How To Build Muscle as a Runner
Can one be both a runner and build muscle? Of course, it is! If you are adhering to a bodybuilding program and you make certain you eat properly, you should be able to put on lean muscle mass without any issues; it can be achieved by careful planning as well as a bit of basic computation. If I, who am not proficient in math, can do it, you will be able to as well.
The rules of thermodynamics are fundamental for putting on and taking off weight. If your calorie consumption is equivalent to the energy you are expending, then you will stay at your current weight. If you eat more than your body needs, you will put on weight, and if you consume less than it needs, you will drop pounds. It’s that simple (kind of).
A common misbelief that is spreading around is that you are unable to gain muscle if you are in a caloric deficit, except for when you are either a beginner at exercise or one of the people with naturally superior genetics. It becomes increasingly difficult (in particular when you reach lower body fat and develop more slim muscle mass) to increase muscle mass when burning more energy than one consumes; however, this is plausible, though it requires more effort and progression is slower.
If you’re incorporating longer sessions into your exercise routine, it’s essential to monitor how many calories you’re expending. I take an educated guess on MyFitnessPal regarding how many calories I expend depending on my pace and the amount of time I spend exercising. This method isn’t perfect, but nothing is. Let’s go through a step-by-step process on how to do this:
1. Calculate your maintenance calories
You can roughly guess this from a calorie calculator. Calorie calculators may not always be 100 percent accurate, but they can provide a reasonable place to begin. A good approach to determining the number of calories you should consume daily to maintain your current weight is to track all food and drinks consumed and any changes in weight on a daily basis for no less than one week, without making considerable alterations to your exercise regimen or eating habits.
After that, obtain the average of your meals each week – if there has been a decline in your weight, you must be eating fewer calories than your body requires to sustain itself. If you are putting on weight, it means that you are consuming more than what is needed to maintain your current physique. If you stay at the same weight, then congratulations! You’ve found your maintenance calories.
2. Adjust your calories to eat in a surplus
Once you have identified the number of calories you require for maintenance, make certain to consider the amount of energy burned from running when estimating your caloric requirements for the day. You should look at “bulking,” or gaining lean muscle mass, by consuming 10–20% more calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight.
Consume an amount of calories equal to your normal daily upkeep plus the calories used during your exercise routine, then add an extra 10–20% of calories on top. Confused yet? Have I totally lost you? Let’s slow it down with an example:
My weight is 139 pounds and I need about two thousand calories a day for my body to maintain its current condition. I expend about 500 calories daily when I go for a five-mile run. With this in mind, to figure out my surplus I’m going to take 2,000 x 10–20%:
Calories (2,000) x 10% = 200
Calories (2,000) x 20% = 400
I want to eat more than 200–400 extra calories each day in order to slowly put on weight (hopefully mostly muscle). Thus, my caloric consumption should equal my everyday requirements plus the calories I use during exercise plus an additional amount.
I plan to select a diet with a moderate amount of fat to minimize any extra weight that might come with it. This is what it would look like:
I will need to consume 2,700 calories per day which includes 2,000 for maintenance, 500 burned from my run, and an additional 200.
Once you have calculated the number of calories you should be eating, the next step is to make sure you’re hitting your protein goals. This is a complicated matter, however, if you strive for a daily protein intake equivalent to 2 grams for every kg of body weight, you should be in a good position.
It is not essential to focus on the levels of carbohydrates and fat in a diet; it is essential to discover the best combination for you personally. To do this, you will need to experiment. Some individuals are more successful when they consume a diet rich in fat while others find success on a higher carbohydrate diet. To gain muscle, the essential factor to keep in mind is protein consumption.
4. Progressive training plan
The final step to increase muscle mass is to add a strength-training program that follows the concept of providing progressive overload. In general, to build muscle, your goal should be to do repetitions of 8–12 until reaching muscle fatigue. However, there are some circumstances in which this may not be the case.
Essentially, progressive overload requires gradually increasing the amount of weight, reducing the amount of rest between sets, and/or increasing the number of reps/amount of training volume from week to week in order to stimulate muscle growth.
Your muscles don’t actually grow in the gym. The time of relaxation is when the body is mending the damaged muscle fibers. The process is called muscular adaptation. If you’re looking in the mirror to check the results of your workout and seeing how “buffed up” you are, you should slow down a bit.
Rest is a vital ingredient in the mix. Though I don’t obey the counsel myself (I have been engaging in jogging daily for close to four years now), I do let my muscles rest from weight training. The type of rest I take is referred to as active recovery.
On the days following a major workout like a long run, high-intensity interval training, or a threshold/tempo run, I make a point of reducing my speed and exertion level significantly. Engaging in active recovery can be helpful in lessening lactic acid buildup, soothing aches, increasing circulation, and even augmenting pliancy.
Passive resting, or keeping the body in a still state, is not required for all situations. On your days off, you may still go for a stroll or take a bike ride in order to keep your muscles relaxed and flexible.
Running Programming For Lifters
When you practice from the comfort of your home, it can be tough staying on the regular workout split that you may have been used to in the gym – but if you’ve remained quite devoted, perhaps you have been pushing your legs more forcefully on particular days. It is best to avoid running a lot in the days before leg day so that your body is not still recovering from a run when it is time to work out your legs. Reversing your normal routine by doing a longer recovery run the day after a strenuous leg workout (in the gym or not) could speed up muscle recovery and allow you to return to squats faster.
