One of the reasons most people engage in cardiovascular activities is because they burn fat. And they do a good job of it too. But, is it possible that cardio can burn something that you’re trying to get more of instead, something that is actually good for you—namely, muscle?
Typically, as long as you’re working out at low to moderate intensity levels for shorter periods of time (like less than an hour), burning muscle versus fat isn’t likely to happen. This is due to your body being fairly efficient at using your energy stores to fuel your exercise session. However, if you typically engage in long-lasting, intense exercises sessions, then it is possible that your muscles could be in jeopardy.
Once all of your stored carbohydrates and proteins have been used, your body is going to look for other energy sources to help you keep going. Since your muscle tissue is actually comprised of protein, it’s only logical that this would be an alternative that your body would consider.
Of course, you don’t want this to happen as muscle is necessary to staying strong and able to handle all of your everyday responsibilities in addition to your workouts. Plus, the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism all day long, so gaining muscle is one very effective way to turn your body into a fat burning machine even when you’re relaxing and enjoying life.
How can you tell if your body is burning more muscle than fat? One sign is being light-headed or dizzy. Another is to pay attention to your measurements and body fat percentage to see if they’re shrinking or growing.
To avoid losing muscle versus fat, make sure you eat a small snack every so often during longer and more intense workouts to replenish your carbohydrate stores and give your body fuel so it doesn’t have to rely on your muscles to keep going. Some options to consider include half a piece of fruit or some dried fruit pieces.
What have you found to be true for you in regard to burning more muscle than fat?