Does Running Help You
Lose Fat and Stay Lean?

Run to Stay Lean

The other day I was jogging when I ran into a good friend who was walking his dog. The sun was hiding on the horizon, and we had both stopped to appreciate the beauty of nature.

He broke the silence with “hey, you’re great ! must you be running a lot?” I stopped for a moment and thought: “this is weird, I have not run too much.”I’ve been working hard with my workouts and eating pretty well, but I do not run more than usual.

“No, not really. I’ve been doing weights. “

“Oh wow! Well, you look a little thinner, and I thought it was because you’re running. “

Watching the sun setting on the horizon and knowing that there was little daylight left, I did not feel like plunging into the nuances of running and its connection to body weight, so I just let it go.

Read more: Tabata Training: 12 Workouts for Burning Fat and Building Strength

The Myths of Running and Thinness

That brief interaction with my friend accompanied me for a few days, and it made me realize that most people still connect running (and other forms of resistance training) with weight loss.

The relationship between running and thinness is so deeply rooted in our collective psyche that the vast majority of people start running to be in better shape. If you think that running will make you lose weight, a logical conclusion would be to run a lot if your goal is to lose weight and body fat.

However, a problem arises here: this association is based on an erroneous logic that confuses correlation with causality. Yes, there are many slender runners (so running and being slender may be related), but just by running you will not be thinner.

If you have been following BuiltLean for a while, you probably already know that there are more effective and productive exercises to reduce body fat and get a good figure.

Consider the following question: does running help you lose weight and lose fat? And, more importantly, should running or any resistance training be part of your training program?

Let’s start by defining what resistance training is.

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What is a resistance training (stable state)?

Resistance training, also known as “steady-state” cardio, is any aerobic activity you perform at a constant rate over an extended period. Typical examples of this type of exercise are moderate running or a long bike ride.

In general, you keep your heart rate between 50 and 70% of your maximum, which is often referred to as the “fat burning zone” (and which is a myth).

Read more: 16 Easy Exercises To Lose Belly Fat

Is resistance cardio good for your health?

The question of whether it is good or bad depends entirely on what you are trying to achieve with the exercise. In other words, what is your specific goal?

Positive points of resistance cardio

Several studies have shown that running is excellent for cardiovascular health, and builds a solid aerobic base that allows you to train harder during your other workouts. A light jog or even walking can also be a great starting point for a beginner who wants to get in shape, but who may feel intimidated by the gym. And, in the right doses, it can be an excellent way to control stress.

The negative points of resistance cardio

On the other hand, if your goals are to create and develop muscles, running will not help you much. And if you want more effective training to perform in a limited period, running and other cardiovascular activities based on resistance are not the best options. If you love running and want to increase your fat loss, sprinting is a very effective way to lose weight and lose fat because it is a high-intensity exercise and creates an excellent after-burning effect.

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Where can we fit a resistance training

That said, I firmly believe that if you‘re going to be an entirely functional human being, you should do some resistance training (like running), at least once a week.

You should be able to run without stopping for a few kilometers without injuring yourself. You should also be able to walk for a few hours without having to stop every 5 minutes. In my opinion, these are healthy and functional activities that we should all be able to do as human beings.

Before deciding whether running can fit into your exercise program, these are the possible long-term advantages and disadvantages of resistance exercises, such as running.

Read more: 7 Interval Workouts That Burn Fat Quickly

Benefits of Running and Resistance Training

1. Ideal for beginners

If you’re not in shape or you’re just beginning your journey in the world of physical training, light cardio exercises such as walking or jogging are an excellent starting point. It all comes down to the practical: there’s no need to go to the gym, you do not need more equipment than running shoes or a bicycle and almost no privacy. You can take a walk, or get on your bike for a while. I think this is the essential benefit of steady state cardio.

Remember, a perfect exercise program is the one that is done, so getting the path where to exercise is relatively free of obstacles is a key component to start your walking in cardio workouts. Walking and cycling are excellent examples of simple exercises to perform.

2. Increase capillarization

Aerobic exercise depends a lot on oxygen, and the more activity you do, the more effective your body will be at transporting oxygen to your muscle fibers. Aerobic exercise can increase the number and size of blood vessels through increased capillarization (development of more capillaries per unit of muscle). This allows for higher delivery of oxygen/fuel to the muscle cells, more significant elimination of CO2 and waste products and an efficient transfer of heat away from the muscle.

