Can Runners Gain Muscle Mass?

You’ve seen the rail-thin runners at the elite level but that's not your aspiration. You like running but you actually want to put some muscle on.

You’ve seen the rail-thin runners at the elite level but that's not your aspiration. You like running but you actually want to put some muscle on. Well, I'm Jesse Funk and on today's episode of Runner's High, we're gonna talk about how yes, you can put muscle on while you're running and how to do that.

First of all, I want to start off by saying that your body shape and size is in some part limited by your genetic potential. There are some body types you're just not going to achieve because that's not what you're built for. I've run for me, the vast majority of my life so I'm pretty thin. But say I wanted to be as big as Arnold back in his bodybuilding days. I could spend hours and hours and hours in the gym and not get there without the help of steroids. And maybe even with help with steroids, I’m probably not going to get there, and that has to do with your genetic potential.

So, now that we got that out of the way, remember that there are some aspects that you may not be able to get to just because of who you are, which is okay. I'm a big fan of accentuating kind of your own unique take on who you are. So, now that we're past that disclaimer, how do you actually put muscle on as a runner? If you're looking to gain muscle, a good place to hang out are the bodybuilding forums, but as a runner, you may feel a little bit out of place. That being said, they know a lot about gaining muscle. And the number one way I often see prescribed to gain muscle is lift heavy weights.

Well, if you're not in the gym doing this, that's kind of a problem, right? You're out running. The problem with that is that you're only working with your own body weight, so there's only so much resistance you can get with your own body weight.

That being said, there are actually two basic ways to increase resistance. And that is increase your speed, or increase the resistance against your body, which is a fancy way of saying go uphill, you want to increase that work against gravity. Those are going to be the two main ways that you're going to increase resistance against your muscles. And try to stimulate a similar kind of activity as to lift heavy weights.

That being said, there are studies that show that running actually inhibits some of our ability to gain muscle mass. So, you kind of have to figure out what are your priorities in life, do you want to maximize your marathon time? Or do you want to look good and kind of have overall general fitness in terms of trying to take care of yourself health wise?

It all depends on where your life's priorities are. If you want to gain muscle, and you don't care about your run speed or that is less of a priority for you than maybe how you look or being able to lift heavier objects, then go with that number one prescribed thing. Go lift heavy objects. You can't really replace it with running but you can gain muscle and run at the same time.

Now, if you don't want to do that, you just take my tips running faster, running uphill into account, you will gain muscle over time, but you're not going to get big, big, like you would if you're going to go to the gym and actually lift heavy weights.

There's only so much resistance you can get with your body weight. That's the whole point of using those heavy weights is to stimulate extra potential against those muscles that you can't get with body weight alone. So, that's all I have for you today. As always, be sure to subscribe to the channel. Stay tuned for more episodes of Runner's High and I'll see you next time.

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