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Old 08-04-2010, 08:10 PM   #1
Randy Gurley
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Default Best ways to minimize muscle loss with High Intensity Cardio/Distance training

Hey guys, sorry if this has been addressed here as I may have missed some of the threads. I'm trying to figure out if what I've heard about both high intensity cardio and distance running on muscle loss is true, still questioning and breaking out of things I've read and been taught from various bodybuilding sites.
Anyways, I'm training for a marathon in November, and just got Daniels Running Formula. Since reading it, I've been doing some threshold training a few times a week to improve endurance, and some days of long distance running. Will both forms of running use muscle as fuel regardless of around workout nutrition? Will BCAA's really help minimize muscle loss? Sorry for a common question, I'd like to know the truth and it looks like people on here seem to know what they're talking about. Thanks.
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Old 08-04-2010, 09:44 PM   #2
Derek Weaver
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It really depends. If you eat enough, and maintain intensity in the weight room, in terms of weight on the bar, then you should be okay.

The energy balance equation holds true. If you eat enough to maintain weight, and keep to a low-ish volume, high intensity weight training plan, you should be able to spare any loss of muscle.

It is true though that marathon running, and the training that goes into it, does not really coincide with above average muscularity. Unless you're talking about Dean Karnazes or one of the other ultra runners. It seems like distance running is hindered by increased muscle mass to a point, then once you get into crazy stuff, increased muscle seems to help. Within reason of course.

What are some of your stats and numbers right now?
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Old 08-04-2010, 10:22 PM   #3
Steven Low
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Eat enough.. do a strength day once or twice a week.. you should be fine.
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Old 08-05-2010, 07:06 AM   #4
Randy Gurley
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Long story short, lots of cardio last year, no weight lifting, I was pathetic looking. Cut the cardio in March, started lifting, got lots of newbie gains and some muscle memory back. Reintroduced cardio in June, and my gains stopped. Maybe I should focus on maintaining what I have, instead of doing cardio and wanting gains in the weight room. My lifts are minor, bench is 155, back around 180 but I'm only 6 months into lifting. I don't do legs as the muscles will adapt to the longer distance running anyways, although I sometimes will work my ham's.
Thanks, I'll work on maintaining intensity in the weight room and eating enough then.
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Old 08-06-2010, 06:58 AM   #5
Darryl Shaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Gurley View Post
I'm training for a marathon in November, and just got Daniels Running Formula. Since reading it, I've been doing some threshold training a few times a week to improve endurance, and some days of long distance running. Will both forms of running use muscle as fuel regardless of around workout nutrition?
Short high intensity workouts do not generally use protein as significant source of fuel unless your total energy and/or carbohydrate intake is inadequate. The protein requirements of endurance athletes are increased slightly though because protein can provide up to ~10% of energy during endurance training/races as it's used as fuel once glycogen stores are depleted. The recommended protein intake for elite endurance athletes therefore is 1.5-1.8g/kg/d but as most Western diets that are adequate in calories provide more than this amount without the use of supplements it isn't something you should be too concerned with. It's also worth bearing in mind that the use of protein as fuel can be avoided or at least minimized to some degree if [a] adequate calories are consumed, [b] a high carbohydrate diet (6-10gCHO/kg/d) is habitually consumed to ensure that glycogen stores are topped up and [c] carbohydrates are consumed during training sessions and races that last longer than an hour.

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Will BCAA's really help minimize muscle loss? Sorry for a common question, I'd like to know the truth and it looks like people on here seem to know what they're talking about. Thanks.
No, calories, carbohydrates and strength training are what you need to prevent muscle loss and according to this paper (link) "the BCAA content of food proteins is about 15% of the total amino acid content" so a normal diet provides all you need and supplements are of no real benefit.
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Old 08-06-2010, 01:08 PM
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Old 08-06-2010, 03:33 PM   #7
Derek Weaver
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So is the consensus that he needs to eat enough and lift heavy a day or two per week? I'm not sure.

Sorry. I couldn't help myself.

Honestly though, I want to say that Mike Robertson had a blog post on strength training for endurance. He's big on injury avoidance and taking care to correct imbalances before they become serious problems.
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:23 AM   #8
Randy Gurley
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Hey, thanks guys. I've never really looked deep into the matter, my brother told me the other day that I need to stop doing cardio or I'll lose all my muscle. I knew he didn't know what he was talking about but I did believe cardio could affect muscle mass despite consuming adequate calories. FYI, I got the BCAA intake from reading some of Martin Berkhan's blog, my weekend runs are early morning and fasted and he advocates BCAA's during any type of fasted training. Thanks again.
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Old 08-08-2010, 11:25 PM   #9
Chris Butler
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Randy, I don't run marathons but I do a LOT of cardio!

In summer/fall I mountain bike, road bike, hike, sprint hills, backpack, climb,etc... In winter/spring I climb mountains and snowboard down them.
Probably 300+ days a year I do excessive amounts of cardio. Hours a day!

From Apr>Dec I lift 2-3x per week, just basics. Always power variations of Oly lifts.
From Dec>Apr I don't lift at all.

I came out the last ski season at 227lbs. , very lean. Right now I'm about 238lbs., pretty lean. Got abs.

I basically do what the above advice is saying.
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Old 08-13-2010, 04:41 AM   #10
Darryl Shaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Gurley View Post
Hey, thanks guys. I've never really looked deep into the matter, my brother told me the other day that I need to stop doing cardio or I'll lose all my muscle. I knew he didn't know what he was talking about but I did believe cardio could affect muscle mass despite consuming adequate calories. FYI, I got the BCAA intake from reading some of Martin Berkhan's blog, my weekend runs are early morning and fasted and he advocates BCAA's during any type of fasted training. Thanks again.
Fasted training is the exact opposite of what you should be doing if you want to avoid losing muscle.
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