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Running - Bad for cutting??

Discussion in 'Fat Loss/Cutting' started by Sebastiaan, Feb 12, 2006.

  1. Sebastiaan

    Sebastiaan Well-Known Member

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    Hello,
    I've searched and searched on this, so accept my apologies if this has been covered before.

    I've heard that running isn't optimal for cutting and retaining lean mass, i.e. it can cause more muscle catabolism than other forms of cardio, particularly in upper body muscle.

    Would this be the same for a slow jog staying in the 'fat burning' zone (65 - 75% MHR)?

    I really, really enjoy running, and am even considering participating in a few events this year, however I also don't want to hamper my physique building goals.

    If it is bad for retaining lean mass, what could I do to counter it? Drink a high GI carb/protein drink during & right after?

    Any advice appreciated as always :-)

    cheers

    Seb
     
  2. marcus

    marcus Well-Known Member

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    Hi Seb,

    Don't worry mate, jogging at about 65-75% MHR like you suggest would be fine. I also love jogging and would never give it up. I personally don't have any problems holding on to muscle mass. If you were a professional bodybuilder then you might want to give it a miss. But if you're just a normal joe wanting to get a good physique, jogging if fine. I'm not sure what your goals are, but look at AFL players, these guys do heaps of jogging and look at how much mass some of those guys have.
     
  3. levalution

    levalution Well-Known Member

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    question: BFL suggests HIIT training which is pretty challenging (3 times you are supposed to hit your absolute peak), would this promote muscle loss? should one stick to doing an extended cardio session for a longer period but at 60-75%?
     
  4. Skoorb

    Skoorb Well-Known Member

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    Marcus is spot-on. I think running is king for fat loss. Even doing up to 35-40 miles/week I didn't have any muscle loss up top. If you can resist the increase in appetite from the extra exertion, fat will fly away like crazy, too.
     
  5. marcus

    marcus Well-Known Member

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    This is a rather contentious issue. Many claim that you put yourself at greater risk of increased muscle catabolism when doing HIIT as compared to jogging (60-75%MHR). This isn't to say that you won't get great results doing HIIT. Opinions are certainly varied. I personally have had good results with jogging yet haven't had too much experience with HIIT. I definitely prefer jogging as it's better for your cardiovascular system and as some people claim is not as bad with regard to muscle catabolism. If you're unsure, try each method for a calculated period of time and make a judgement based on your progress.
     
  6. Skoorb

    Skoorb Well-Known Member

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    Also, a gentler pace would be better on the joints, as impact forces increase substantially as speed goes up, for most people.

    I have found that most people who go on about the catabolic effects of running haven't actually _tried it_; its effects are far milder than most realize, but they look at an elite marathoner and assume that it's an inevitable end-point of running, which it's not. I've done many runs, mostly in a "starved" state, and every week a 2+ hour run and was good-to-go!
     
  7. dodus

    dodus Well-Known Member

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    It's a no-brainer--you love doing it, and it's not exactly bad for you. It may be microscopically less effective for retaining muscle mass than other forms of cardio, but against the fact that you find it so enjoyable (IMO, if you find yourself enjoying any form of cardio, you are a lucky person--take advantage of it), I definitely wouldn't worry about it too much.
     
  8. marcus

    marcus Well-Known Member

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    Good point. Pushing your body that hard could cause problems. For example: I have a aortic valve heart murmur and while it's not serious, I've been advised by my cardiologist to avoid such intense activities as HIIT.


    Exactly. People are so focused on muscle these days. Plus it beats sitting on a bike in a gym. For me, running is also somewhat spiritual and about connecting with nature (or the concrete jungle:rolleyes: ). And even if I did lose a tiny bit of muscle mass, who cares, it's worth the sacrifice and with the help of muscle memory I can just put it back on during my next bulk.

    EDIT: :lol: :lol: I just saw your sig.
     
  9. karatetricker

    karatetricker Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the biggest debate in fat loss.

    I still don't know where I stand on this. I switch sides every other week. While I don't believe running will leave you with skin and bones if done fasted, I have seen many people, myself included, lose some degree of muscle mass utilizing this approach. It does however strip away fat, and lots of it, without question.

    I have switched to a low intensity cardio routine when cutting, but if I were to go running, I'd treat it pretty much like a lifting session as far as nutrition goes if my HR was staying above 80% the whole time. I would try and have some complex carbs/protein about 2 hrs prior and liquid carb/protein drink soon after.

