If Cardio alone doesn't build muscle...

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hermitthefrog
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Before everyone jumps on my throat, I'm not disputing the fact that cardio doesn't build muscle for a second. All I want to know is, when I cycle on a high resistance, or I'm on the rowing machine and I feel dat lactic acid burn, what exactly is happening to my body? I've read enough fitness threads on here to know that cardio doesn't build muscle and that you can't spot reduce fat, so I'm just wondering what it actually is doing to my muscles? If anything?

I've been eating at a deficit, doing cardio 3-4 times a week and bodyweight strength training twice a week hoping to eventually build up to the weights once I have lost a bit more fat. Anyway I have noticed my body feels tighter. Is this purely due to fat loss, because I don't really see how I could have gained any muscle under my current programme.

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jay2013
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(Original post by hermitthefrog)
Before everyone jumps on my throat, I'm not disputing the fact that cardio doesn't build muscle for a second. All I want to know is, when I cycle on a high resistance, or I'm on the rowing machine and I feel dat lactic acid burn, what exactly is happening to my body? I've read enough fitness threads on here to know that cardio doesn't build muscle and that you can't spot reduce fat, so I'm just wondering what it actually is doing to my muscles? If anything?

I've been eating at a deficit, doing cardio 3-4 times a week and bodyweight strength training twice a week hoping to eventually build up to the weights once I have lost a bit more fat. Anyway I have noticed my body feels tighter. Is this purely due to fat loss, because I don't really see how I could have gained any muscle under my current programme.

Thanks
What kind of cardio are you doing?
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hermitthefrog
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(Original post by jay2013)
What kind of cardio are you doing?
I try to vary it, outdoor running (short distance,5-6k), rowing machine, or on the bike I usually do HIIT and I also use the cross trainer. I'll try and mix it up and do one machine short and intense and the other I might go longer at a slightly slower pace to improve my endurance.
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Shawshank
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Probably doesn't answer your question in its entirety but this article has some interesting stuff seeing as you mention lactic acid.

http://www.eatmoveimprove.com/2009/1...t-lactic-acid/
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WC2011
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(Original post by hermitthefrog)
Before everyone jumps on my throat, I'm not disputing the fact that cardio doesn't build muscle for a second. All I want to know is, when I cycle on a high resistance, or I'm on the rowing machine and I feel dat lactic acid burn, what exactly is happening to my body? I've read enough fitness threads on here to know that cardio doesn't build muscle and that you can't spot reduce fat, so I'm just wondering what it actually is doing to my muscles? If anything?

I've been eating at a deficit, doing cardio 3-4 times a week and bodyweight strength training twice a week hoping to eventually build up to the weights once I have lost a bit more fat. Anyway I have noticed my body feels tighter. Is this purely due to fat loss, because I don't really see how I could have gained any muscle under my current programme.

Thanks
resistance excercise like on rowing, can build muscle. also remeber there are hundreds of diffrent 'muscles'. you can build muscle (core strength) doing yoga for example. bench press will work more obvious muscle groups. muscle growth isnt jsut down to excrsise its also down to diet, how many calories you eat, sleep etc.
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jay2013
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When doing low-intensity cardio (or aerobic exercise) your body will be oxidizing fat and carbohydrates. As you increase the duration you increase the contribution of fat and lower the contribution to carbohydrate in fueling your muscle contractions.

When doing high-intensity exercise (or anaerobic exercise) your body will predominately use carbohydrates. These carbohydrates primarily come from stored muscle glycogen but some of it may come from glucose in the liver and blood, especially if you've just eaten.

One of the by-products of high-intensity exercise is that you produce lactic acid. Lactic acid is formed when there are significant amounts of a substance called pyruvate, which are formed in glycolysis (a ten reaction process which converts one glucose to 2 three-carbon pyruvate). This lactic acid is important for maintaining high-intensity exercise because the formation of lactic acid allows NAD to be regenerated from NADH. The regeneration of NAD is very important as it is used during one of the ten reactions in glycolysis and therefore the regeneration of NAD allows glycolysis to continue for a short time and allows you to continue exercising.

This lactic acid, however, dissociates into a lactate ion and a hydrogen ion. Muscle performance is affected by increased levels of hydrogen ions and pH, which may affect muscle enzyme activity although this is still being researched.

Cut down the cardio to 2-3 times per week (a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 3) and increase your bodyweight strength training to 3 times per week with a rest day in between strength training days for physiological adaptions/recovery to occur. In terms of the type of cardio, variety is good but don't over do it. I advise you do HIT twice a week and then do some long-duration (e.g. 30-60 minutes) outdoor running at a low to moderate-intensity. Also if you have the option between running and cycling then pick running because running has been scientifically proven to be more effectively in lipid (fat) oxidation when compared to cycling.

Eat more regularly, but don't eat significantly less. By eating more regularly, you'll be increasing your metabolism. Try to eat every 2-3 hours. Cut down on the carbohydrates. Eat more protein - roughly 1-1.5g protein per kg of body weight otherwise you won't be building any muscle.

Yes, your body may feel tighter because you're eating a deficit, doing a lot of cardio and only doing body weight exercises.
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