Muscle Size vs Endurance Training

Understanding your health and physique goals and programming to those goals is very important.

I am not the fastest and I am not a body builder, but I have achieved most of my health and physique goals.

There is a balance in my training between endurance and resistance training to achieve those goals. I want heart health, weight loss and a muscular physique. At the same time, I want to eat the foods I love.

So, I can’t over index on endurance training if I want continuing muscle growth. Yet, for cardiovascular health and an efficiently running “motor”, I need the aerobic endurance training.

Below us an excerpt from a really boring study to help us all understand this.

Chronic endurance/aerobic training, in the absence of regular anaerobic training (e.g. resistance training and/or high intensity interval training) provides ONLY a catabolic stimulus to the body. It does not provide an anabolic (muscle building) stimulus.

There also seems to be an inverse relationship between endurance and both muscle hypertrophy and rate of force production (i.e. you aren’t going to get bigger and stronger by engaging only in endurance training — the opposite will occur).

This is partly because muscle fibers adapt by becoming smaller in size so that, along with an increase in mitrochondrial and capillary density and function, there is less muscle mass for oxygen to diffuse through to enter the cells, which assists in allowing the muscles to be much more efficient in consuming oxygen and increasing aerobic capacity — oxygen can get into the cells more quickly.

What are your thoughts on this? Are you pushing aerobic training too much? Maybe you are hitting the resistance training and forgot about the health benefits of aerobic exercise?

Do you need guidance on creating an exercise plan to meet your goal? If so, set up a call with me to get started.

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