Why Are Runners So Skinny?

why are runners so skinny
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Runners tend to have very low body fat percentages and lean physiques. There are several reasons why runners can stay so skinny:

Regular aerobic exercise like running burns a lot of calories. Runners can burn 500-1000 calories per hour during a moderate to high-intensity run. All this calorie burning makes it easier for runners to maintain a calorie deficit and low body fat levels.

Running builds muscle and raises your resting metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns at rest. Runners tend to have more muscle mass than sedentary individuals.

Most runners watch what they eat. Runners are generally health conscious and pay attention to nutrition. Eating a clean, high-protein diet makes it easier to stay lean.

Running suppresses the appetite of some people. The physical intensity of running releases hormones that can reduce appetite for a period of time afterward. This makes it easier for runners to avoid overeating.

Genetics plays a role. Some runners are just genetically predisposed to having an ectomorphic body type that finds it easier to stay rail thin.

why are distance runners so skinny
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Running is a weight-bearing exercise that builds strong bones and lean muscle mass. The combination of a muscular physique with a low body fat percentage gives runners their trademark skinny appearance. While genetics play a role, anyone can work towards a lean runner’s body by training consistently and eating a healthy diet.

Why Do Runners Need to Eat More Calories?

Runners burn huge amounts of calories through their high-mileage training. They need to eat more food simply to fuel their workouts and recovery. If runners cut calories too low, they risk injury, overtraining, and poor performance. Eating enough provides the energy for optimal training adaptations.

Do Runners Need to Lift Weights?

Runners should incorporate some strength training into their regimen. Lifting helps prevent injuries by strengthening muscles and connective tissues. It also improves running economy and builds more lean muscle mass, boosting your metabolism. Avoid bulking up and focus on lighter weights, high reps, and full-body exercises.

How Much Should Runners Weigh?

Ideal running weight depends on many factors like height, body composition, and mileage. As a very general rule, most healthy runners have a BMI between 18.5 and 22. While BMI isn’t perfect, it provides a good guideline for determining if you are carrying too much or too little weight for optimal performance.

why are long distance runners skinny
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How Do Runners Stay Motivated?

Runners use many tricks to stay motivated. Scheduling group runs, signing up for races, track runs with apps like Strava, running for charity, exploring new routes, setting goals, and joining running clubs are just a few examples. Having running buddies and a supportive community is key.


In summary, runners can stay skinny through a combination of high-calorie burn, increased muscle mass, clean diet, genetics, and running’s appetite-suppressing effects. While staying slim may come easier to some runners, anyone can work towards improving their diet and fitness to achieve a lean, athletic physique. The key is consistency with both training and proper nutrition.


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