Does Running Kill Your Leg Gains? (Find OUT)

Running is one of the best forms of exercise you can do. It’s efficient, effective, and great at helping you lose weight. 

But if you’re looking to gain muscle or bulk up like I am, running might not be the best choice for you. 

That’s because running uses different muscles than lifting weights does which means that doing both together might counteract each other. The good news is there are ways around this problem! 

In this article we’ll discuss whether or not running will kill your leg gains by killing off your muscle mass, making it impossible for you to gain strength without adding additional calories into your diet (which would defeat the purpose).

Will Running Kill Your Gains – YouTube
Running alone does not necessarily kill leg gains.
Proper nutrition and recovery are crucial for muscle growth and maintenance.
Balancing running with strength training can help optimize leg gains.
Individual responses to running may vary, so it’s important to listen to your body.
Incorporating variations in running intensity and volume can be beneficial for leg gains.
Consistency in training and allowing for adequate rest are key for optimal leg gains.
Seeking guidance from a fitness professional can provide personalized advice for leg gains.
Progressive overload in running can help stimulate muscle growth and strength development.
It’s important to set realistic goals and track progress to stay motivated in your running journey.
Experimenting with different running techniques and terrains can challenge your leg muscles in new ways.

Doesn’t Running Kill Your Leg Gains?

If you’re trying to build muscle, running is one of the best ways you can do it. As long as you’re doing a moderate amount of cardio and eating enough food, running won’t kill your leg gains it will actually help them!

Here’s why: Running burns fat in the body, which allows more nutrients (like protein) to be available for muscle growth. 

Plus, research has found that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) like running increases testosterone levels in men and women alike something that’s important for building more lean mass. 

A study from McMaster University found that this type of exercise also increases insulin sensitivity, meaning that it can help prevent diabetes symptoms down the road too!

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Don’t Running And Lifting Weights Counteract Each Other?

Running and lifting weights are not mutually exclusive. You can do both, or either one by itself. But how do you combine them? 

Let’s explore some options:

Run for 30 minutes, then lift weights for 60 minutes. This is a good way to get in an aerobic workout and then give yourself time to rest before starting your strength training session.

Run for 30 minutes, then lift weights immediately after. This will give your body only a short amount of time between activities so it can focus on getting stronger instead of recovering from one workout before moving on to another one later in the day (this approach will also help with recovery).

Lift weights first thing in the morning, then run post-workout at lunchtime or right before dinner. This approach works well because you’ve already gotten some cardio done during breakfast/brunch/lunch/dinner prep time!

Fitness GoalsRunningWeightlifting
CardiovascularImproves cardiovascular enduranceDoes not specifically target cardiovascular fitness
Fat LossHelps burn calories and promote fat lossCan contribute to increased metabolism and fat burning
Muscle BuildingMay have minimal impact on muscle gainsPrimarily focuses on muscle hypertrophy
StrengthImproves lower body strength and enduranceEnhances overall body strength
Bone HealthCan help maintain and improve bone densityProvides stimulus for bone strengthening
Functional FitnessEnhances overall endurance and staminaImproves functional strength and mobility

Does Running Make You Lose Muscle Mass?

When you start a new exercise program, your body will respond by increasing lean muscle mass and improving cardiovascular fitness. Your strength gains will be greater than if you had just performed cardio alone.

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Will Running Make You Lose Fat And Gain Muscle?

Yes, running will help you lose fat and gain muscle at the same time.

Running is one of the best ways to lose fat because it burns a lot of calories all day long. You burn about 70% more calories when running than when walking or even riding a bike for an hour (1). 

This means that if you want to lose weight, you should run as much as possible during your training.

However, running doesn’t help with building muscle like lifting weights does because it doesn’t recruit as many muscle fibers at once and uses different types of movements than weightlifting (2). This means that while running can definitely help you lose fat and gain some muscle mass at the same time, it won’t be as effective as lifting weights if your goal is solely building up strength.

Fitness AspectEffect of Running
Fat LossRunning can contribute to calorie burn and promote fat loss.
Muscle GainRunning alone may not directly promote significant muscle gain.

Do You Need To Run Before Lifting Weights To Get Stronger?

Running is a great way to warm up your body and get your heart rate up. It’s also a good way to recover from lifting weights, as it can help with blood flow and circulation, which will help reduce soreness after a workout. 

Running can also make your legs feel more powerful your muscles will get used to working harder and longer with each step you take! If you pair running with weightlifting sessions on days when you don’t run before lifting weights, this combination will help you develop stronger leg muscles than if you were just doing one or the other alone.

Can You Run And Still Gain Muscle?

Can you run and still gain muscle? Yes, running is a great way to build muscle. Running builds muscle by increasing your metabolism. 

In other words, when you run your body works harder and burns more calories than it would if you were just walking or sitting on the couch.

Running can help you maintain or even gain muscle mass if it’s done right. You don’t have to run 5 miles every day to see results! 

Just aim for at least 30 minutes of running per day (more if possible) 3-4 times per week with some lifting thrown in as well!

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Should You Be Doing Cardio When You’re Trying To Gain Muscle?

