I recently started going to the gym again after a year of little to no sports except long runs and walks and virtually no upper body exercises except a year of PT (popped my shoulder in a bad accident).

Before the accident I could

  1. bench around 140 lbs, now I can hardly do 40 lbs.
  2. do around 30 consecutive pullups - now I can't even do one.
  3. ...

Long story short:

My main goal is to regain some of my strength and be able to bench a a reasonable weight again (say 100 lbs) by August, as well as being able to do at least a few (maybe 10?) pull-ups.

I'm started doing a 3 day split to build strength and mass :

  1. Mo: Chest + Biceps
  2. Tu: off
  3. We: Back + Triceps
  4. Th: off
  5. Fr: Legs + Shoulders
  6. Sa: off
  7. So: off

    Would I burn too many calories by running on 2 off-days to my routine? Will running affect my primary goal of regaining muscle?

I'm already eating a lot of high protein, calorie dense foods and loads of vegetables and fruits, would eating even more help me power through the 3 day split AND the running?


Any exercise program is going to require calories to support building strength and muscle. While you make no reference to the exercises, sets, and reps you are performing, let’s assume that you are fueling your body sufficiently for the three training days. You can check that by using one of the many online calorie estimators. While they can approximate your requirements, they’re only as good as the information you provide. Even then, results may vary widely. Having established an estimated base line for the clories needed to support your training, you should then monitor your progress by collecting some metrics. You can do this by keeping a training journal that records your progress. The journal should show if you are on target for your goals by showing any improvement, or, highlighting any potential problems. As for adding running to your program, the fact that you’re asking about increasing your calories to support the running, tells me that you may already know the answer to your question. That is, if you increase your activity level by adding running twice per week, you may need to increase your caloric intake to support it. If your calories are insufficient to support your program, you run the risk of giving back any gains you’ve made since you’ll more than likely be training at a caloric deficit level. Again, you’re the one that has to determine if you’re getting enough calories (possibly from your journal), but, adding running to your program will not affect your ability to gain mass as long as you support it nutritionally. And, since it’s important to train aerobically (running) and anaerobically (strength training), you’ll have all the bases covered for a well rounded fitness program.


If strength is your primary goal, try to make some or most of your running speed training. For instance, look at an Olympic distance runner versus an Olympic sprinter. Nutrition is important, but the most important thing is not to hurt yourself. Start with whatever weight you can handle, and "slowly" (at a comfortable pace) increase it.

I am not a big fan of muscle splits. You can do them, but I would mix in some full body lifts as well. Deadlifts and squats for instance.

The long answer is that it ultimately depends on being more specific on your training goals. If you want to increase your bench press, I would do it twice per week, backing off to once only if I started feeling pain somewhere. I would do the same with pull-ups. If you have specific movements at which you want to be better, do them more than once per week. I would be very careful with deadlifting more than once per week though unless you are very experienced.

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