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Old 02-15-2012, 03:19 PM   #1  
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Question Can running really make you gain weight?

Hi chicks!

So the title pretty much sums it up. I don't take measurements since I tend to get rather obsessive about such things; however, it certainly seems that since I've started running a lot my legs have bulked up (and I was pear-shaped to begin with!). I've heard that doing lots of cardio can do this...has anyone else had this issue? If so, any suggestions on how to "lean down" my legs?

(If this is addressed in another thread or the FAQ, feel free to redirect me
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:11 PM   #2  
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In a word, no. Not fat. Running helps you lose weight, as in fat. However, you will gain lean muscle. You might be gaining some weight but it would be muscle, not fat. Just out of curiosity, why do you feel that it's a bad thing that your legs have bulked up?

If you want leaner muscle, exercises like yoga and pilates would achieve that.
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:36 PM   #3  
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Not the running itself, no... but if you're eating a ton more to compensate for how tired you are then YES, for sure.

You can't spot reduce. Calories in, calories out.

Last edited by ValRock; 02-15-2012 at 06:36 PM.
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Old 02-15-2012, 10:27 PM   #4  
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Originally Posted by bandit bear View Post
If you want leaner muscle, exercises like yoga and pilates would achieve that.
Muscle only comes in one shape--and that is dependent upon your genetics, not the kind of exercise you do.

OP, you are noticing water: muscles will tend to hold onto water as they become accustomed to a new exercise regime. They'll get used to it and let it go. You definitely cannot gain fat by running (or become 'bulky').
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:14 PM   #5  
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I can attest to the water weight! Recently I've noticed that at the beginning of the week (after 2 days of rest and despite eating more on the weekends) I'm at my lowest weights then by Wednesday and then Friday I'm generally at my highest. I've also been adding distance and speed lately, so my body is still getting used to this whole thing.
In the end, running isn't going to harm your weight health!
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:32 PM   #6  
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Ah yes... good old muscle water retention. It'll go away.

I lift and I lift HEAVY and I must say that my muscles are pretty 'lean'. Unless you're specifically supplimenting to bodybuild and eating INSANE amounts of protein, you won't bulk.
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:17 PM   #7  
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Contrary to what everyone else said, I noticed that my legs got slightly bigger after I started running. I didn't notice a weight gain, it's just a bit of a shape change in my thighs/hips.

Not a huge difference, but some of my skirts don't fit me as they used to (and it's not due to scale changes, as there haven't been any).
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:32 PM   #8  
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Quote:
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Muscle only comes in one shape--and that is dependent upon your genetics, not the kind of exercise you do.
I don't mean to be argumentative, but that's not true at all. Look at body builders. It absolutely depends on the kind of exercise and weight lifting that you do.
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Old 02-17-2012, 02:31 PM   #9  
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Thanks for the input & encouraging words, ladies

banditbear: I suppose it bothers me because my legs have always been disproportionately large, and I'm not keen on them becoming even more so! I have actually heard that running can make you LOSE muscle, which would make you look bigger in proportion to your weight, so that was the impetus behind my asking for personal experiences.

ValRock: I definitely know it's impossible to "spot reduce", but I'm afraid of "spot increasing"! I'm pretty sure this isn't water weight, since I've been running for about 9 months now.
I think you make a great point about overcompensating. I don't think I'm too bad with this, but I tend to not spread my food out very well during the day; I do need to keep a closer watch on my diet for sure.

It's just a bit frustrating, since something that makes me feel great and confident also effects changes in my body that make me feel crappy and ashamed. But I'll keep tweaking...If anyone else has input or suggestions, please do share!
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Old 02-17-2012, 03:31 PM   #10  
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As for me, when I ran 6 miles a day about 3 years ago, running helped me lose 50lbs and it toned and shaped my body (especially my legs). I loved running and can't wait to get back in to it to lose more weight.
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Old 02-17-2012, 06:17 PM   #11  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bandit bear View Post
I don't mean to be argumentative, but that's not true at all. Look at body builders. It absolutely depends on the kind of exercise and weight lifting that you do.
You can work, develop, and emphasize all the different muscles to create different physical effects, and you can train muscles for endurance or for strength, but you can't direct the shape that the muscle will take when it grows. You can't choose 'long and lean' muscles over 'short and squat' ones. That part is determined by genetics.
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:44 AM   #12  
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That's really not what I meant then. Having a certain body type is one thing, but you can lift weights to be bulky like a bodybuilder, or have denser, leaner muscle like a runner.
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:34 PM   #13  
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Here's the thing: especially for women, muscle size doesn't really change more than millimeters or centimeters in a year and that's when one is weight training.

It is most likely that your work outs have increased your water retention and with gravity, the water falls to your legs. My guess is that with your weight loss combined with your skin taking longer to shrink, the water retention is going the path of least resistance and the path of most room to easily fill up - your legs.

Keep on keeping on.

The calories in vs calories out is the trump of the situation. But please know, you don't have to achieve that by merely running. Burning more calories than consuming can be achieved by circuit training with no running at all.

If you're truly convinced it's the running, stop running and do a weight circuit for a few months. Same problem? There's your answer. It's not the running.

Above all, do what ever you like to do and forget about appearance for a bit. Focus on your new abilities. Your strength. Your focus. Your dedication. And pat yourself on the back for a job well done in spite of your perception of the size of your legs.
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Old 02-21-2012, 12:26 PM   #14  
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Ever seen a bulky marathon runner? Nope - bulky sprinters, yes, but not long distance runners.
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:07 AM   #15  
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Quote:
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Ever seen a bulky marathon runner? Nope - bulky sprinters, yes, but not long distance runners.
All of the marathon runners that I have saw are thin.
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