Spreading the Truth About Running and Fat Loss

If you lead a sedentary lifestyle and start to move your body more frequently, with more intensity, for longer periods of time you will likely lose weight (assuming you don't start eating more in response to this increase in activity). But many of you aren't completely sedentary and have some training experience. You're likely doing some level of training right now. I'm speaking to you.

What if you've been training or running for a while, but can't lose any more body fat? Maybe you've hit a plateau and you're getting frustrated.

Maybe you've even tried running more or adding spin class to the routine in order to burn more calories. How's that working? How much more can you realistically add?

“But isn't running supposed to burn a lot of calories and cause me to lose weight??”

Show of hands – who's had these thoughts before? I mean, it's kind of instinctive, right?

Well, guess what? Our instincts occasionally suck.

Whether you want to admit it or not, it's easy to think you know it all. Or that you know enough. I diagnose quite a few cases of “I Know Syndrome” every week and isn't pretty at first. People get defensive 'n' stuff. Seriously, click that link and consider it required reading.

It's like, “I, the client, will tell you, the fitness professional, how it is!” Excuse me?

However, when the light bulb finally flickers on and you relinquish your grip on the stuff you 'thought' you knew, we can start to make real progress.

My intention with the next several posts is to educate you on why simply running more will not necessarily lead you to the land of the lean. So let's get into lesson 1.

What is Your Most Pressing, Urgent, I-NEED-THIS-NOW Goal?

Maybe you want to...

  • Run a 5K,
  • Finish a marathon
  • Do a full bodyweight pull-up
  • Improve your running form
  • Fit into your old jeans
  • Rock a mean handstand in yoga class
  • Qualify for Boston
  • AND, bulletproof your body from injuries?

That's great! Ok, now pick ONE.

Having more than one goal is like trying to drive to 3 different cities on the same trip. They may even be along the same roundabout route, but it's gonna take a long time to get to that 3rd city.

It's much better to hone in on one goal and devote all of your (precious) energy towards it. The rest is a distraction. You'll likely end up lost and discouraged.

So you can tell me you want to run a marathon, but if you really want to lose body fat, tell me! It matters A LOT. The training is different. Period.

On my Facebook page I asked a question:

What is ONE action you can take this week that will have the biggest impact on you getting closer to your goals?

Well, one action you can take right now is to prioritize your goals.

Is it going to be a marathon or a running form change? Is it going to be Ironman triathlon or ripped abs? Sculpted legs or Broad Street Run?

Just because you THINK that training for Broad Street will lead to better looking legs, doesn't mean it is the best way. Beware of “I Know Syndrome”. It rears it's ugly head all too often. My smartest clients know that just because they are a [fill in smart person job here], doesn't mean they're also an expert in training, physiology, movement science, behavior change, etc.

Ok, you have your instructions. Step 1: Pick ONE goal. Then, if you need help finding the shortest possible route, ask for help.

Next time, pt 2: training for fat loss vs. training for distance running races... seems like a good match-up!  You excited?