Aerobic training or cardio training such as Jogging, cycling or even training on the cross trainer and conventional strength training , which is mainly done with free or stationary weights, are characterized by a big difference:
- The way in which our body provides the energy it needs for performance. Here we divide into anaerobic and aerobic training .
While in an (intensive) muscular hypertrophy training with weights, the focus is on the energy supply processes that can work with the exclusion of oxygen from the air (anaerobic energy supply ), the body is dependent on oxygen as a metabolic reactant during long-term, light exertion (cardio training). That doesn’t mean, of course, that you can hold your breath during strength training until you turn blue, while jogging you have to gasp for air nervously to survive the remaining meters to the ice cream parlor …
Aerobic training: the difference between cardio and muscle building
Let’s take a closer look at the difference between aerobic and anaerobic energy supply processes. In this way we can get a rough idea of why aerobic training on the treadmill, cross trainer or bicycle mainly burns fat and only builds a few muscles.
The energy supply of our muscles works primarily through the breakdown and subsequent resynthesis of ATP (adenosine tri phosphate) to ADP (adenosine di phosphate) and back again. This high-energy substance is the main energy carrier in our body. If we carry out an intensive muscle contraction (e.g. during weight training) or if we strain our muscles through long-term strain (e.g. when running), the energy stored in ATP , etc. converted into kinetic energy (contraction) of our muscles. Only this process makes it possible to lift dumbbells or to torture the treadmill.
The amount of ATP that can be stored in our muscles, however, is very limited. Ergo, only a small amount of energy can be “temporarily stored” in the muscles, which can be accessed in the event of physical strain. The essential load difference between muscle building and cardio training consists in the way in which the ATP is re-synthesized and is available again as an energy source for the metabolism. We save the chemical details at this point for the sake of clarity.
- Energy metabolism when building muscles (anaerobic load): If the energy-supplying ATP is reduced to ADP during muscle contraction (it releases energy and a phosphate group, among other things, therefore: Di-phosphate -> Di = two), the ADP could under normal circumstances be re-synthesized to ATP through the breakdown of other energy-rich substrates (e.g. carbohydrates or fats), “supplement” the missing phosphate group and provide energy again. The supply of ATP is normally only sufficient for a contraction period of around 2-8 seconds before the primary energy supply has to be switched to another variant. The most effective variant, however, is the anaerobic lactic acid (a metabolism from glycogen, i.e. carbohydrates) or the anaerobic alactic acid variant, in which the phosphate group from the creatine phosphate increases the missing phosphate group of the ADP. Creatine comes e.g. more in red meat or can be supplemented.
- Energy metabolism during endurance training (aerobic exercise):If physical stress is carried out over a long period of time with low basic intensity using primary muscle groups (legs, upper body, etc.), we speak of endurance sports such as cycling, jogging or swimming. Since the long-term energy supply here cannot take place via the breakdown of creatine phosphate or glycogen or is not very effective, the body converts its energy supply to aerobic processes in which the Oxidation of fatty acids (= fat burning) is the focus. Because the body’s need for oxygen is significantly increased due to increased aerobic oxidation (reaction under the influence of oxygen), the cardiovascular system is heavily challenged in endurance sports. In the long term, cardio training not only optimizes fat burning, but also increases basic endurance and the performance of the cardiovascular system.
Cardio training and losing weight with the cross trainer
Training with the cross trainer is also one of the endurance sports, regardless of the intensity level of the actual training or the respective device, and thus primarily promotes the loss of fat (fat burning). Thus, the cross trainer can be integrated very effectively into a targeted fat burning training and specifically support weight loss.
How can I lose weight with the cross trainer?
There are many myths about various intensity ranges in which fat burning should be most effective. It doesn’t really matter in which range of the heart rate the cardio training is done, if it is primarily about the extent of fatty acid oxidation (fat burning).
This is particularly due to the fact that all energy supply processes are never 100% self-sufficient. At any point in time during physical exertion, the metabolism generates the energy necessary for performance from anaerobic and aerobic energy supply processes . Only the relative energy yield is shifted depending on the type of stress. In strength training, for example, the creatine and glycogen reserves are increasingly used for ATP resynthesis, while with long-term exercise of the same intensity (i.e. cardio training) predominantly carbohydrates or fatty acids are oxidized. Proteins are mostly only used for energy production in a clearly catabolic state of metabolism, which can occur after very long strength training units.
If you want to lose weight with the cross trainer, you should choose a training intensity that can be sustained over a training interval of 30-45 minutes.
Short breaks or a short-term reduced intensity promote the oxidation of carbohydrates, while constant or progressively increasing intensity promotes the oxidation of fatty acids. And after all, we want to lose weight, right?
Which muscles does the cross trainer train?
Primarily the buttocks and leg muscles are trained with the cross trainer. In addition, increased stress on the shoulder, back, and arm and chest or abdominal muscles can be measured. However, the load is not enough for intensive muscle stimulation, but it increases the total energy expenditure of the respective athlete quite effectively. Thus, cross training can trigger an energy consumption comparable to jogging, while joints and ligaments are largely spared due to the lack of shock load and dynamic movement.
The intensity makes the difference
We preach again and again that aerobic training is an incredibly useful addition to classic muscle building training (anaerobic training) if you want to not only build muscle specifically, but also burn fat. At this point, too, of course, we do not forego this almost “fitness-religious” sermon.
Not all athletes (or everyone who wants to become one) have the time or inclination to do 3-4 workouts of strength training followed by cardio in the overcrowded and poorly air-conditioned gym to avoid being questionable during the sweaty workout To shower entertainment programs on dusty TVs.
Those who decide to do their aerobic training in their own four walls in order to create a more comfortable training atmosphere for the cardio unit, you should act very carefully when choosing the appropriate training equipment.
Especially before investing in a cross trainer , many questions have to be answered so that the device can be tailored to personal goals and needs. Factors such as body size, weight, age or training experience should definitely be taken into account when selecting the training device. An excellent point of contact for information on the subject of cardio training in the home fitness room are e.g. meaningful elliptical cross trainer reviews.
Can I build muscles with the cross trainer?
Aerobic training with the cross trainer primarily serves to burn fat and optimize the cardiovascular system. A noticeable muscle hypertrophy can be seen in very untrained athletes at the beginning, but it almost completely sets in after a few training units. For targeted muscle building, a conventional 2-split or 3-split training plan should ideally be used. These training plans take conventional hypertrophy factors into account and promote muscle growth through a much more intense and stronger stimulation of the muscle groups.