I'm a cross country runner at heart so I love running 80 miles a week (or more) AND I'm trying to bulk up a bit since I'm very lean (obviously). I've read that you can't really have both unless you are a real genetic anomaly. I eat a LOT of calories and lift, but I can't gain muscle mass.

Is there a limit to how much I can run and build up more muscle mass? The reason I can't just stop running is because I love it so stopping would suck and you lose it pretty quickly too.

  • 1
    Describe your lifting program. What lifts, sets, reps, and how often.
    – Eric
    Nov 9, 2017 at 5:25
  • @eric I usually do two sessions a week in the weight room. I try to do 3 sets of 6 reps across bench, military press, and pullups, and then an assortment of other exercises like shoulder flies, dips, and rows. For the most part, I'm looking at those first three high weight low rep sets for more mass. I'm getting stronger. Just not getting bigger. Also, I rock climb once or twice a week so running in the morning and weights/climbing/beer at night. Thanks
    – Schlaefer
    Nov 10, 2017 at 17:24
  • There is no limit. If your daily energy expenditure including running is 4000 calories, eat this amount of calories to not lose mass. If you want to gain, eat more.
    – Idri K
    Nov 14, 2017 at 16:32

1 Answer 1


There is no specific limit. Running and the many other activities as you do, obviously decreases the potential to build muscle mass. You lack rest in your routine.

First, I would get rid of the assistance exercises and only keep the main ones strength ones. That means, squats, press, bench press, deadlift, pull-up or chin-up, etc.

Second, eat more of the good stuff. Once you get enough protein and then enough calories at the right time, and you are increasing the weights, you will eventually get bigger.

You won't get stronger forever, and it will depend on your diet and on your rest periods. Since you have any rest periods, you'll reach a plateau pretty soon. There is a compromise.

Stop running, build the muscle mass you want and only then work on maintenance, which by itself is already a challenge considering the amount of activities you have.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.