Does Running Make Your Legs Bigger?

Does Running Make Your Legs Bigger
  • BSX Insight

Does running make your legs bigger? There is no definitive answer to this question, as different people will experience different results when they run. Some may find that their legs grow in size due to running, while others may not see any difference at all. There are several factors that can contribute to whether or not running makes your legs bigger, such as how often you run, the intensity of your runs, and your genetics.

Does Running Make Your Legs Bigger?

does running make your legs bigger or smaller

It all depends on how much you eat, how you run, and what else you do. Running will generally make your legs slimmer than bigger. Because you’re replacing fat with muscle, this is what running does.

Running is cardio and burns fat. You make room for your muscles by burning fat. Your legs will become stronger and more muscular, but the fat you have burned is an increase in the size of the legs. Running will often make your legs appear slimmer.

Interval training is a way to alternate between light jogging and sprinting. Interval training is an exercise technique that combines intense bursts with lighter effort. According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, interval training burns more calories than regular training. Interval training can also help you burn more calories over several hours after your workout.

You will notice a difference in your calf muscles if you run correctly. Your calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes will grow more quickly if you run at a moderate intensity.

Yoga can also help you lose weight, tone your body, and become more flexible. Your legs might slim down depending on how many calories are consumed. Running might result in you losing body fat, leading to slimmer legs and thighs. Running will likely result in a greater definition of your legs due to the calorie burn from jogging.

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  • Your genetic makeup can also affect the shape and size of your legs.
  • It is possible to predetermine that you will gain muscle mass faster than others.
  • Running will only make you fatter and worse.
  • People with a stocky build will not magically transform into long-leg marathon runners, no matter how hard they try.
  • You might consider a different sport if you have risky genes.
  • Swimming, for example, is great cardio training and isn’t as strenuous as running.
  • Your genetic makeup is essential in determining your legs’ size and shape.
  • Running can help you add muscle faster than others.

Your Running Time and Distance

Another variable worth considering is the time taken to run. You are more likely to break muscle tissue and make it appear larger if you run for longer than two hours and cover more than eight miles in one go. Overtraining can cause your muscles to grow quickly and your legs to look bulky.

Running fast can lead to a progressive overload of muscles and slow growth. However, this does not mean you should run the same distance for your entire life. This can also be counterproductive. You will be more fit and need to exercise more to burn fat calories. Time is also essential because your body will only start burning fat after depleting its glycogen stores, which can take about 30 minutes.

You will require less time to cover the same distance as you get fitter. This will mean that you will spend less time in the aerobic fat-burning zone and hinder your fat loss rather than enhance it. It is important not to push yourself too hard but instead focus on keeping your running sessions as efficient as possible and staying in the aerobic zone for as long as possible. Running too fast can cause the aerobic state to be too high. Adding mileage will increase the risk of losing muscle growth and overload.

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How Can Running Help You Tone Your Legs?

How Can Running Help You Tone Your Legs

Running can help you build your lower body muscles. However, this all depends on how intense and prolonged your runs are. Twelve college students who were recreationally trained performed high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This included four sets of running at near maximum capacity for 4 minutes, followed by 3 minutes of active rest. Running long distances can increase muscle protein loss and hinder muscle growth.

In a study of 30 amateur male runners who ran 6.2 to 13 miles (10, 21, or 42 km), each group experienced significant increases in muscle damage markers. These studies show that running of high intensity and short duration builds leg muscles. Long-distance running can cause significant muscle damage and inhibit muscle growth.

The students saw an 11% increase in their quadriceps muscle fibers after ten weeks of HIIT exercise three times per week compared to the control group. If you are looking to tone your legs, weight lifting is an excellent complement to running.

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Clean Diet for Toning Your Legs with Running

Clean Diet for Toning Your Legs with Running

Running can make you hungry. However, a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and protein will help tone your legs. After a hard run, be mindful of your calories and don’t eat pepperoni pizza.

Running can improve your cardiovascular health and tone your legs. Running too often without adequate nutrition can lead to poor health.

What is the purpose of a clean diet? It would help if you had enough calories to repair and build muscles, as well as “refuel” your body with energy. You will gain weight by consuming high-calorie junk food like burgers, fries, and high-sugar beverages. This includes excess energy and stubborn power. You will notice a significant difference in your health if you reduce the calories of high-calorie foods.

Running is not enough without good nutrition. Your body cannot help the muscle-building process without adequate nutrients, especially protein.

According to another study, experts recommend consuming 0.64-0.91 grams or 1.4-2g per kilogram of body weight per day if you are looking to gain muscle. For instance, A 150-pound person (68.2-kg) would need 96 to137 grams of protein.

According to a 2015 study, protein is one of the main reasons people drink it. It promotes greater muscle growth and enhances performance.

Good protein foods include dairy, meats, poultry, fish, and beans.

There Are Many Ways to Build Stronger and Bigger Legs

If you have the proper training and nutrition plan, you can grow bigger legs. This is how to make your legs stronger while running.

Carbohydrates and Healthy Fats

Your body’s preferred energy source is carbs, especially for anaerobic exercises like sprinting. According to the University of Hawai’i’s Food Science and Human Nutrition Program, fat is an energy source for lower-intensity exercises such as long-distance running.

According to Dietary Guidelines For Americans, you should aim to consume 45-65% carbs and 20-35% fat to fuel your workouts. Whole grains, fruits, dairy products, and starchy vegetables are good sources of healthy carbohydrates. Foods rich in good fats include extra virgin olive oils, fatty fish, avocado, seeds, nuts, and butter.

