T Nation

Building Mass, Running Cross Country


I am a Cross Country runner who's looking to bulk up a little and gain 5 to 10 pounds of lean mass. I am currently recovery from an injury so I do a lot of swimming to make up for my running. I've been lifting 4 times a week and change up my workouts every 3 weeks.

This set of workouts currently are mostly medium-heavy reverse pyramid workouts. I swim around 4 miles a day, run 3, and bike about 14 to 20. I was wondering what foods I should eat to gain more mass without to much of the negative effects from all that cardio.


Challanging indeed!
I'm not going to get into specific food choices. With that amount of work you are going to need a lot of calories. I suggest you begin at 20 calories per pound of bodyweight and proceed from there. (my guess is you will require more) I believe with that level of endurance work you can push the percentage of carbohydrate to 50% of total calories. Your protein should be at least 1 gram per pound (many would suggest up to 2, and they may be correct). Do not be foolish and avoid red meat, it should be a daily staple in your diet. Supplements should represent no more than 25% of your total calorie intake.


I think your question will do better in the conditioning forum. They should have loads of info about how to make progress while doing all of that cardio.



You do this a lot...give ultra-specific advice to people who you know very little about.

Really? 50% carbs? Based on what? Why not 60?

This guy is running CROSS COUNTRY and SWIMMING. How many big cross country guys have you seen lately?

Were they swimming?

I am all for giving good advice, but let's be real here....you don't know enough about this guy.


The situation as presented provides more than adequate information to provide specific 'starting points', and I never implied that they are more than that. It is common; perhaps routine that endurance athletes comsume a higher percentage of calories from carbohydrates (and yes he may need to eventually push it up to 60%).

If he had asked if people think it is possible to add muscle while maintaining that level of conditioning work, my answer would have been different. Although you and I agree about more than we disagree(I don't like zercher stuff either...LOL); our styles are very different. What you frequently call a limit, I'd call a target or short term goal. We are all different, but we aren't that different.

The advice I provide has proven to be effective over and over again, countless times. Ultimately the goal is for the individual to 'become intimate with themselves' and take ownership of the program. I stand behind my suggestions. Nothing radical in my advice to the OP, just basic 'starting line' stuff.


you swim 4 miles, run 3 and bike up to 20 miles a day every day?

no way you're putting on 10lbs of muscle doing all that lol


dont call youself a cross county runner.. your injured, not even running, swimming alot and doing a bit of biking, and your goal is to bulk up?

not a typical x-country trining program at all..

call yourself a guy thats doing a bit of everything to stay in average shape..


By that logic, take someone who plays for the NFL. He gets injured in a play. He's instantly no longer a football player and can't honestly tell someone that he's a football player again until he's recovered and playing?