People run for many reasons – some want to keep fit, others want to lower their stress levels, while some do it just to pass the time. But if you’re like most people trying to gain some muscle mass, you may often find yourself wondering, “Does running build muscle?” “Does it help or hinder my efforts?
Well, this guide gives a quick look into running and muscle growth, so that next time you pound the pavement, you will know exactly what you’re getting from the exercise.
Does Running Build Muscle?
Absolutely. Done regularly, running does indeed build and tone muscle. Reliable sources prove that running is a great way to gain muscle in the lower body, as it engages all the muscles between your hips and your feet, from the glutes to quads to hamstrings.
To see results, however, you need to understand which muscles you’re working. The human body has two types of muscle fibers – the fast-twitch muscle fibers and the slow-twitch muscle fibers. Which ones you engage in will depend on the type of run you do. Fast-twitch muscles support quick movements and fatigue quickly. They are the ones you build when you make quick sprints. Slow-twitch muscles, on the other hand, support longer, continuous runs and don’t tire easily. You gain these when you go long-distance running.
If your dream is to build leg muscle make sure to work both muscles. Also, to increase muscle mass faster, consider combining your runs with strength training. Don’t forget to eat a nutritionally balanced diet.
Which Running Exercises Burn The Most Calories?
Running is one of the workout routines that burn the most calories. However, some running styles use more energy than others and can, therefore, give results faster. If you’re looking to optimize your calorie burn via running, try the following exercises:
High-Intensity Interval Training
Interval training is one of the best ways to shed extra pounds on the run. People who combine short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest and recovery have been found to burn calories up to three times faster than those who run at an easy, comfortable pace all through.
Simply put, if your running routine comprises sprinting hard, say for 2 minutes, then jogging for 3 minutes and doing this 30 to 45 minutes every day, you’re likely to see results much quicker than a person who jogs or runs hard for 30 minutes straight every day.
Take your sprints to the next level by running uphill. This intense workout is more efficient than just running on flat terrains because it engages much more muscles than on flat surfaces, which results in an increase in calorie burn. Running up an inclined surface also strengthens your lower body muscles, which improves your speed and fitness levels.
Strapping on a weighted vest before your runs can cause you to lose weight faster because your body will be working harder than usual. The extra weight means that more energy will be required to fuel your activity, which means more calories will be broken down to produce this energy.
Just make sure your vest is ideal for your body weight. You don’t want to strap on too much weight and stress your lower back. As a general rule, wear a vest of 5 to 10 % of your body weight.
What Should I Eat After Running for Muscle Gain?
Eating after a running exercise is essential for preventing muscle protein breakdown, replenishing glycogen stores, and repairing muscles. If your goal is to build muscle, the following foods would be a great place to start, but you could also check out some of the post-run supplements offered by Midss to take your muscle protein synthesis to the next level.
Whey protein shake: When it comes to protein powders, a whey protein shake is one of the most popular choices among people looking to gain muscle after a run, and for a good reason – it digests quickly and has a higher concentration of the protein needed to start the muscle-building process.
Low-fat chocolate milk: Loaded with high-quality protein, chocolate milk is fantastic for muscle repair. It also contains fast-digesting carbs that help with refueling your energy after a run.
Grilled Chicken Breast: Any lean protein is good for muscle building and recovery. Grilled chicken breast packs enough protein to help your muscles rebuild quickly.
Have your post-run snack or meal within 30 minutes of stopping. Depending on the duration and intensity of your run, you may also have to bring fast-digesting carbs for snacking during the exercise to keep your energy levels in check.
Running is a fantastic exercise for building muscle in your lower back naturally. However, you must do it consistently and engage the right muscles to see results. Also, make sure you are eating the right foods. Protein-rich foods and those high in fast-digesting carbs would be great for muscle building and energy replenishment, whether taken before or after a run.