Running And Bodybuilding – 5 Awesome Reasons To Combine

One of the most common theories regarding running is that you cannot run and build muscle mass at the same time. If you are a body builder who wants to explore running as an alternative kind of workout, you need to know the connection between running and bodybuilding.

On the other hand, if you are a runner who wants to build muscle, understanding how to run in a way that doesn’t cause muscle reduction is essential.

In this article, we will list five reasons why combining the two is a great idea. We will also show you how to prevent negative effects running has on bodybuilding.


Benefits Of Running On Muscle Mass

#1. Reduced Levels Of Estrogen


​Fat Levels And Estrogen Production

There is a direct link between fat levels and estrogen production in both men and women.

  • In women, it has been found that high-performance athletes such as gymnasts have lower estrogen levels because of having low body fat. (1)
  • In the case of men, having high estrogen levels have more negative effects including energy levels which mean lowered endurance in the gym. One of the common factors that may cause high estrogen levels is the loss of muscle tissue and increase in fat tissue. (2)

Running Lower Estrogen Level For Men

Running can aid in lowering the levels of estrogen in men by helping reduce fat levels. Fat tissue contains a substance that converts testosterone into estrogen. Another way running aids in reducing estrogen levels is by improving overall hormonal health by releasing endorphins. Endorphins trigger euphoric feelings which can help in promoting good emotional health. (3)

#2. Improved Sleep


Running Improve Your Sleep

According to research conducted on 2,600 men and women, 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity weekly caused a 65% improvement in the quality of sleep. (4)

The impact this can have on your bodybuilding goals is you will have the energy to hit the gym more often and stay alerted throughout your workout. The amazing benefits of getting good cardio exercise through running can be observed after approximately 6 weeks.(5)

Important Of Sleep For Body Building

But how can sleep help you build muscle? Sleeping for at least 8 hours a day helps production of the human growth hormone. During sleep, the body also repairs muscle tissue that has been torn during your workout. It also enhances muscle recovery through protein synthesis. (6)

The hormone testosterone which plays an important role in muscle growth is also produced during sleep.

#3. Improved Blood Circulation


Running makes your heart work harder to transport blood to your body. This increased demand on your circulatory system has many benefits.

On the other hand, poor circulation causes blocked arteries which mean your organs don't get the energy they need. Among the negative effects of poor circulation are muscle cramps and numbness. If you are a body builder, such conditions can have very negative effects on your fitness goals. (7)

With the increased energy derived from a good functioning circulatory system, you will have more energy for your gym workouts. In addition, your muscles will get the nutrients they need enabling you to build muscle faster.

#4. Improved Mental Health


According to scientists, aerobic exercising such as running can reduce anxiety and depression. This is attributed to the increased blood circulation and the effect this has on the on mood. (8) Running is a good way to build your mental power which will greatly influence your entire body building efforts.

Another reason why running has a good influence on mental health is because of the release of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. When these hormones are released, you are better able to deal with stress. (9)

Running also helps boost confidence levels as you gain determination and endurance after each run. In a way, running helps build muscle from within.

#5. Helps Gain Leg Muscle


Running can reach muscle groups that you don’t normally reach during your gym workout. In addition, running at a steady pace has been found to increase the growth hormone levels greatly. Instead of sprinting, longer sessions done between weight lifting days can help prevent muscle breakdown and instead increase muscle mass. (10)

These are five of the benefits anyone including body builders can get from running. The issue many have however is the fear of injury and the fear of muscle loss. Although these are understandable fears, there are simple ways you can reduce your risk of injury and losing muscle. Here are 2 tips.

Preventing Injury And Muscle Loss

#1. Choose The Right Kind Of Runs


The issue of muscle loss can be prevented by select the kind of runs you go on carefully.

Low Intensity Runs

The first tip is to engage in long distance, low intensity runs. These runs promote a low heart rate without exerting too much effort.

How To Do

  • Twice a week, do a run for half an hour to an hour being careful not to run too fast.

More Tips

  • The way to test that you have the right pace is to try and talk as you run. A low-intensity run enables you to talk without having to gasp for breath.
  • Another benefit of low-intensity running is it allows your muscles to recover without putting too much strain on them.

Interval Training

The another good idea is interval training.

How To Do

  • This involves alternates of 30 minutes sprints with moderate runs.

More Tips

  • The technique makes use of intervals of rest for recovery.
  • A great benefit of running intervals is that they are time efficient taking only about 20 minutes.
  • A precaution though is to only do these at most twice a week to prevent injury.

#2. Use The Right Running Form

Right Form Running

Running as a bodybuilder means having a bigger load to carry around which increases your risk of injury. With your weight slamming on the ground with every step, your tendons and joints are put under a lot of pressure. The way to combat this is to run with the form that promotes less impact.

How To Do

Basically, the way to run to avoid injury is to follow the following tips:

  • Never let your heel strike the ground first
  • Instead, let your forefoot or mid-foot be the first to get the impact
  • Land with your knee bent and never straight. This is especially important if you don’t have shoes with good cushioning

More Tips

Using the right form is the easy way to prevent injuries so pay attention to this.

#3. Additional Tips

​Not Combining Running And Lifting On Same Day

One thing that should be remembered always is never to run the same day of your leg lifting routine. This will hinder muscle growth because you need a recovery period in between.

Run Before Doing Weight

On the other hand, it is also not recommended to run before doing weights. This will only reduce the energy you have for your weights. If you want to run on the same day you do your weights, then the best option is to take a 30-minute break after your workout, refuel with some carbs and then run.

Lastly, always be in contact with your body and know when you are in danger of injury.


Running and bodybuilding can be two peas in the same pod if you know how to use them to your advantage. Running can improve your circulatory system, give you better mental health, and helps you gain muscle. In order to combat the issue of muscle loss and injury that come with bodybuilding and running, simply follow proper running form and be selective in the kind of runs you do.​