for over 3 hours one day a week was enough to give me big rock hard calf muscles. It was not too much just because I did it for over 3 hours in one day. If you push yourself and give your body what it needs you can have rock hard muscles doing cardio. Just look at the pro athletes like boxers. Boxing is cardio and most of the training they do involves cardio exercises like jumping rope, running and hitting punching bags.


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