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The truth about running and fat loss

Are you desperate to lose fat? Why you need to STOP doing what most people do!

I’m going to say something that will probably surprise a few of you…in fact some may find it damn right wrong, controversial or even start burning their gym clothes in protest at my audacity and sacrilege…

“If you want to get strong and effectively lose fat, DO NOT START RUNNING!”

There, I said it, it’s finally off my chest!!! Now there is space for what should be on my chest – a plated up barbell begging to be pressed!

I see so many people do it, it’s like a society wide brainwashing has taken place!

They realise they are getting a bit to cuddly, join the gym and head straight for the treadmill or exercise bike – and this ain’t for no warm-up!

They dial in a slow speed and just plod along in a steady-state of intensity for 30, 45, 60 or 90 minutes – I swear I’ve seen the same person first thing in the morning as last thing at night – sleep jogging exists!

And when I speak to these people about their goals and what they want to achieve, 8 out of 10 times it is ‘weight loss’ (well actually it’s more often ’fat loss’ when the difference is explained!) And I understand why they do it – it’s an age-old commonly held belief, and it does seem logical when you give it a limited amount of thought.

‘Exercise burns calories, running at a steady slow state is exercise, if I do it for 60 minutes I’ll burn….errr…..loads of calories – right!?!’

Well, yes, it is an exercise, yes, it will burn calories – but is it the most efficient way!?

And before I get lynched by all you runners and cardio worshippers out there, please note who this is aimed at…

Most people who go to the gym to lose weight (fat) and get strong don’t love the gym – FACT!

They don’t want to spend hours there. They have a million and one things they’d rather be doing! They don’t want to be getting sweaty as a hobby – they do it for one thing and one thing only – the results it will bring!!!

Therefore, anything you do solely for results should be streamlined, maximised for effectiveness and be the very best method available – right!? For strength and fat loss, distance running, and other steady-state cardio, simply aren’t that!

If you love to run, of course, that’s what you should do.

If your goal is to run a 10K, half marathon, full marathon or compete in an ultra-race you are obviously going to need to put the miles in! (although I’d also advise that strength training is added into all these running programs to!)

But for the large majority the basis of their training should be something along the lines of:

  • A starter of light cardio/stretches (5-15 mins)
  • A main course of weight training (25-40 mins)
  • A dessert of cardio, ideally HIIT based (10-20 mins)
  • All washed down with a ‘coffee and mint’ of cool down stretches (5-10 mins).

Delicious – yep!?…It’s OK, you can hold off on tipping me just yet!

And if you’re overweight there are further reasons why a daily dose of running isn’t the best idea!!!

When you run, every step you take is placing 4-8 times your bodyweight on your joints!

So, if you’re a dead ringer for Mo Farah, the 4-8 ‘lettuce leaves’ that hit your joints each step aren’t stressing them out sufficiently do damage and driving them to ‘spark up’ their namesake!!!

However, if your weighing scales cringe when they see you approach, imagine the internal hell your joints are living on a daily basis! They are already stressed, so adding 4-8 times of ‘you’ each step is pushing it ‘a bit to close to the bone’!

On the other-hand, weight training will not only prepare your body to run (if that’s what you want to do in the future), but it will also provide you with a myriad of other fitness and lifestyle benefits such as increased bone density, improves posture, regulates insulin and reduces inflammation.

My motto is: “Get fit to run, do not run to get fit!!”

Are you a runner, weight trainer, overweight or just human??? I’d love to read your comments and thoughts.

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