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3. Improves the aerobic base

Each activity you do depends on the aerobic energy system. Even high-intensity exercise requires a little help from the oxidative system in the body. The more resistance training you do, the more effective your aerobic system will be. This allows you to build a broader aerobic base, which means you’ll have a higher capacity for almost any physical activity you do.

4. Releases stress

We all live hectic and stressful lives. Chronic stress can cause severe problems if left unchecked. Steady-state cardio can have a calming effect on the body. In fact, the brains of runners could be better equipped to manage stress due to the release of certain neurochemicals during aerobic exercise.

Read more: Cardio Training vs. Weight Training: Which Is Better to Lose Weight?

Potential Disadvantages of Running to Lose Weight

1. Less effective in losing fat

The body is a surprisingly adaptable machine, and its primary objective is to maintain homeostasis. The problem with steady state cardio is that your body finally adapts to the demands of your training, which means it becomes more effective and burns fewer calories doing the same amount of work.

Because steady-state cardio primarily uses the aerobic energy system, there is no post-combustion effect so that only calories are burned during actual activity. To continue observing progress and results, you must do more and more exercise, which consumes a lot of time.

If your goal is fat loss, it is better to adjust your diet and perform a full body strength workout instead of doing steady state cardio hours. You will probably get better results in less time.

2. It is not effective to develop speed, power, and musculature

Running and other forms of resistance training do not develop much muscle, or power and speed. Most sports require bursts of speed or effort, so only with resistance training will you be neglecting these other critical aspects of physical fitness.

Think of tennis serve, or jumping to reach a rebound in basketball, of chasing the ball in soccer, of rowing on a wave, etc. Almost all sports require some power movement so that the ideal fitness program will incorporate speed, power and strength training.

3. High risk of injury

Repetitive movement patterns, such as running or cycling, can skew certain parts of the body and neglect others, causing muscle imbalances and possible chances of injury. Running with the right style is a pretty technical skill that most of us are never taught.

Think about what will happen if you have a terrible running posture and do 5,000-10,000 steps with lousy technique every time you go out running. Does it sound good?

While all physical activity carries a certain amount of risk, if you only make one type of movement repeatedly over and over again, you may be at higher risk of injury. Instead, you should vary your training program with a combination of strength training, interval training, and steady state cardio.

Read more: The 10 Best Exercises to Lose Weight

A Place To Run and Maintain The Routine of Resistance Exercises

While running may not help you muscular or jump higher, it offers many other significant benefits and is probably ideal for completing your general training program.

And if you’ve set a goal to lose weight and lose fat, I think running and other resistance training can help you achieve those goals. For the reasons stated above, executing these activities as the only form of exercise would not be the best approach. But if you combine running with strength training and HIIT workouts, then you will have an excellent recipe for fat loss.

For those looking to include some resistance training in their lives, these are a couple of good ideas:

Simple tips to include resistance training in your routine:

  1. Work on your daily journey

Think about how you can add a bit of resistance training on your daily commute to work. If you live in a big city, this could be the easiest way to do these exercises. Choose 1 or 2 days each week and walk at least 2 miles (about 3 kilometers) to or from home. Maybe you can get off the bus, train or subway a few stops early and walk the rest of the way?

If you drive to work, maybe you can find an option to park a few kilometers from your office and do that once or twice a week.

And if you work from home, this will require a little more planning, but try to set up 1 hour a day to make standing calls. A good friend of mine works from home and establishes 3 to 5 work calls standing every day at 1 pm He ties the laces of his sneakers and goes for a 1-2 hour walk while receiving calls from I work by phone.

  1. Find an activity that you are passionate about, and that involves some resistance exercise

Finding an activity that you are passionate about can eliminate the need to have willpower when it comes to exercising. If you do not like to run, do not run. If you’re sitting in the office all day, riding a bicycle might not be the best option for your stiff hips. Find a hobby or activity that you enjoy.

Read more: The 5 Best Types of Yoga to Lose Weight

Think of when you were a child. What did you like to do? Try to do that activity at least once a week. The prominent examples are running, cycling, hiking, soccer, basketball, tennis, surfing, boxing, etc. But the options are endless!

I hope this article will help you to know how running and other forms of resistance training can fit into your exercise program to help you lose weight.

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