Cardio Fitness

When Does Cardio Start Burning Muscle – Need To know

When Does Cardio Start Burning Muscles

If you are looking about does cardio make you lose muscle? then read further to know about your question. Cardio is an amazing way to burn your calories and become fit. You can lose fat fast and can have hot-looking cuts all over your body. However, what everyone does not know is that when you put your body through tough cardio you may end up losing gains. So, when does cardio start burning muscle? Cardio burns muscle but only if you are not doing sufficient weight training or increasing your workouts with a nourishing diet. Cardio does not automatically burn your muscle. Cardio muscle loss may occur due to doing it excessively, doing cardio before heavy weight training, or doing high-intensity cardio.

 What you should also know is that there are ways in which with cardio, the muscle can be maintained. There are various ways to achieve this. What you should also know is that overdoing any exercise may result in muscle shrink, hence, it is important to work on these exercises gradually and first let your body get used to them. To maintain the same muscle mass, you should follow a cardio routine in which you perform this exercise for no more than fifteen minutes. This way you can do cardio without losing muscle.

When Does Cardio Start Burning MuscleHow Much Cardio Should I Do To Avoid Losing Muscle

How Much Cardio Should I Do To Avoid Losing Muscle

First of all, you should know that there are various ways to achieve this. Yes, it is true that excessive cardio kills gains. You should know that the cardio burns muscle myth is true; however, if conducted properly, cardio is an amazing way to maintain and keep your body conditioned. So, the big question arises, how does cardio avoid muscle loss? Well, there are three ways: 

  1. Anaerobic Alactic: This way of exercising delivers massive energy spurts in brief periods of time, that is about 20 seconds to improve your maximum strength, speed, and/or control. It does not utilize oxygen or produce lactic acid; as soon as the 20 seconds are up, regardless, the anaerobic lactic system kicks in.
  2. Anaerobic Lactic: This way of exercising delivers energy for activities lasting up to a minute. It does not require the use of oxygen, however, it does create lactic acid.
  3. Aerobic: This way of exercising delivers energy for longer periods of activity by utilizing carbs, amino acids, and fatty acids. It demands oxygen and can produce lactic acid depending on the vigour. 

 Following any of these ways can help you maintain your muscle mass. 

 How To Know You May Be Losing Muscle

When Does Cardio Start Burning Muscle

Cardio lose muscle also known as muscle atrophy means the thinning or loss of muscle. The signs you are losing muscles vary depending on the reason for your situation. The most prominent sign of muscle atrophy is decreased muscle mass. Further signs of muscle atrophy include: One arm or one leg is smaller than the other, Weakness in one arm and or one leg, Numbness or tingling in your arms and legs, Trouble walking or balancing, Difficulty swallowing or speaking, Facial weakness, Gradual memory loss. 

Benefits Of Cardio

  1. Gets Your Blood Pumping: Cardio can improve heart health by reducing cholesterol levels and decreasing your risk of heart disease.  
  2. Lowers Your Blood Pressure: According to research conducted in 2015, training is key to treating and stopping hypertension (also known as high blood pressure). Hypertension can lead to heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, heart failure, and even dementia. 
  3. Strengthens Your Immune System: Want to beat cold this time? You are in for a treat. According to 2020 research, standard exercise such as cardio is helpful for the immune system. Getting your exercise on also helps keep your blood cells and cytokines (a sort of protein) healthy. Both of these elements are essential to immune system regulation. 
  4. Improves Your Sleep: It probably does not come as a shock that tuckering yourself out on the treadmill can make you more sleepy come sundown. According to many types of research, even a small amount of exercise can help you with good sleep. 
  5. Supports Your Mental Health: Many people feel sunnier after sweating it out. Training forces your body to release endorphins, these are the hormones that give you those happy, euphoric feel. This praising effect has even been approved by multiple scientific studies. According to a 2019 review, physical exercise like cardio can help treat symptoms of significant depression. 
  6. Regulates Your Blood Sugar: Is your blood sugar going up to the sky? A trip to the gym just might be what you need. In a 2013 research on people with type 2 diabetes, researchers discovered that cardio training enabled participants to regulate their insulin levels, decrease their blood sugar, and maintain a healthy weight. 

