Does Running Burn Muscle? Top Full Information 2023

Does Running Burn Muscle? Top Full Information 2023

There is a lot of conflicting information out there about whether running burns muscle. Some people say that running causes the body to break down muscle tissue, while others claim that running is a great way to build muscle. So, what is the truth? Does running burn muscle? Following this blog to get all information you need to know about that.

Understanding Anabolic Processes

Your body strives to find the right balance between muscle build-up and muscle loss every day. Increasing or maintaining your muscle mass is essential to increasing your muscle protein intake. Both physical activity and diet are important for muscle growth. It is crucial not to overtrain and to eat a balanced diet.

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, you should do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise and 75 minutes of intense exercise per week. This can be achieved by 150 minutes of light jogging during the week. You’ll only need to run for 50 minutes.

These guidelines recommend eating healthy carbs, protein synthesis, and fats. Make sure you eat lots of fruits and vegetables to get the necessary muscle-building nutrients. Consider taking a leucine supplement if you run a lot to ensure you get the right amount of amino acids. These nutrients are crucial in anabolic processes that build muscle tissue.

Does Running Burn Muscle?

Does Running Burn Muscle

It is true that running can burn muscle. However, it is a complicated concept. Other factors are involved, including how much fuel your body needs to draw from other sources.

Scott Saifer MS, head coach at Wenzel Coaching, has a master’s degree in exercise physiology. He has been working with athletes and cyclists for over 25 years. The common assumption is that 10% of endurance sport’s energy comes from protein. But the truth is more complex.

The availability of other energy sources, such as muscle glycogen and blood sugar, will determine how much protein is available.

Saifer explained that you would use more muscle protein if you have lower energy reserves in other areas. He explains that this is not a problem with running.

It is also similar to strength training. Your muscles are subject to some damage when you exercise. Your muscles will grow stronger and larger if you get enough protein. Saifer suggests that running can lead to muscle loss in the legs. However, you have control over how it happens.

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Tips to Avoid Losing Muscle While Running

Tips to Run Without Losing Muscle Mass (1)

Spend Time Weightlifting

This will help keep your muscles strong and prevent them from wasting away. Try to do full-body workouts three times per week, and focus on exercises that target your legs, back, and core. Additionally, be sure to eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of protein.

And finally, don’t forget to rest! Make sure to give your body adequate time to recover between runs and workouts.

Eat Enough Protein

Eat Enough Protein

Protein is essential for repairing and building muscle tissue, so you need to consume enough of it to offset the muscle damage that occurs during running. Aim for 0.5-0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.

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Good sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, nuts, and seeds.

Every 2-4 Hours, Consume a Protein-rich Meal or Snack

Eat a Protein-Rich Meal or Snack Every 2-4 hours

To prevent muscle loss while running, be sure to eat a protein-rich meal or snack every 2-4 hours. This will help your body to maintain its muscle mass and prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue.

Good sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, fish, tofu, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds. Include a source of protein at every meal and snack, and aim for 20-30 grams per meal or snack.

Forget about Intermittent Fasting

Forget Intermittent Fasting

If you want to run without losing muscle mass, forget about intermittent fasting. This popular weight loss method is based on the premise that by going for long periods of time without eating, you can burn more fat and lose weight.

However, this approach is not conducive to maintaining muscle mass. When you don’t eat for long periods of time, your body goes into survival mode and starts breaking down muscle for energy.

So, if you want to keep your muscles while you run, make sure to fuel your body with regular meals and snacks.

Spacing Out Your Exercises

Space Out Your Workouts

If you want to maintain your muscle mass while running, it’s important to space out your workouts. This means giving your body ample time to recover between runs.

For example, if you run every day, you may want to consider running every other day instead. This will give your muscles time to repair and rebuild themselves, which is essential for maintaining muscle mass.

Additionally, you should focus on quality over quantity when it comes to your runs. This means running at a slower pace and shorter distance if necessary, in order to prevent your body from becoming overly fatigued.

Lastly, be sure to fuel your body properly before and after your runs with healthy foods that contain plenty of protein. By following these tips, you can ensure that you’ll be able to keep running without losing muscle mass.

Run After Eating, Not Before

Don’t Run On An Empty Stomach

If you want to run without losing muscle mass, don’t run on an empty stomach. Eating before a run will help to fuel your body and prevent muscle loss.

Try to eat a light meal or snack that is high in carbohydrates and protein, such as a banana and peanut butter or a small bowl of oatmeal with honey. You should also make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your run.

During Long Runs, Use Carbohydrates as Fuel

Fuel With Carbohydrates During Long Runs

If you want to run without losing muscle mass, you need to fuel your body with carbohydrates during long runs.

Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy during exercise, and they’re especially important for endurance activities like running. When you deplete your glycogen stores during a long run, your body will start to break down muscle protein for energy.

This can lead to muscle loss and decreased performance. To prevent this, consume carbohydrates before, during, and after your runs. This will help keep your energy levels up and maintain your muscle mass.

