How To Run And Not Lose Muscle

How To Run And Not Lose Muscle – Running is a great way to strengthen your heart and lungs, increase bone density, improve your mental health, and lower your blood pressure, among many other benefits.

Running is also a very effective way to burn calories, which is why many people run to help them lose weight. However, depending on your metabolism, body composition and weight goals, it may be difficult to run as much as you want without it

How To Run And Not Lose Muscle

How To Run And Not Lose Muscle

Also, even if you’re trying to lose weight by running, you probably want to lose fat, not muscle, so many runners want to know how to run without losing muscle mass, or wonder how far should I run?

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In this guide, we’ll cover how to run without losing muscle mass and how to enjoy running while working toward your body composition goals in a healthy and sustainable way.

Many people ask, “Does running make you lose muscle?” or “How much should I run without losing muscle?” The answer isn’t a simple yes or no or a specific time frame, because whether or not running burns muscle largely depends on your overall energy balance.

Running takes energy, so running burns calories. According to the third law of thermodynamics, energy cannot be created or destroyed; It can only be converted from one form to another.

Depending on the intensity of your run, which can be thought of as the percentage of your VO2 max you’re working at, your body will burn stored carbohydrates (glycogen) and fat (triglycerides stored in fat cells) and make up the bulk of it. Power. You need muscles for your exercise.

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At lower intensities, a higher percentage of those calories come from stored fat. As intensity increases, the substrate ratio changes and most of the energy comes from stored glycogen.

Protein contributes up to about 10% of energy requirements during moderate to high intensity running. The body only stores protein as muscle tissue, which means running burns some muscle. However, in most cases, the amount of protein or muscle tissue burned during running is minimal.

This means that if you are well nourished and run less than about 90 minutes, running does not burn a significant amount of muscle protein.

How To Run And Not Lose Muscle

However, the body can only store a maximum of 2000 calories in glycogen stores. When glycogen is depleted, your body must be metabolically flexible and burn different fuels to produce more ATP (cellular energy) for your working muscles.

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If you’ve ever experienced a sudden “bonk” or “hit the wall” feeling during a long run or marathon, you’ve experienced the dreaded state of glycogen depletion.

Muscles can generate energy faster by burning stored carbohydrates than by burning fat, so carbohydrates are the preferred fuel source of muscles for high-intensity exercise: they can burn carbohydrates to produce more energy quickly, helping to meet the high demands of your intense training. .

When muscles have to go back to burning fat you are forced to slow down. This results in a concomitant increase in reliance on burning muscle protein for fuel.

As mentioned, running burns muscle primarily when you are in a glycogen-depleted state. This can mainly happen in one of four situations:

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When you go on a long run, you deplete your muscle glycogen after about 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on the intensity of the run, your altitude, your nutritional status, and your eating strategy. You can deplete your glycogen by stacking back-to-back without eating between your running and strength training workouts.

Running first thing in the morning on an empty stomach starts you off with some glycogen stores, as your body burns liver glycogen during an overnight fast while you sleep.

If you routinely limit your carbohydrate intake with a low-carb diet, such as the paleo diet or keto diet, your glycogen stores may be depleted prematurely while you run.

How To Run And Not Lose Muscle

Whether you’re extreme dieting to lose weight or maintaining a large daily calorie deficit, your body is in a catabolic state and you’ll likely burn more muscle when you run because you’re not consuming enough calories.

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Muscle protein can provide 15% or more of energy during high-intensity exercise, but in all cases of glycogen depletion, this relative percentage can increase significantly. In this case, running actually burns muscle tissue.

It should be possible to preserve muscle mass while training for a marathon or other race, even if you have a fast metabolism and don’t want to lose weight. Likewise, if you’re wondering how to run without losing muscle mass while losing body fat, follow these principles:

Perhaps the most effective way to preserve your muscle mass as a runner is to engage in at least 2-3 total body weight training workouts or 4-5 days of a body part split routine per week.

These workouts should aim to build muscle strength and size rather than muscle endurance. From a practical standpoint, this means lifting the heaviest weight you can safely handle with proper form for 4-10 repetitions per set, rather than light weights for 12-15 or more repetitions.

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High loads trigger the growth and strength of your hormones and muscle fibers – an anabolic effect – which can help prevent tissue breakdown – the catabolic effect – of long distance running.

Compound, dynamic and multi-joint strengthening exercises such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, step-ups, pull-ups and push-ups are the best exercises for building muscle mass.

Protein is one of the three major macronutrients. Along with carbohydrates and fats, proteins provide energy (4 kcal per gram), but they also offer unique benefits for recovery and muscle synthesis.

How To Run And Not Lose Muscle

The proteins we eat are broken down into amino acids, which are combined to form new proteins used to repair and rebuild muscles, tissues, cells, enzymes, and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA).

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Protein aids muscle recovery after a run or strength training, helping to heal any microscopic damage and build new muscle fibers to match your training load.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that athletes consume at least 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. For example, a runner weighing 154 pounds (70 kg) should consume at least 84 to 140 grams of protein per day to meet their physiological needs.

While these recommendations are good for most runners, one way to run without losing muscle mass is to increase your protein intake by at least 1-2 grams per pound of body weight, especially if you have a negative energy balance (weight loss) or those looking to build muscle. .

It’s also important to space out your protein throughout the day because muscles use protein more efficiently when given in large doses in small doses every few hours. Therefore, it’s not just how much protein you eat that matters, but also how often you eat it.

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Studies have shown that consuming 20 grams of protein immediately after exercise and then every three hours for the next 12 hours increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis more than consuming more protein less frequently (eg, 40 grams every six hours).

Protein and regular protein intake throughout the day, make sure you have protein in your race and post-workout fuel. Protein is important for your post-workout recovery.

A review of 11 studies found that cyclists who consumed protein with carbohydrates after a workout improved cycling performance (defined as both time to exhaustion and time trial performance). Cyclists who consume only carbohydrates achieve an average of 9% higher endurance than those who consume only carbohydrates.

How To Run And Not Lose Muscle

Since muscle protein synthesis is best supported when you eat at least 20 grams of protein every 3 hours (rather than 40 grams every six hours), one way to run without losing muscle is to eat smaller meals. Frequent throughout the day.

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To save time, many runners prefer to complete their cardio and weights in one consecutive session. However, if you really want to build muscle and learn how to run without losing muscle mass, it’s best to split your sessions into at least a few hours, or alternate them.

Strength training burns muscle glycogen, as does low-intensity running (training in zone 1 or zone 2), so if you lift weights then run or run then lift weights without completing your workouts, you’re more likely to deplete glycogen during your second workout. and injury to burn muscle tissue.

When you run or do cardio on an empty stomach, there is little muscle glycogen on board to burn for fuel. As such, you are more likely to break down muscle tissue for energy.

If you’re going to run before breakfast, eat something high in carbohydrates before your workout, such as oatmeal, a banana or toast with dried fruit, butter and honey, or an energy bar.

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This will help replenish your muscle glycogen stores and blood sugar levels so that muscle protein is only minimally used for fuel.

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