To answer this question, we’ll first need to define what we mean by “cardio.” While some people use the term interchangeably with any type of exercise, usually when we’re referring to cardio we mean aerobic exercise. 

Aerobic workouts are generally performed at a moderate pace for an extended period of time and elevate your heart rate into the target heart rate zone (typically 55-75% of your max). Examples include running, cycling, swimming and elliptical training.

There’s no right or wrong way to do cardio the important thing is that you get out there and move! 

But if you’re trying to build muscle while also losing body fat, it’s important that you don’t do too much aerobic activity on off days from weightlifting. 

Doing so can lead to excess calorie burn which slows down your metabolism making it harder for you to lose fat while gaining muscle simultaneously. 

The general recommendation is no more than 5 hours per week in order not have this effect happen.

However if this isn’t enough for someone who wants their legs looking leaner than those legs should probably be doing more leg exercises during the week instead of going on long runs every weekend!

Fitness GoalsRunningWeightlifting
CardiovascularImproves cardiovascular enduranceDoes not specifically target cardiovascular fitness
Fat LossCan contribute to calorie burn and fat lossCan increase metabolism and promote fat burning
Muscle BuildingMay have minimal impact on muscle gainsFocuses on muscle hypertrophy
StrengthEnhances lower body strength and enduranceImproves overall body strength
Bone HealthCan help maintain and improve bone densityProvides stimulus for bone strengthening
Functional FitnessEnhances endurance and staminaImproves functional strength and mobility

Is Running Better For You Than Walking?

Running is better than walking for building muscle. It’s also better for building muscle strength, endurance and size.

If you want to get bigger legs, running will give them a good workout while walking won’t help much at all in that regard.

How Much Do You Have To Run To Get Stronger Legs?

There are a few different ways to answer this question, depending on what your goals are. If you’re looking for the best way to build overall leg strength, then running is definitely an option. 

However, if you want to get stronger legs specifically in terms of powerlifting or sprinting speed or something else like that, we’d recommend doing some other exercises with weights (or by itself) instead of going out for long runs every day.

In general though: How much do I need to run? You should be able to run at least 3 days per week and go at least 30 minutes per session without any problems. You can also increase your mileage over time as well as add more days per week until your goal is met!

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Is It Better To Run Or Lift Weights For Muscle Gain?

Running is great for fat loss because it burns a lot of calories and it’s an aerobic activity, meaning that you can do it for a long time without getting tired. 

It also has a positive impact on your metabolism, meaning that even when you’re not running, your body stays active and burns more calories than usual.

Lifting weights will help you gain muscle mass mainly because weightlifting targets the whole body (not just one spot), which will cause the muscles to grow in size over time. 

This gives their appearance more definition and makes them look bigger overall compared to other parts of your body like arms or shoulders which aren’t targeted by weightlifting exercises but only get worked out by other activities such as running or swimming (swimming doesn’t help build muscle).

Don’t let limitations stop you from practicing running. Our article on how to practice running at home provides valuable insights and exercises to keep your leg gains on track, even when you can’t hit the road or the track.


So we’ve covered a lot of ground here, but if you’ve made it this far, then congratulations! You’re now an expert on how running affects muscle gain and fat loss.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources that provide further insights on the topic:

  • Does Cardio Burn Muscle?: This article explores the relationship between cardiovascular exercise and muscle loss, providing evidence-based analysis and recommendations.
  • Does Cardio Kill Gains?: Learn about the impact of cardio on muscle gains and discover strategies to optimize your fitness routine while incorporating cardiovascular training.
  • Does Running Kill Muscle Gains or Does It Actually Help?: This comprehensive guide delves into the effects of running on muscle gains, offering insights and practical tips for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.


Here are some frequently asked questions about the impact of cardio on muscle gains:

Do cardiovascular exercises like running negatively affect muscle growth?

Cardiovascular exercises alone do not necessarily lead to muscle loss. However, excessive or prolonged cardio sessions without proper nutrition and recovery can potentially hinder muscle growth.

Can I incorporate cardio into my workout routine without sacrificing muscle gains?

Yes, it’s possible to include cardio in your routine while minimizing the impact on muscle gains. By properly managing your cardio volume, intensity, and recovery, you can strike a balance between cardiovascular fitness and muscle development.

Is it better to do cardio before or after weightlifting for muscle gains?

The order of cardio and weightlifting depends on your goals and preferences. Some studies suggest that performing cardio after weightlifting may have a minimal impact on strength and muscle gains. However, individual preferences and workout efficiency should also be considered.

How much cardio is too much when trying to build muscle?

The amount of cardio that may hinder muscle gains varies for each individual. Generally, incorporating moderate amounts of cardio, such as 2-3 sessions per week, while ensuring sufficient rest and nutrition, should not significantly impede muscle growth.

What are some strategies to preserve muscle while incorporating cardio?

To maintain muscle mass while doing cardio, consider implementing strategies such as proper nutrition, strength training, adequate rest and recovery, and monitoring overall training volume. These factors contribute to optimizing muscle preservation during cardio-focused workouts.