Burning Question: Can You Lose Weight From Running?
Ahh… running. It’s what you do when you’re being chased by a black panther, the Russian mafia, or an pistol packing ex-girlfriend.
But while running can help get you out of some sticky situations, we must answer the burning question on everyone’s mind: can you lose weight from running?
The answer is a resounding YES!
But did you also know that you can lose weight by scratching your head, wiping your butt, and playing the piano.
The difference between running and butt wiping
Any time you move your body, you are burning calories, and burning calories means losing weight.
So even if you’re just wiping your butt, you’re still burning calories because you’re moving your body. Obviously, the calorie burn is next to nothing, but it’s definitely there.
Running on the other hand is harder and more intense than wiping you butt, so the calorie burn is MUCH higher(than butt wiping), which equates to faster weight loss.
To help you understand this, I drew a very detailed and complex graph 🙂
Is there anything special about running?
From a pure weight loss perspective, there is nothing special about running.
Don’t believe the hype. Don’t believe Runner’s World. Don’t believe those crazy marathon runners who say running is the greatest thing in the world.
Now before you start bashing me, let me just say that I have nothing against running or marathon runners. Many marathons are geared towards great causes like breast cancer research and that’s awesome, but running just isn’t my style.
While running can help you lose weight, I simply don’t believe that running is worth the negligible calorie burn it produces, and too much running can result in muscle loss.
Do I recommend running for weight loss?
Um… not particularly.
Unless you want to exert large amounts of energy on something that provides little in return, then don’t start running in hopes of losing large amounts of weight.
Also, running too much can put you at risk of losing lean muscle mass, which is something you definitely don’t want if you’re goal is to build an attractive body.
So what should I do to lose weight?
If you’ve read my other posts, then you know that I’m all about minimalism and simplicity.
I usually just recommend people to simply lift weight 2-3 times per week to maintain muscle and to use their diet to lose weight.
But, if you really wanted some sort of extra activity besides weight lifting, then you could give HIIT(high intensity interval training) a shot.
HIIT is much more effective than traditional running. You get to burn more calories in the same amount of time as running, plus it won’t make you lose muscle.
A sample 20 minute HIIT routine
- Hop on a treadmill and adjust the speed levels so that you are able to walk at a medium pace for 5 minutes. This is your warmup.
- Crank up the speed so that you have no choice but to sprint as fast as humanly possible. Sprint for 30 seconds.
- Lower the speed so that you are back to walking at a medium pace. Walk for 90 seconds.
- Continue to alternate steps 2 and 3 until you perform 6 total sprints.
- Perform a 3 minute cooldown on the treadmill by walking at a slow to medium pace.
- Performing HIIT every day can lead to overtraining, especially if you’re already doing intense lower body movements like squats and deadlifts.
- Preferably, perform HIIT after an upper body workout or on your rest days.
- Don’t perform HIIT more than 2x per week if you’re already lifting weights.