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I'm in a bulking phase and I like going for a run after my gym sessions (5 days a week). I estimate that I burn a little less than 500 Calories per run. Will these running sessions not affect muscle growth if I consume an extra 500 Calories (total 3,000 Calories) on those days to account for the extra Calories burnt? Or am I putting my body in such a deep catabolic state from running so often that I'm sacrificing muscle growth despite the extra calorie consumption?

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I addressed this in this question. I basically state that not only is cardio not killing muscle gains, but not doing cardio would possible hold you back.

The things that could hurt your progress to gain muscle are:

  1. Not eating enough which you've stated you are actively trying to avoid.

  2. Spending too much time running and not enough time lifting. There's a limit number of hours in the day and sometimes you have to pick one over the other.

  3. Being too tired and exhausted to fully complete a workout. To gain mass you need to practice progressive overload which means lifting heavier weights more often over time. Excessive cardio can tire you out which could hinder progress.

Although, what you've stated doesn't sound to be that much. If you can do it five days in a row, then it doesn't sound very intense to you. You should be just fine as long as you're getting the appropriate calories.

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I would say yes! I'm not a certified physical trainer but I know from my own experience and research that doing cardio everyday while bulking will make it more difficult to make the gains you're looking for! Of course, the caveat would be that you are eating in a SUPER surplus because you should already be in a surplus for a bulk.

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Consider what's required by your body to build muscle

  • Proper diet is required to build muscle. You need enough protein and carbohydrates and fats to fuel and enhance recovery from your workouts.

  • You also need rest and recovery time between workouts to allow your body to rebuild and increase your muscle mass.

  • You don’t grow muscle during your workout - but rather between workouts.


Think of these resources like a bucket of water

  • The more often the bucket is full - the faster you're able to gain muscle mass.
  • The emptier the bucket - the harder it is to build more muscle.

For each strength training workout you perform:

  • You take a scoop of water out of the bucket. The harder you train, the bigger the scoop of water you take from the bucket.

As you replenish your muscle-building and energy supplies by resting and eating effectively - you assure that you have all the necessary resources necessary to build muscle. In other words:

  • You refill the bucket

The problem you can run into with cardio is that you draw on the same resources that you have available to build muscle. In other words:

  • You take more scoops out of your bucket.

That not only means fewer resources that are available for building muscle, but because your recovery is also compromised.

  • It becomes even harder to refill the bucket.

That doesn’t mean you can’t do any cardio while building muscle. It just means that you need to perform cardio that minimally impacts the resources necessary to build muscle - such as shorter, more intense forms of cardio.

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