Oh yes!! I can hear the gasps of shock right about now. Running to lose weight can actually make you fatter!! I bet you thought running would get the weight off! Maybe you thought you’d:
· Have to be stuck on that awful DREAD-mill
· Spinning away on some silly elliptical machine
· Spending an hour or two running away – far away from your home and back.
Well I bet you will be pleased to find out that you don’t have to do ANY of these things……unless of course you’d want to! But why would you want to do that?
Ok, before we get all scientific – let’s look at these two images below.
One is a long distance, endurance Marathon Runner and the other one is an Olympic Sprinter. Which one do you want to look like?
Which one looks STRONG and HEALTHY?
It’s obvious, isn’t it? But they are both runners – aren’t they?
Yes, they are BUT they both have very different methods of training and eating.
If you want to look emaciated and if you want to have low amounts of muscle density – then start running LONG, FAR distances.
If you DON’T want to have a beautiful, sexy shape – then keep running to lose weight.
Don’t get me wrong – I am not against running. Running can be good for certain things – but it can also be misused and abused.
Are you a cardio misuser? How do you know?
· Do you try to “burn off” bad food choices?
· If you don’t have enough time to work out – do you choose cardio over resistance training?
· If you want to lose weight do you set a goal of a 10K or 5K?
· Do you track and record “calories burned”?
· Do you feel like you have to be a sweaty mess to feel like you have had a quality workout?
· Are you afraid to try resistance training for fear of getting bigger or too bulky?
If you answered YES to any of these – you may be a cardio misuser.
Your main goal when you are trying to lose weight is to create a healthy metabolism. Too often people look at the scale and see their weight and their body fat and freak out!! Then they decide they have to “eat less and move more” and then they cut calories and do tons of cardio!! They spend an hour or more running to lose weight - all with good intentions – weight loss!!!
But often this works against people. They may lose some weight in the beginning but eventually it slows down and comes to a halt. WHY? Because this above method can eventually cause a decrease in metabolism because the calorie deficit was too large for too long a period of time. Then....the scale stops moving.
Spend your valuable time doing exercises that increase your metabolism which will turn your body into a constant fat burning machine.
Exercises such as resistance training, circuit training, bodyweight training serve as the ultimate metabolism boosters.
Cardio used with a purpose such as Sprinting, Interval training, Hill runs and Fasted cardio sessions can serve as excellent forms of cardio when used properly.
Whatever you do – don’t just burn calories by running to lose weight because it will eventually work against you.
Remember – your main goal is to create a STRONG metabolism – so don’t destroy it!
This is not to say that you should not get your heart rate elevated - because you absolutely should!! But how you do it is what is important.
I worked in a fitness center for years and watched people who ran steady state cardio year after year and their bodies did not change - at all. In fact, some of them did get heavier and flabbier!! And they realized they were getting heavier - so what did they do? Run longer, harder and faster.
And guess what....their bodies still didn't change.
This is one of my favorite articles about why running to lose weight can make you fatter. Here, Rachel Cosgrove of Results Fitness talks about what happened to her own body when she abandoned her normal routine of weight training and metabolic circuits for training for a marathon.
If your goal is to run a marathon or be an endurance runner - than of course you need to start training by running.
But if your goal is fat loss - I really suggest metabolic training, circuit training or high intensity interval type training.
Hope this helps!!