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Water is essential for maintaining body temperature and other vital functions. The factors that determine our water requirements are many, including age, body weight, diet, and activity level.

According to the National Academy of Medicine, men and women should consume 125 ounces (or 3.7 liters) and 91 ounces (or 2.7 liters) per day, respectively.

These recommendations are intended for adults aged 19 or older. They combine water from both food and beverages.

Combining Strength and Running

Combining strength training with cardio, like running, is a great way to build beautiful and muscular legs. Running with strength will allow you to run for longer and strengthen your legs. It also helps prevent injury.



Squats can help build the foundation for running and all other lower-body exercises.

The movement is performed using your hips, quads, and thighs. Squats can strengthen your core, reduce your risk of injury and burn many calories.

Andy Sobuta, a Harvard-affiliated physical therapist at Spaulding Rehabilitation Centre, says that squats can help build and maintain a stronger lower body. This will make it easier to move and allow you to remain active.


Experts say a step-up is a basic body resistance exercise that strengthens your legs and buttocks.

Step up is an excellent exercise for lower body conditioning.



Lunges increase muscle mass, strengthen your body and tone your legs, especially your core and butt.

These are great for improving your posture and range of motion and strengthening your knees.

Get a Resistance Band

The resistance band strengthens your glutes and tensor fasciae lati, which is a muscle found on the lateral side of the thigh.

According to a study, residence bands have many benefits, including increased functional capacity, strength, endurance, enhanced muscle activation, improved body composition, potency, and quality of life.

These resistance bands are easy to use, cost-effective, and can be used anywhere.

Try Different Types of Running

To keep your legs leaned out, running up and down hills or on an inclined treadmill can help you build muscle. Your metabolism will increase if you replace fat with muscle.

Interval training has a lot more benefits than long-distance running. It is short bursts with high intensity that are shorter and more effective.

Sprints can help you build muscle and slim down. Your legs will grow slightly or remain the same size, but you’ll have a toned look.

Running longer and slower will lead to slimming but very little growth. Your diet will play a major role in how your thighs grow.

Fast-twitch vs. Slow-twitch

You can run, jog, or sprint using one of the two types of muscle fibers: slow-twitch and fast-twitch.

Long-distance running uses slow-twitch fibers. They are less strong than fast-twitch muscle fibers but have a good oxygen supply so that they can be used for long periods without fatigue. On the other hand, fast-twitch muscle is stronger, but it tires faster, so it works well when you spend it.

For example, the leg muscles of sprinters are due to more fast-twitch muscles, while the lean legs of distance runners are essentially slow-twitch muscles.

No matter what kind of running you do, you will lose fat and tone your legs. You will develop toned legs and slimmer thighs if you run long distances slowly and steadily over a more extended period of time.

You will see a greater increase in your leg size if you do long distances and a lot of sprinting. High-intensity interval running (HIIT) promotes muscle growth, such as sprinting or hill running. Your legs will become more toned and larger over time.

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So, Does Running Make Your Legs Bigger?

why does running make your legs bigger

As you can see, running does not produce any definitive results unless your body has been designed to do so. This is mainly due to how you run, eat, or if your legs are meant to be bigger. Mixing all the tips above together is the best way to increase your leg size.

Running alone is unlikely to increase the size of your legs. After a runner has adapted to running distances, there is insufficient resistance to make the muscles work harder. While more nutrients might help temporarily, resistance training and more sprinting are necessary to see actual leg development.

If you want to slim down, running on a calorie deficit will help you keep your legs toned. Although the fat will be replaced by muscle, it will not grow beyond normal. This will create a lean appearance and not bigger legs. If you want to increase your running speed, enjoy the run and give these ideas a shot.

Bonus Tip: How to Run Without Getting Bulky Legs

Assuming you would like tips on how to avoid getting bulky legs from running:

1. Start slow – if you’re a beginner, ease into running gradually. Running too hard or too fast too soon can lead to injuries. Try running for shorter periods of time at first, and gradually increase the amount of time you run over the course of several weeks.

2. Incorporate intervals – alternate between periods of running and walking or running at different speeds. This will help you avoid overworking your muscles and reduce the risk of injury.

3. Be consistent – try to stick to a regular running schedule. However, don’t push yourself too hard – it’s important to listen to your body and take breaks when you need to.

4. Strength training – Besides running, incorporating strength-training exercises into your routine can help you avoid bulky legs. Focus on exercises that target your hamstrings, glutes, and calves.


Does running make your legs skinnier?

Yes, running can help you get thinner legs, but not in a direct way.

Why are my legs getting bigger with exercise?

Your legs are getting bigger with exercise because it helps you build more muscle. Overall, you are burning calories and losing body fat, which is being replaced by muscle.

How does running change your leg shape?

Running can make your legs bigger, stronger, and more muscular by building muscle in them. Running can also help you lose weight in your legs, making them look thinner as fat is replaced by muscle. It mostly depends on what kind of running you do.

Why are my legs getting bigger with exercise?

Because you gain more muscle, which will replace your fat in the long run. There will be a time when your body is made up of both the new muscle and the fat. This is basically a time for your body to change. So, until you burn off the fat, your thighs are a little bit bigger.


Running can help you slim down, but it all depends on how much you eat and what else you do. If you want to see results, you need to be consistent with your running and make sure you’re eating a healthy diet. BSXInsight hopes this blog helps you know more about the way to improve your health and body. Thanks for your reading!

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