Does Running After Weight Lifting Affect Muscle Growth

When it comes to fitness, there are many different approaches to achieving your goals. Some people focus primarily on weight lifting to build muscle, while others prioritize cardio exercises like running to improve endurance and burn calories. But what if you enjoy both weight lifting and running? Can you do both in the same workout session, or will running after weight lifting affect your muscle growth?

As a fitness enthusiast who loves both weight lifting and running, I’ve often wondered about the impact of combining these two activities. To find out more, I delved into the research and consulted with experts in the field. Here’s what I discovered.

The Importance of Recovery

Before diving into the specifics of running after weight lifting, it’s crucial to understand the importance of recovery for muscle growth. When you lift weights, you create tiny tears in your muscles. These tears need time to repair and rebuild, leading to muscle growth and strength gains. This process is known as muscle protein synthesis.

Recovery is key to maximizing muscle growth. It allows your body to repair the damaged muscle fibers and adapt to the stress placed on them during weight lifting. Insufficient recovery time can hinder muscle growth and increase the risk of overuse injuries.

The Potential Impact of Running After Weight Lifting

Running immediately after weight lifting can potentially interfere with the recovery process and hinder muscle growth. Here’s why:

  1. Fatigue: Weight lifting is a demanding activity that depletes your energy stores and fatigues your muscles. When you follow it with a high-intensity cardio session like running, you may not have enough energy or strength to perform at your best. This could limit the effectiveness of your weight lifting session and compromise muscle gains.
  2. Increased Cortisol Levels: Cortisol, often referred to as the stress hormone, is released in response to physical and mental stress. Intense weight lifting already elevates cortisol levels in the body. Adding a cardio session immediately after weight lifting can further increase cortisol production, which can have a negative impact on muscle growth.
  3. Reduced Anabolic Hormones: Weight lifting stimulates the release of anabolic hormones like testosterone and growth hormone, which play crucial roles in muscle growth. However, running after weight lifting may reduce the release of these hormones, potentially impeding muscle growth.

Optimizing Your Workout

While running after weight lifting may have potential drawbacks, there are ways to optimize your workout routine to balance both activities and promote muscle growth:

  • Separate Sessions: If possible, consider separating your weight lifting and running sessions. This allows for optimal recovery between the two activities, ensuring you get the most out of each workout.
  • Prioritize Your Goals: Determine whether your primary goal is muscle growth or endurance. If muscle growth is your priority, consider placing weight lifting before running in your workout routine.
  • Time Gap: If you prefer to do both weight lifting and running in the same session, allow for an adequate time gap between the two activities. Aim for at least a few hours to give your body sufficient time to recover.


In conclusion, running immediately after weight lifting can potentially affect muscle growth due to factors such as fatigue, elevated cortisol levels, and reduced anabolic hormone release. However, with proper planning and consideration, it is possible to balance both activities and optimize your workout routine.

Ultimately, listen to your body and adjust your workout routine accordingly. If you find that running after weight lifting negatively impacts your performance or recovery, don’t hesitate to make adjustments to prioritize your goals and overall well-being.