    The truth is, there's only one way to find out how it will affect you, and that is to try it. I always prefer trying to "safer" method first (non-fasted high intensity cardio) and if you see no loss in muscle and not enough loss of fat, changing the nutritional approach.
     
  10. Skoorb

    Skoorb Well-Known Member

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    Running is awesome. Once a person's fitness is good enough that not every mile is a grind, running becomes excellent. There are thousands of distance runners and they're not psycho, as non-runners think! Running is a pure form of cardio and can be pretty relaxing. I love it.
     
  11. RM. Andersson

    RM. Andersson Well-Known Member

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    Running is not bad in general. But it can be if your goal is to build alot of muscle and size, including huge bodybuilder-size legs.

    If you train squats and other leg exercises several days/week running long distances every day will hurt your leg-muscels ability to recover. And specially your legs but sometimes your whole body will suffer from overtraining.

    However I´m not saying running is bad. It´s good for fatloss and it´s good for everyone that train for general fitness.

    It depends on what you want...it would be a mistake to claim that it´s good for everyone or bad for everyone. I did alot of running myself when I was younger and had other goals.
     
  12. Stark1327

    Stark1327 Well-Known Member

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    The cardiovascular health benefits alone make running a great addition to your fitness goals. I would think that would offset any anal (IMHO) concerns about miniscule muscle atrophy. I think someone not running because they feel like it will hurt there fitness goals, is someone who can't see the forest from the trees. There is more to good health than loosing weight.

    Now, if you are running 5 miles a day while eating only an apple and a can of tuna that is of course completely different. But don't let something like a phobia of muscle loss stop you from significantly improving your health via running.


     
  13. Skoorb

    Skoorb Well-Known Member

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    While we're promoting running, I've been weightlifting for over a decade. I do it purely for vanity and some half-assed health motivation, but there is no end in sight. There is no real objective goal. I'm as strong as I want to be (I'd like to throw 10-15% on my bench to hit 300 lbs, but that's the only thing I could think of caring about). I've been as thin as I wanted to be. It's something a person does, like saving for retirement, but it's in essence boring.

    When I got into running, the first time I entered a local 5k and did well, I was hooked. The satisfaction from not only seeing times decrease (similar to strength increase in weights) is that it's against other people. I had a competitive drive within that I did not know I had and it was never possible to satiate it with weight lifting. I'm not really built for running in an ideal sense, but have seen my speed increase significantly and have had that backed up by placing well in local races. So, not only does running encourage health and weight loss, but it offers more than that. It's pretty fun to put in some effort and then blast by somebody in the last 100 yards of a 10 mile race knowing that you beat them because you trained harder and pushed harder.

    For me, bodybuilding is like driving a toyota camry. It's a good car to get from A to B, but it's mundane and not terribly life-affirming. Running, and getting into racing a bit is like driving a car around a race track.
     
  14. jwdiho

    jwdiho Well-Known Member

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    From just personal experience, I've found running, especially training for long distance where you do one weight day per week or less, you definitely lose upper body muscle. The flip side is that BF drops and the muscle you do have looks better defined.

    Depending on the amount of hill training, your legs can actually get bigger. The year I ran my best marathon, my legs were very well defined. And as for calf definition, it was fantastic!
     
  15. Skoorb

    Skoorb Well-Known Member

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    Why cut the weights back that much, though? I continued lifting as frequently as when i was not running. My legs I cut back the amount I was doing and when I did do them I did pretty high reps, but my legs have always sucked. I believe BamaDave here, who is very fast, can squat 300+, so his legs are strong.

    The only time my calves have grown in the last 10 years is with running as well :)
     
  16. JeremyLikness

    JeremyLikness Well-Known Member

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    Naw, running is fine. It always kills me when people get so into the scientific details of optimal, this that, and show these scary studies or what not, instead of stepping back and just looking at practical, real world experience. Arnold Schwarzenegger preferred the bike but did his share of jogging, Frank Zane jogged 5 days out of a week and didn't appear to have an issue with muscle mass (he did win a Mr. Olympia) and I've known bodybuilders who jog 5 - 7 miles 5 days a week.

    Jeremy

     
  17. RM. Andersson

    RM. Andersson Well-Known Member

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    I would be very impressed if anyone that runs 5 miles every day could get really big. And I mean running 5 miles as fast as possible..Not walking or low intensity jogging.

    I dont believe it´s possible to run 5 miles/day and be lets say 230 lbs+ with low BF...

    However if your goal is to be 170 lbs and look lean and fit running and weight training might be a good combo...

