7 Reasons Why I Lose Weight With Running discourage
Regular clients and random people in the gym will ask me the following question: “I want to lose weight with running, my girlfriends/friends do that too, or do you advise me to do this?”
And that is a very good question!
There are bizarrely many conflicting messages on the internet about the topic of losing weight with running. One site says that it is effective, but that you have to run at the (relatively) low rate in the fat burning zone.
The other site says you have to run at high speed and another site says that running does not work at all to lose weight.
In this article, you discover the truth! Here is what you will learn:
- How to burn up to 7 times more with other workouts than running
- Why you burn more calories at higher intensity
- What are the risks of running and what the alternatives are
- Why excessive running can be unhealthy
- Why you do not get a sexy figure with (excessive) running
ATTENTION: I am talking about losing weight with running, not about your health or fitness with running.
Reason # 1: no optimal fat burning
Most people who run do that to lose weight. But why? Who has said that running is effective for losing weight? And why do not you focus on burning fat instead of losing weight because that’s two different things?
Many people read on the internet and hear from people around them that you have to exercise to lose weight. The first thing that comes to mind is cardio like running, cycling etc.
Women especially tend to cardio and run fast, because you would lose weight, especially if your heart rate is in the fat burning zone.
This is in contrast to strength training. Especially women are convinced that they are (fast) muscled by strength training, something that they find aesthetically ugly.
All in all, these theories and arguments sound logical and intuitive, but that does not mean that they are correct …
How you burn 7 times more fat than running
In a study that covered a total of 12 weeks, one group performed cardio three times a week for 30 minutes while another group did 20 minutes of high intensity interval training (abbreviated HIIT) 3 times a week.
- Both groups had lost about the same weight, but …
- The HIIT group lost 7 times more fat than the cardio group!
- At the same time, the cardio group lost 0.5 kilos of muscle mass while the HIIT group just won 1 kilo
So you see again, losing weight and burning fat can be completely different! It often happens that you lose fat but in the meantime stay at the same weight. That is because muscle mass weighs heavier than fat.
And remember, the HIIT group exercised a total of 60 minutes a week while the cardio group played 90 minutes.
Another study shows that if women do HIIT three times a week instead of cardio, after 15 weeks:
- Significantly more fat percentage has been lost
- Significantly more belly fat and fat around the legs have lost
Even if you burn exactly the same amount of calories with HIIT compared to cardio, you still burn more fat in its totality.
This is because with this training you use all kinds of muscle fibers, namely the slow, fast and super-fast muscle fibers. In cardio, such as running, you use only the slow muscle fibers.
In addition, you make more testosterone and the growth hormone HGH, both of which increase fat burning. Strength training is also more effective for burning fat than cardio.
Basically, HIIT turn loses weight with running to shame.
Do you want to lose weight with running? Fine, but your friend who does HIIT:
- Has a tighter body 7 times faster than you
- Is 33% less time to train than you
- Gets a sexier figure than you (read more about this at reason 6)
Buy some good running shoes for your training:
Example of a HIIT training
Below is an example of a HIIT, something that you can easily do at home.
Summary reason # 1: losing weight with running is worthless compared to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) because it burns 7 times more fat.
Reason # 2: little afterburn effect
You would think that you burn a lot of calories with running, and that is also the case with other sports. Nevertheless, burning calories during training is not the whole story.
For example, a training also provides extra calorie burning after the training, also called afterburn effect. Officially this is called the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, abbreviated EPOC.
When your sport is at a higher intensity than running, the afterburn effect is higher. This has been shown in several studies, although these studies are often more than 20 years old and have few participants. Nevertheless, we can assume that if you combine all studies, the data and results are reliable.
Especially with a short training, the percentage of afterburn effect can be very high compared to the total number of calories burned.
There is a 2005 study that assigned participants to two groups. In one group, participants cycled at a constant pace for 3.5 minutes. In the other group, participants were asked to do 3 sprints of 15 seconds each as quickly as possible.
This is what the groups burned during the sporting activity:
- Cycling group: an average of 29 calories per participant
- Sprint group: an average of 4 calories per participant
Nevertheless, the burned calories were completely different after the training. Here they are:
- Cycling group: an average of 39 calories per participant
- Sprint group: an average of 65 calories per participant
Bizarre huh? So big is the afterburn effect:
- Cycling group: 26% of the total calorie combustion!
- Sprint group: 94% of the total calorie combustion!
That’s what you hear … 94% afterburn effect!
Of course, there have also been studies for a longer sports duration. In that case the afterburn effect percentage is less, but certainly not negligible.
For example, a study shows that in an intensive spinning training of 45 minutes participants burn an average of 519 calories, with an additional 190 calories after 14 hours. In short, the afterburn effect increases the number of calories burned by nearly 37%! Other studies show somewhat lower numbers.
Strength training has shown that the afterburn effect can last up to 38 hours
Summary reason # 2: in losing weight with running, people often do not take into account the calorie burn after the sport (afterburn effect) and that is higher with a strength training or a training with high intensity.
