Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Truth About Running And Weight Loss

Let me premise this statement by saying that your body is an incredibly self-serving vehicle, whose goal is to sustain life. Therefore, it has no interest in burning additional calories since that would mean it must expend additional energy and then refuel to keep living.

Now let's look at the goal of running or any other type of cardiovascular endurance based method for weight loss. Whether you are pumping away on the elliptical or running outdoors, you are temporarily burning calories to create an energy deficit which in turn leads to weight loss.

The problem with this equation is that your body becomes accustomed to this type of exercise fairly quickly (within 4-6 weeks) which means you will burn fewer calories with subsequent workouts. You may notice this when you are breathing less heavy or sweating less than before.

So now in order to burn the same amount of calories (or more) you must either:

1. Gain weight (which is exactly the opposite of what you are trying to achieve)

2. Run longer (eventually you can only run so far and only have so much time to commit)

3. Increase the incline (eventually self-limiting)

Although two of those scenarios are viable options, they will inevitably become the limiting factor in your weight loss goals. Trust me, if you don't first succumb to the hours of cardio or repetitive motion injuries, you will eventually become frustrated with your plateauing weight loss attempts and just give up all together.

I don't want this to be the cycle that most people are destined to repeat. Don't let yourself fall victim to this type of weight loss futility. Begin with a few small changes to your program at a time. You can start by either adding in some interval sprint work, including at least 2 days per week of weight training, or opting for a strength and conditioning workout that both burns calories and boosts your metabolism.

The choice is yours. I just hope you make the most of your already busy schedule.

Good luck!

Author of Fatlossity - the Complete, In-Home, Step-by-Step, Weight Loss System

Stephen Cabral is a national health & fitness correspondent with over 10 years of credentials and media appearances. He holds national and international certifications in strength & conditioning, personal training, yoga and nutrition. For more information on his Free Trim, Tone & Tighten Newsletter seen by over 100,000 readers each week go to


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