While most people are worried about their body getting too obese, there is also a huge section that suffers the opposite crisis of being too skinny for their liking. Being clinically underweight is no less harmful for your body than being obese is.
In this article, we are going to talk about simple, healthy ways of gaining weight, with a particular focus on running as an exercise. As always, we will provide links for any helpful information, surveys, and studies used in this article.
Is It True That You Will Gain Weight if You Start Running?
We will try to answer this question assuming that you have lived a pretty sedentary lifestyle till now and you are thinking of starting to run as a means of exercising. If that is indeed the case, then running is a new exercise for your body, and that fact could prove crucial.
Exercising and moving your body increases metabolism so when you start to run, your body will begin to burn fat and start building muscle mass. This will help you to get rid of the unhealthy fat and build up your core body strength. What actually happens is this: running gets rid of low-density fat tissues and replaces them with high-density muscle tissues, and in the process, you end up gaining weight.
Fitness expert Abhishek Sharma says that gaining weight is about 70% diet management and 30% exercise. The most common reason for people being underweight is actually the fact that they are not eating enough, and their body is not getting enough calories.
The one thing that will definitely happen with running is that you will feel hungrier than you usually do and eat much more than your regular amount. If your problem is not getting enough calories, then running can definitely fix that.
Factors to Consider
To determine whether you are going to gain or lose weight from running you have to consider many factors
- Body Type – Different body types will be affected differently from running for exercise. Skinny trainees will have a greater likelihood to gain weight from running than heavier trainees.
- Type of Running – The style of running you are doing will also affect you differently. Are you sprinting short yet explosive burst? If so, you have a greater likelihood of building muscle not only in your butt but also in your thighs.
- Frequency – How often are you running. Regular running will affect you differently than short periods of sprint burst.
- Diet – And obviously last but not least, you need to consider your diet.
As you can see there are many factors that you need to think about to determine whether you are going to gain weight from running or lose weight.
How Does Running Impact Different Parts of the Body?
Running regularly will completely transform your body. Apart from improving your physical and mental health as an aerobic exercise, it will impact each and every part of your body. Not all of those impacts might be beneficial, but the advantages resoundingly outweigh the adverse effects.
Before running regularly though you might want to consider measuring you fitness level, and check if it’s appropriate enough for you to start regular running sessions.
If not, then you might want to consider working out at home first. This can include anything from calisthenics to weight training workouts, be it doing squats everyday, doing 100 jumping jacks a day, or some dumbbell-only workouts like the alternating dumbbell press or the seated tricep press. – it’s all up to you. When you get to a proper fitness level for running outside you start doing that.
How Does Running Impact the Lower Body?
Here is how running impacts your lower body.
Running is one of the best workouts that you can perform on your legs. If you run regularly for a few weeks, your thigh fat will be gone completely, and it’s pretty much certain that you would have toned muscular thighs. This, in turn, allows you to run for longer on the treadmill or the trail.
Apart from that, you will also develop excellent calf muscles and shapely legs to boast.
Running gives an excellent workout to the gluteal muscles. The consequence is that you will get a toned butt and sturdy stomach muscles. Running, especially when done on an incline treadmill with the incline set high enough, reduces all negative fat from your butt.
The quadriceps are the muscles that propel your knee forward during running. They will strengthen and stabilize your knees while you are in the process of running. Without regular stretching, quads can become inoperative and can accumulate negative fat. Regular running gives the quads a steady workout and increases their strength – that’s one way most pro athletes build bigger quads besides weight lifting and other means.
How Does Running Impact the Upper Body?
Here is how running impacts your upper body.
Running usually shrinks your arm muscles. So regular running will probably shrink your arms unless you combine it with a weight-gaining exercise like Yoga.
Men and women both will lose chest weight when they run regularly. If you run consistently and maintaining a routine, you will see your entire unwanted chest fat disappear.
Abdomen and Back Muscles
Running strengthens your upper body and is crucial for the development of your abdomen and back muscles. Regular running will help you develop strong abdominal muscles, stabilize your spinal structure, and a strong upper core.
What to Do if You Want to Gain Weight?
Being underweight can be a consequence of various factors, from genetic trends to thyroid disorders to lifestyle issues. You might have gained 2 pounds overnight at some point, but that’s far from healthy, lasting weight gain. Trust me, trying to gain weight can be quite a struggle,. However, if you follow these tips regularly, you would be able to see tangible results within a short while.
Watch Your Diet
As explicated before, diet issues are the most common reason for not gaining weight. You are either not eating enough, or skipping meals, or eating unhealthy food that is not fulfilling the calorie intake of the body.
The first step that is absolutely essential for gaining weight is not to skip breakfast. A lot of people tend to do it, thinking they would make up for it with a heavy lunch, but it doesn’t quite work that way. You must eat at least four meals a day, at their proper times, and if you want to gain weight quickly, you can increase your intake to even six meals a day.
If you suffer from a poor appetite due to physical or psychological issues, what you can do is, instead of eating a huge amount at one go, you can keep eating smaller amounts at regular intervals throughout the day. The important thing is not to keep your stomach empty for long periods.
As for the diet itself, you don’t need to change it completely but should try eliminating unhealthy items, stop eating sugar, junk food and food that accumulates unhealthy fat.
Instead, you can enrich your diet with high-calorie items like cheese, almonds, and fruit, carbohydrate-rich food like brown rice and corn, and high-protein food like pulses and meat. You must have a diet routine that includes all the nutrients in adequate amounts. It is a wise idea to consult a dietician and prepare a diet chart.
If you are busy you can use protein shakes like Huel or Shakeology, both are packed with healthy nutrients and are easy and quick to prepare. Or you can try one of my favorite protein shakes -Kachava, which I have covered in this detailed Kachava review, it tastes amazing and has an incredibly healthy nutritional profile.
Getting Healthy Amounts of Sleep
Having a healthy sleep schedule is directly related to gaining weight. Lack of proper sleep leads to tiredness and a decrease in appetite which consequently means that you eat less, and you eat indifferently. A poor night’s sleep might also lead you to make poor dietary choices like fatty and sugar-rich food, undoing your good work before.
If you are fatigued from a night of irregular sleep, it will make you less motivated to go out and do exercises that are absolutely essential for weight gain.
Remove Stress from Your Life
Stress is directly related to metabolism and, thereby, to weight loss. These days people tend to experience stress on much higher levels, whether it’s from their personal life or work life. Stress causes fatigue, reduces appetite, and leads to unhealthy sleeping patterns, resulting in weight loss.
If you have been experiencing stress, anxiety, or depression for a long time, it might be wise to consult a therapist before you start any weight-gaining programme. Once you have fixed your psychological issues somewhat, you can now embark on your weight-gaining journey.
The problem of not having enough appetite can be fixed through essential fitness exercises like running, swimming, and bicycling. Along with increasing your appetite, they would improve your body strength, develop your muscles, and benefit your inner organs like hearts and lungs.
Weight gain is a long-term process; it does not happen overnight. You cannot expect that you follow certain protocols for a few days; you will see a radical increase in weight. For people with genetic and metabolism disorders, weight gain might take longer than expected and might not happen as much as others.
That being said, if you follow a healthy diet, a proper sleep schedule, and exercise regularly, it is unlikely that you will remain underweight for long.
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