Prior to incorporating either sprints or hill runs in your program, it is important to increase the intensity gradually. For a minimum of two weeks, engage in running with perfect posture before you begin motioning faster or doing hill drills. Establish a sound basis for aerobic fitness. When you’re prepared, approach these days like leg days – when you exert maximum effort, as with sprints and climbs, you’ll need to allow your muscles and your central nervous system to rest. To ensure that you make the most of your week and get a lot done, you could try undertaking some fast-tempo or hill running immediately after engaging in intense lower-body exercises on the same day. By doing so, you will be able to recover from both simultaneously. Before trying this, ensure you have properly warmed up your body, which includes stretching and doing mobility exercises.
Be mindful when programming that the same thing which could be considered long-term for you may be short-term for another person and that is perfectly alright. If running a mile is too strenuous for you, then don’t compare yourself to other people — just go at your own speed and listen to your body. It’s okay if someone else’s warmup is your sprint. Be accepting of your present physical state and you will make progress over the course of time.
Seeking to preserve muscle mass while engaging in running? You must ensure your body is being provided with the correct nutrients. Direct your consumption of protein in the same way that you would when exercising – your muscles still need nourishment, particularly now that you have widened your activities to include weightlifting and jogging.
Keep Strength Training
If you don’t have any means to visit the gym, you may not be able to maintain the strength and muscle mass you had obtained due to the lack of weight training.
But the losses don’t have to be dramatic.
When you begin to include running in your strength exercises, it is essential to keep up your strength regimen. While you have access to the gym, that provides you the opportunity to do your “big three” exercises (the “bench press, the “squat” and the “deadlift”) as well as overhead presses. Staying at home may include doing some offbeat tasks such as stocking up your knapsack with college textbooks, cranking out some pushups, as well as doing inverted rows using a sheet connected to a doorway. If your head doesn’t loom over your neighbors, you can also do some plyometric exercises. If you dwell in a place with people living below, use pacing to simulate plyometric activities – instead of a jump, hold a squat for a four or five count at a steady and slow rate, then push yourself up rapidly, potentially rising to your points.
No matter the condition of your strength training routine (luckily, you can still get hold of a kettlebell even amid the pandemic), it is important to maintain it while you go for a jog. Be wise when dealing with programming, and ensure that you schedule enough time and resources to reverse any undesired outcomes of your coding. Enjoy yourself while exploring firsthand what your body is capable of while maintaining strength training as an integral part of your routine.
Especially if you are only beginning to develop your fitness and aerobics, it is not a good idea to locate the most extreme hill nearby and start climbing. It is in your best interest to avoid lifting too heavy weights and to focus on your gains and muscular development instead of risking injury that makes it impossible to continue strength training.
If you feel like you are physically prepared and capable, you can do a jogging session on a hill. This can be done as long as you can run steadily on level terrain for the duration of 15 to 20 minutes without excessive shortness of breath. Following a warm-up, climb the hill at a brisk rate (consider how to rate a 6 or 7 on a Rate of Perceived Exertion scale) for 45 seconds. Stroll slowly, controlling your heart rate by standing up straight, breathing in deeply, and exhaling through your nostrils. Come back uphill over the course of 15 seconds, feeling like you are putting in an exertion level that is around an 8 or 9 out of 10. Rinse and repeat four times per interval.
This is a type of training session tailored to help build your leg muscles, in the same vein as sprints — use it as an opportunity to concentrate on your lower body and make sure you take the necessary time to rest afterwards. This will be an uncomplicated task to maintain and even raise the amount of muscle mass, but it should not be done daily. Interval jogging will help enhance your capability, which will eventually help increase your muscular strength in the long run. Gradually increase the intensity and allow yourself plenty of time for recuperation.
As a lifter, you might feel daunted by the thought of running fast – since let’s be realistic, you typically regard a session of eight cardio reps.
Fartlek runs provide an excellent introduction to sprinting. They involve a combination of quick, intensive paces and slower running times in the same session, allowing you to slowly increase the intensity of your runs. When you have completed a warm-up, jog gently for approximately sixty seconds. Run with determination and effort for around sixty seconds. Degrade to a jog, then return to running. If you’d rather use the amount of time spent running as your measure, alternate from one minute of intense running to one minute of a slower tempo, then thirty seconds of strenuous running followed by thirty seconds of easing back, and so on. If you want to be more creative, tell yourself something along the lines of, “Alright, I’m going to sprint until I reach that stop sign,” then come up with something else depending on your location as you keep running.
For those of you who consider lifting to be dull, this is a terrific way to break away from being bored and enhance your muscle size concurrently due to the sprint requirements.
The Cardio “Kills Your Gains” Debate
It is commonly thought that performing a cardio exercise can reduce muscle growth. This sentence merits consideration, although it’s inconceivable to fully contemplate the degree of the effect it has on your achievement in a single word.
It has been considered for some time that combining endurance and strength training can interfere with muscle growth, which was publicized in research from 1980. For the last ten weeks, scientists have kept an eye on four men. One bunch just did strength exercises, the second combined bike riding and jogging on the treadmill, and the third combined resistance training with cardio.
The investigation ended by demonstrating that doing both strength and endurance training together “diminished the ability to acquire strength.” However, this examination was completed many moons ago and the participants who did cardio practiced it daily. Since then, a substantial amount of additional research has been conducted.
Recent research has demonstrated that including a reasonable quantity of aerobic exercise can actually increase muscle growth while working out. In contrast to the 1980s research, the focus here is on moderation.
A 2012 study that lasted 21 weeks examined the different effects of strength-only, endurance-only, and strength and endurance training on muscle gain in untrained males. The cohort including two days of stamina training and resistance training experienced an enlargement in their muscle bulk.
Although it should be taken into consideration, the increased endurance from the SE group had an unhelpful effect on the growth of forceful strength, when compared to training solely strength and endurance. To put it in simpler terms, cardio might impede some intense movements within the gym but our body’s potential to enhance muscle mass isn’t affected by routinely introducing cardio into our exercise schedule.