Anyone who wants to gain muscle mass has probably heard from someone, or read on a website, that you shouldn’t do aerobic exercises. But this is one of the main myths about hypertrophy, reveals Diogo Cirico, specialist in sports nutrition and technical responsible for Growth Supplements. The nutritionist, who is a coach of athletes at the Brazilian Bodybuilding Federation (IFBB Brasil), explains that combining cardiorespiratory exercises, such as running, walking and cycling, with weight training, can potentiate hypertrophy, which is the increase in muscle volume. “This type of exercise improves a number of factors that act by stimulating muscle responses. The uptake of glucose by the muscle, the increase in blood capillaries, the uptake and use of oxygen, the reduction in recovery time between weight training sets, among others, are factors that contribute to hypertrophy. In addition to these benefits that are reflected in athletic performance, doing cardio can result in prolonging the muscle mass gain phase,” he explains.
When our body increases peripheral glucose uptake, it improves energy delivery to the muscles, improves insulin sensitivity, among other benefits. “With this, the individual has more strength and disposition for training and still converts this glucose into muscles, not fat”, explains Diogo.
oxygen and energy
The increase in blood capillaries, explains the trainer, increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscle, which results in the production of adenosine triphosphate, known as ATP, the molecule responsible for being the energy source of the muscles. “When the muscle’s energy demand is not met, muscle fatigue occurs, the ‘fatigue’ that causes us to stop training,” he says.
Greater exercise-induced adaptations
Another reason to do aerobic exercises is the proliferation of satellite cells, which activate the muscle recovery process after a workout. “If I can recover muscle faster, I can train again at a shorter interval. Training more, I increase training volume and I can get a bigger response from the muscles”, he summarizes.
Winning phase duration
The phase of gaining muscle mass is called bulking, excessive consumption of kcal during this period in search of lean mass can lead to fat gain. The higher the percentage of fat, the lower the signaling for the production of proteins that lead to muscle gain. “People who do cardio regularly have better fatty acid oxidation and lower body fat percentage, which will allow them to continue bulking up for more months. And the longer I spend in this phase, the greater my muscle mass gain,” he points out.
shortness of breath
One of the big problems to obtain results is to respect the interval time determined in the training program. Performing a series of exercises during an intense weight training workout increases your heart rate because your body needs to take in more oxygen. When this happens, there is a reduction in motor capacity and the person loses strength. “That’s why when we finish a series, we get out of breath and need a break to get back to training. When I include a cardio exercise in my routine, I improve cardiorespiratory condition. With the return of normal heart rate more quickly, it is possible to make adequate intervals between sets, which increases the ability to stimulate the muscles”, he details.
Another reason to include that jog in the routine is the change in muscle fibers. “We have three types of fiber, type 1, type 2 A and type 2 B. Each one has a specific function within physical activity. Type 1 fiber, used during aerobic exercise, is fed with fatty acids (fat), which may be the localized one you want to get rid of. Type 2B fiber is used in fast, vigorous and short duration exercises, such as weight training. Type 2A fibers, also called mixed fibers, have a malleable behavior. If we do aerobic training, a run, for example, they can be transformed into type 1 fiber. If the exercise is strength, they are converted into type 2A fibers, making my training more effective. Doing cardio is a way to increase resistance for strength exercises, which will, in fact, increase muscle mass”, concludes Cirico.
** With information from the Advisory
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