4 Reasons Running Won’t Make You Lose Weight
You haven’t done any exercise in a while and have decided to start running in order to shift some pounds .. sound familiar?
So every day so lace up your trainers, plug in the ipod and hit the pavement to burn up a sweat.
At first it’s so hard, every step feels like a full body workout. Muscles you never knew you had are sore and are gasping for breath at the end, and you tell yourself ‘great run’!
After a few weeks it becomes easier, you are less sore, and to get the feeling you had at the start you have to keep running for longer and longer. As it gets easier you think it must be working, my body is adapting, so surely I’ll lose weight?
Then you step on those scales, and to your surprise, very little often or nothing has changed. After all the hard work and consistent hours you have devoted to your new running routine … and you have barely lost a pound. You feel demotivated, frustrated and like nothing you do works.
Well, the truth is running may not be the best option for weight loss and here are the 4 main reasons why.
Consistency Is Not Always a Good Thing
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “consistency is key.” That phrase holds true in 99.9% of situations. Unfortunately, we sometimes confuse consistency with monotony. You see, being consistent in your diet and in your workouts is a good thing…but doing the same workout over and over again? Not so much.\
Because our bodies adapt. You’ve experienced this first hand. Remember how running was painful and difficult at first? But then slowly your workouts got easier and easier. That’s because your body adapted to the workout, and so the energy required to fuel those workouts decreased. In other words, you started to burn less calories while doing the same amount of work.
A study from the University of Manchester explains this very well. In the study, subjects ran on a treadmill for 45 minutes at a constant pace that was not near maximal effort. During the first week, subjects lost weight. After the first week…not so much. The scientists concluded that the subjects’ metabolism adjusted to the workout over time, and consequently burned fewer calories.
The take home message? Add variety to your workouts!
You’re Not Bringing The Intensity
While at the gym one day, I crossed paths with a lovely woman with amazing muscle tone and definition. Impressed by her low body fat percentage, I asked her about her cardio routine.
“Do you run a lot?” I asked.
She laughed and with a smile said, “Oh no. I hate running. If I want to do cardio I just lift weights faster.”
In other words, she increases the intensity of her workouts. You will know this better as high intensity interval training (HIIT). And as it turns out, science is behind her.
In a study at the University of Western Ontario in the US, researchers compared HIIT to steady state cardio. In the study, two groups were formed. One group performed four to six 30-second sprints while the other group performed steady state cardio for 30 to 60 minutes.
They found that the group that performed short but intense sprints lost more body fat.
The take home message? Increase the intensity.
Too Much Of A Good Ting Can Be Bad
Seems a bit backwards right? I mean, if a little cardio is good, a lot must be great?
Well actually not really…
Have you heard of Cortisol? Cortisol is a hormone produced in times of stress or when low levels of blood are present. It is released in an attempt to increase blood sugar; suppress the immune system; and aid in fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism.
So what does this have to do with running? Well, believe it or not, running is stressful. Remember how sore you were at first, when you first tied up those sneakers and hit the pavement for the first time?
In fact, studies have found that long distance running can lead to a chronic increase in cortisol levels.
The answer? Work smarter and harder for shorter periods of time…and not every day. Allow your body to rest and heal. Your hormone levels will thank you for it.
Your Diet Is Terrible
This one is short and sweet as it’s very self explanatory and can be summed up in a few words. Ever heard the saying “abs are made in the kitchen”. Well is 110% true.
Weight loss starts in the kitchen. You can exercise all you want, but if you’re not eating right, you’re body isn’t going to act right.
You have to get your diet in check if you want to keep your weight in check.
Running isn’t all bad. In fact, it’s great. But if you want to lose weight, it’s not the be-all and end-all to accomplish your weight loss goals.
If you are determined to lose that excess body fat, add variety to your workout, increase the intensity, allow your body to recover, give yourself adequate rest and get your diet on point.
If you are exercising enough but seem to find your weight loss plateau’s then it’s almost guaranteed you are eating too much.
FACT = Calories in must be less than calories out. Full Stop. You can’t lose weight if you are consuming more calories than you burn.
So don’t lie to yourself and pretend the bottle of wine at the weekend or the bag of M&M’s you ate don’t count, they do, so be realistic about your goals and keep focused on them.