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Add High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

To prevent losing muscle mass while running, add high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to your routine. HIIT will help you maintain muscle mass by increasing your heart rate and burning more calories.

To do HIIT, alternate between running at a fast pace and a slow pace. Start with a warm-up of five to 10 minutes of light jogging or walking.

Then, increase your speed to a sprint for 30 seconds to one minute. Recover by walking or jogging at a slower pace for one to two minutes. Repeat this cycle for 20 to 30 minutes.

Consume a Few Extra Calories

Eat a Small Surplus of Calories

t is important to eat a small surplus of calories. This means consuming slightly more calories than what your body needs to maintain its current weight. The extra calories will help your body to repair and rebuild muscle tissue that is broken down during running.

It is also important to consume adequate protein. Protein provides the building blocks for muscle tissue and helps to repair and rebuild muscle tissue after exercise.

Does Running To Increase Muscle Mass?

Run To Increase Muscle Mass

Cardio can be thought of as a way to build muscle. The critical variable is to keep the intensity high. Sprinting will build muscle mass, for instance. This effect was observed in younger women, according to an article published in Applied Physiology in 2014.

Sprint interval training was performed three times per week over six weeks. This protocol resulted in a 1.3 percent rise in lean body mass. The protocol also led to an 8 percent drop in body fat. Intense running can reduce body fat and boost muscle mass.

The treadmill is a great way to get a quick workout and reap the benefits. Begin by running for 10 minutes at 5 miles an hour. Next, run a 30-second sprint at 7.5 miles an hour. For 90 seconds, return to the jog. You can repeat this cycle as many times as you like and increase the number of cycles each week. The best results will be achieved by doing this 30-minute routine three times per week.

Cardio Burns Muscle

Running can actually cause your muscles to deteriorate. For example, Olympic distance runners have little muscle and fat. Long-distance running causes the muscle to be destroyed rather than built. This was confirmed by a 2017 study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

This study measured middle-aged men’s skeletal muscle mass before and after a 31-mile race. The results showed that the race resulted in a loss of more than 2 pounds. The loss of muscle mass can have many adverse consequences. According to an article published in 2015 in the International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, losing muscle mass can lead to injury risk.

You might be able to stop burning muscle with smart dietary choices. In a 2017 study, the American College of Nutrition Journal found that master triathletes who consumed a beef protein drink for 10 weeks had less muscle loss.

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Does Running Burn Fat? Top Full Information 2023

Recommend For Protect Yourself While Running

Protect Yourself While Running

Running can be used to improve bone health. According to a 2018 study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, running three times a week over seven weeks can increase bone mineral density. High-intensity exercise can cause bone damage, so it’s important to keep it low in intensity.

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Running can also cause cartilage damage. This soft tissue isn’t covered by blood vessels and nerves, so it can’t be repaired. Running for a few minutes can cause a 9 percent deformation of your cartilage. To avoid permanent damage, you may want to limit your running time. This will reduce your chance of developing arthritis.

Running on water treadmills is possible without taking any risks. Gait and Posture published a 2017 paper that examined the impact of water depth on treadmill running. Running with water at the waist reduced the effect but did not alter the physiological challenges.

Does Running Build Muscle Your Abs (Abdominal Muscles)?

Actually, everyone already has transverse abdominals, which is the medical term for abs. Most people refer to “getting abs” as toning, strengthening, and reducing abdominal fat to make those abdominals more visible.

Your abs are worked out at the same time that you run. Your core is stabilized as a result, which lessens the force on your joints.

You may improve circulation throughout the body by working out your abs. The abdominal blood flow contributes to the breakdown of fat cells, which results in the burning extra fat there. The abs are made more noticeable as that fat is burned, which is what most individuals mean when they say they are “growing abs.”

Strengthening your abs has advantages beyond just appearance; it also lessens the impact on your joints, reduces the risk of accidents, and helps build other core muscles. They are your thighs, hips, and back.


How much exercise is necessary to burn muscle?

Therefore, if you run when undernourished or with insufficient body fat, you’ll burn muscle more quickly. Usually, it takes two hours or more of running before muscles start to burn. Muscle burning can cause fatigue, disorientation, and burning in the muscles.

How far can you run before you start to lose muscle?

As many as you want, provided you eat enough. However, you don’t want extra muscle mass if you plan to workout a lot—say, 100 miles per week. Yes, the majority of people don’t do this. Running less (say, 30 kilometers a week) will not affect how much muscle you have if you eat enough.

When I run in the morning, will I lose muscle?

Weakness and muscle loss are accelerated by this. In the early morning, your cortisol levels are at their maximum. Additionally, a 2015 study discovered that exercising in the morning following an overnight fast increases cortisol levels. Running in the morning, typically on an empty stomach, could harm your muscles, according to this.


There are a few things you can do to prevent muscle loss while running. Consume carbohydrates before, during, and after your runs to keep your energy levels up. Add high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to your routine to help maintain muscle mass. Lastly, eat a small surplus of calories to help your body repair and rebuild muscle tissue. Hope these tips help!

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