Should I Run To Lose Weight?
April 11, 2012
Often in the gym during training sessions, questions come up and if I am asked the same question a few times, then it is time to write a blog post about it. One question that seems to crop up on a regular basis is about starting a running program to “get lean” or lose weight.
Now, I have never been an advocate of running as a fitness program. First off, I am not a runner. Yes, I have trained and actually participated in several 10K and 12K races over a one year period, several years ago. I am not a “pretty runner”. I feel like I glump more than run. I don’t think I was meant to run, but that is purely a personal opinion. I detest running with a passion – the boredom factor is huge and I can’t even seem to enjoy the scenery because I am too busy thinking when is this torture going to be over! Hill sprints, treadmill sprints or even stair sprints I can handle – short, sweet and to the point! And if you are talking about getting leaner or fat loss – high intensity interval work is the answer.
But, I digress – sorry! Back on topic. I have done several articles in the past couple of years that talk about fat loss, interval work and the “afterburn” or EPOC. These articles help explain the rationale and science behind interval work as opposed to steady state cardio. If you would like a review, these can be read at:
I also think of those just starting on a fitness program for the first time and choosing running as the base of their program. I firmly believe you need to be fit to run, not run to get fit. Running is a very demanding, high impact activity that can wreak havoc with an untrained body. I think your time in the beginning of an exercise program would be better spent on mobility exercises, flexibility work, core stability/strength work and an overall strength training program. In these early stages, you can prepare the body for running if running is an activity you want to participate in.
Running becomes an issue if you are constantly dealing with running related injuries (shin splints, plantar fascitis, knee pain, etc). If your running based exercise program is causing pain or injury, then your overall health will suffer as you find yourself unable to participate. Running, if you choose it, should be a small portion of your overall fitness program – not the base of it.
If we get back to the original question raised in the gym – should I run to get lean or lose weight? – then I think two pictures will illustrate these very well. If you take the runner who does no cross training or the sprinter w
ho weight trains and runs sprints – who do you think is the more “toned” looking individual? I know who I would prefer to look like!
Till next time,