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How to Turn Cardio into Muscle-Building

Training for a 10k or a triathlon, but want to skip the super-skinny look? Here are Get-Fit Guy's tips for combining cardio with muscle-building.

By
Ben Greenfield,
August 1, 2014

Turn Cardio Into MuscleIt’s probably not news to you that running on a treadmill or riding a bicycle isn’t the fastest way to build muscle. Let’s just say, though, that you’re training for a 10K, a marathon, a triathlon or some other event for which you need to be doing lots of cardio, but you don’t want to get a super-skinny, emaciated look. You want curves, tone, and a bit of muscle to go along with your big lungs!

Here are three quick tips for turning cardio into muscle building:

1) Eat amino acids. A recent study investigated cyclists who exercised for 100 minutes on the bicycle, and discovered that post-workout protein synthesis (which directly affects your ability to build muscle or keep from breaking down too much muscle) can be increased by consuming 20-30 grams of protein in the first 90 minutes after the workout. So eat fish, meat, protein powders, or whatever else it takes to get protein into your muscles, either before or after your workout.

2) Use resistance. I recommend wearing a weighted vest, running uphill, cycling against a harder resistance, using swim fins and swim paddles and trying as much as possible to make your muscles work harder and create more force during your cardio workout, rather than just working against your own body weight or against light resistance.

3) Limit the long stuff. You only need one long cardio session (e.g. that two-hour run or four-hour bike ride) about once every two to three weeks, when preparing for competitive endurance events, but many enthusiasts spend each and every entire weekend engaged in these type of activities. Instead, try high-intensity interval training, which you can read about here.

Do you have more questions about how to turn cardio into muscle building? Leave your thoughts over at http://www.Facebook.com/GetFitGuy.

International marathon runner image courtesy of Shutterstock

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