Reason # 3: injury sensitive
Are you overweight and do you want to lose weight? Oops, running involves risks for injuries.
If you are a beginner, you can easily get injured with running anyway, but when you are overweight the chance is only increased.
The reason for this is that it is stressful for the body to catch the blow at every step. Especially if you are not used to it, your ankles, knees and hips may become overloaded.
When you get injured, it may be that you need weeks to recover.
An alternative to running with less injury sensitivity are the following cardio sports:
- Cycling or cross trainer
- To climb
Still, start running? Here are some tips to prevent injuries:
- Wear stable shoes that connect to your feet
- Little experience? Start calm!
- Try to land on the front of your foot
- Build up the intensity of the training slowly
- Preferably train on a soft surface
- Do an extensive cooling-down
But as said, running is far from the most effective way to lose weight. You better do a high-intensity interval or do strength training.
Summary reason # 3: losing weight with running entails the risk that your ankles, knees and hips may become overloaded and that you have been injured for weeks.
Reason # 4: takes a lot of time
As I already said on reason 1 is that with 60 minutes of training per week 7 times more fat burned than with 90 minutes of cardio per week.
But it can go a step further, because some people do cardio much longer.
In many cases, people even think “the longer the better”! But that creates a problem, which is number 5.
Summary reason # 4: a workout with high intensity is more effective and costs you less time than trying to lose weight with running.
Reason # 5: creates stress
Running is a sport that some do as long as possible to burn as many calories as possible.
But there is a catch…
With prolonged exercise, which mainly happens with sports that you do at a low intensity such as running, your body enters a stress mode. The result is that the body anti-stress hormone will produce cortisol. The result is that you will hold fat more quickly.
Also in terms of health, you do not necessarily have to walk long …
Research shows that if you run 2 to 15 kilometers per week with a speed of 10 to 12 km per hour when you train 2 to 5 days a week, you are less likely to die prematurely than if you do not move or move less. But do you train more than that? Then it has no effect on premature death.
I suspect that if you really run excessively, you will only increase your premature mortality. There are two arguments for this:
- If you have a weak heart muscle, health benefits occur in 30 minutes of exercise, but at 60 minutes the effect is counterproductive, especially if you are elderly.
- Of all people who died in a marathon (only 1 in 100,000 participants), 50% died in the last mile (1.6 kilometers).
I do not recommend exercising for more than 60 minutes. I even think that 45 minutes is more than enough.
Studies show, as done by the University of Natal, that if you do strength training you get optimal muscle stimulation between 45-60 minutes. At the same time, you maximize testosterone production and minimize cortisol production. Cardio sessions of between 30 and 45 minutes are best for the same reasons.
Summary reason # 5: too long a workout causes stress in your body so you can store fat faster, so keep it up to 60 minutes of sport.
Reason # 6: muscle mass loss
Do you remember the research for reason 1? He said that you burn up to 7 times more fat with HIIT compared to cardio.
But not only that because the cardio group lost 0.5 kilos of muscle mass while the HIIT group just won 1 kilo!
You might be fascinated by …
But just take a look at these pictures below. Would you like to be one of the top people or the bottom one?
- Top athletes: sprinters with a lot of muscle mass
- Lower athletes: runners with little muscle mass.
Who do you find more attractive? What figure would you like?
It seems clear to me that you would rather be one of the upper persons. Maybe not that extreme, I understand that. In any case, you will get a more attractive and sexy figure if you build more muscle mass.
Another advantage of more muscle mass is that you burn more calories during the day.
Summary reason # 6: with running you lose muscle mass, while muscle mass (also for women!) Gives you a sexy figure instead of one that you become a thin blade.
Reason # 7: food has more impact
Various studies show that adjusting your diet is much more important than exercising.
A meta-analysis (from 1997) shows that adjusting your diet is 2 to 3 times as important from all the 25-year-old studies.
More recent studies also show that sports have little impact on weight loss.
Based on the data and experiences of clients who I trained, we can assume about this ratio:
impact nutrition vs movement during weight loss
Nutrition: 80 %
Movement (physical activity): 20%
Summary reason # 7: studies show that nutrition has much more impact on losing weight than exercise or sports like running.
Are there any benefits of running?
Building stamina and endurance, but …..
As mentioned, this article was about losing weight with running, not improving your health or fitness with running.
Here is a list of advantages of exercise including running:
- Lowers the chance of obesity
- Lowers the risk of high blood pressure
- Lowers psychological stress
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- Strengthen your heart, blood vessels and lymph vessels
- And much more…
Another advantage of cardio is that it can lead to a reduction in visceral fat. Visceral fat is also called organ fat since it is fat that is around your organs.
Visceral fat is associated with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, cancer and many more diseases.
In the end, this client that asked me or can lose weight with just running did not start losing weight and that is a good thing! So did learn there is a better way.
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