    But your body will adapt to the training you do...If you train like a marathon runner you will look like a marathon runner...If you train bodybuilding you will look more like a bodybuilder(eventually if the diet is OK). If you do both you will look like "middle of the road". Lean and muscular..but not very big compared to someone that only focus on biggest possible muscles.

    It depends on your goal...and I dont think someone that wants to be 230+ with low BF should run 5 miles as fast as possible every day...Specially not if that person is bulking and trying to build muscle.
     
  18. Sebastiaan

    Sebastiaan Well-Known Member

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    Cool

    Thanks for all the responses everyone! :cool:

    I think i'll continue to include and enjoy jogging in my list of cario options. Fine, I won't ever look like Ronnie Coleman, but i don't want to either!

    Marcus, great point about the AFL players physiques!! As some of the bulkier AFL players physiques are probably the exact physique i'd be more than happy with!

    I'll play it safe though and make sure I have a nice Carb/Protein drink during/after to help stave off muscle catabolism.

    If I do fade away to a marathon runner style physique I guess i'll reconsider my stance :eek: ;)

    cheers

    Seb
     
  19. JeremyLikness

    JeremyLikness Well-Known Member

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    Well, let's put this in a bit of perspective. How many people do you know who are 230 pounds and low single digits body fat, whether they run or not? And, let's make it even more interesting, in the one sport that advocates maximum muscle with minimum body fat, how many people do you know who are professional NATURAL competitors (i.e. in the leagues that drug test and polygraph test) who are 230 pounds and low body fat? I don't think it has anything to do with running or not.

    As for building an impressive physique, absolutely there are plenty of examples! I worked with a guy who had 19" biceps (keep in mind he was only 5'6") and was huge, strong, and ran 5 miles per day.

    I think this whole process is being blown out of perspective. When you run, you breakdown tissue. When you weight train, you break down tissue. BOTH stimulate the same process. If you weight train, you stimulate growth provided you supply adequate rest and nutrieints.

    For some people, 5 miles a day would be too much. They either don't have the nutritional status or just aren't adapted to the routine to be able to recover. Certainly people who run 5 miles per day but DON'T lift won't be supplying the right stimulus to grow muscle. But someone who has adapted and is recovering and is getting adequate nutrition, no problem!

    As for whether it's a light jog or going high intensity, now THAT is something to consider. I'd be curious, too, to know if you could run extremely fast (competitively) for 5 miles and train every day and still build an impressive physique, as opposed to someone who is going on leisurely jogs.

    I would also agree if the goal is as much muscle gain as possible, then running intensely is only going to make it harder for the body to recover from the training. I always favored lower intensity cardio when I was focused on major muscle gain, and only went back to higher intensity when my focus shifted to fitness and health rather than having big muscles.

    Jeremy

     
  20. cajunman

    cajunman Well-Known Member

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    DO WHAT YOU ENJOY. If you “really, really enjoy running”, then DO IT. If you plan on entering races, then RUN. Better to do a form of cardio that you enjoy and will stick with, then doing something you don’t and won’t.

    Track your miles and times/intensities. Track your LBM and BF. If you’re losing LBM, decrease your volume of running and ease your calories upward every few days (especially after lifting). Get in touch with YOUR body, and what works for YOU. There may be a trade-off for you in terms of the amount of running you want to do and other goals - find out.

    For me, running kills my squat. My squat is more important to me than running. My time in the squat rack, time with the bar on my back, is more precious to me than time on the track. A bar on my back, and all is right with the world. That’s me. If you’d rather run, have at it.

    Hate to hammer on the laws of individual differences, but IMO, the questions people should ask are: how much muscle would I have if I never lifted a weight at all in my life, and how fat would I be if I never did any cardio? If you are naturally a big boy, you can probably do more running. If you are more of a skinny weed, or a skinny guy with a pot belly, you probably should avoid running. If you are a naturally fatter person, you will probably need to do more cardio and at a higher intensity. If you are naturally leaner, you can probably do less, less often, and easier. Key word being probably. You may be the rule, you may be the exception. Find out what works for you, and do the things you enjoy. (Just keep in mind, if you want to squat double or triple BW, and run 6 miles 3 times a week in under 40 minutes, you will have a helluva time hitting those goals simultaneously...adjust your fire accordingly.)

    (FWIW, I lift. The little lady's a runner. She's got a half-marathon and a marathon on her calendar, I've got a couple powerlifting meets and maybe a highland games and a strongman if I can find one (and a master's swimming possibly). Vive la diference! (Just don't try to drag me to the track!))
     

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