What Causes Muscle Atrophy

What Causes Muscle Atrophy

The reason for muscle atrophy relies on the type of muscle you have. Disuse atrophy is induced by not utilizing your muscles sufficiently. If you cease using your muscles, your body will not waste the energy it requires to take care of them. Rather, your body will begin to break your muscles down, which forces them to reduce in size and strength. Disuse atrophy may impact you if you: lead a sedentary lifestyle, are malnourished, do not do enough exercise, sit at a desk job throughout the day, are on bed rest, have a genetic disorder such as muscular dystrophy or Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, are unable to move your limbs because of a stroke or additional conditions such as dermatomyositis, and have age-related atrophy (sarcopenia). 

Neurogenic atrophy is driven by a wound or condition affecting nerves that relate to your muscles. When these nerves are injured, they can not trigger the muscle contractions that are needed to stimulate muscle activity. When your muscles do not contract, your body thinks you do not require them anymore. So your body starts breaking them down, which causes them to diminish in size and power. Diseases and other conditions that can influence these nerves include Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Guillain-Barre syndrome, Carpal tunnel syndrome, Polio, Spinal cord injury, and Multiple sclerosis. 

Does Cardio Burn Or Build Muscle

Does Cardio Burn Or Build Muscle

When it comes to gaining tissue, losing tissue, and/or maintaining tissue, it all falls down to calories. For you to lose tissue, you must follow a caloric deficit (burning more calories than you take in), and if you want to gain tissue, you must follow a high calorie intake  which means taking in more calories than you burn. When it comes down to maintaining muscle, your calories should be at what we usually like to call a “maintenance” level to where your body weight, body fat, and muscle mass stay close. So, it comes down to this question, how can cardio affect this? Does cardio after lifting kill grains?

Cardio, an aerobic exercise, is a great means to use to burn calories. Due to this calorie burn, cardio is usually referred to with the loss of body fat and also with muscle mass. But, can you jog and still maintain your hard-earned muscle? The straightforward answer is: yes, as long as your calories are kept near constant and the proper type of cardio is done! 

If you love jogging and it is a part of your daily life or you are using it to improve your cardiovascular health, then you need to make certain you are taking in sufficient calories to make up for the deficit made by that level of exercise. Excessive cardio and not enough intake of calories will lead to a loss of muscle mass and fat mass as well. Keep in mind that when you lose muscle mass, your natural basal metabolic rate hinders, which means you will burn fewer calories each day. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, cardio can burn muscle but only if you are not doing sufficient weight training or increasing your exercises with a healthy diet. Cardio does not just on its own burn your muscle. Though it can burn muscle if you do it excessively, do it before you have your weight training exercises, or do high-intensity cardio. 
Go for a healthy, fast walk on an incline on a treadmill, a light jog, or cycle for 20-30 minutes. Pursue mobility-focused training. BONUS: Further add a bit of cardio into your power routine by doing sprints after your warmup before you hit the weights. 
If you take a few weeks off from working out, your muscle strength will not take much of a hit, meaning it will not decrease much. We know that skeletal muscular strength stays nearly constant during a month of not exercising. Nevertheless, as mentioned above, athletes can begin losing muscles after three weeks of inaction. 


Too much cardio and muscle loss are what you feared? Well after reading this article you know exactly the kind of exercise you require to maintain your muscle mass. If you fear a loss in your gains, you now know either to increase your calorie intake or to lessen up on your cardio, so that your muscle mass does not reduce. 

About the author

Amelia Robert

My name is Amelia Robert, and I am the co-founder and author of the website For the past seven years, I’ve been a certified personal trainer. I am really passionate about assisting women and men in achieving sustainability and happiness in their lifestyles, all while making progress in their own fitness journeys! My goal is to deliver the most accurate information in a way that motivates you to take an active role in your health and fitness journey.

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