I want to address the question of whether running is good for weight loss. We’ll go into the top 5 reasons why it's not actually a good weight loss method.
But before I do that, I want to be clear that if you love running or love endurance sports that’s fine I’m not going to judge. But what I’ve found with many of my clients is that they don’t really actually love running, they just think it’s the best way for them to lose weight. Maybe they grew up watching the rocky movies or still want to listen to their high school coach making them run laps, either way they don’t realize that you don’t HAVE TO run to lose weight and in fact I try and dissuade people from running, and here are my top 5 reasons for why I do so.
1) Running isn’t going to give you that strong, healthy physique that many are looking for. In order to achieve that, it goes way beyond the calories in calories out theory. Now while that does matter for weight loss, we also need to look deeper into our hormones. In order to look our best, we need to manipulate muscle building aka our anabolic hormones and our lipolytic, aka our fat burning hormones. Running does not do our muscle building or lipolytic hormones any favors when compared to weightlifting and in addition to that running does not increase our resting metabolic rate nearly as well as lifting does. Remember, the more muscle we have the more fat we burn at rest.
2) Running is not the best idea for weight loss is that it simply creates too much stress and raises cortisol levels. Now increased stress and cortisol levels are not a bad thing in the short term, but in the long term really robs us of our health. Too much cortisol will ruin our digestive and endocrine systems and lead to more muscle loss and fat gain. And increased cortisol has been especially correlated with increased fat storage around the abdomen.
3) Running is not the best idea for weight loss is that it creates a lot of inflammation and oxidative damage in your joints. It has been shown to lead to osteoarthritis and bone loss. Injuries are a big deal because it’s a lot harder to lose weight when you can’t exercise and you can’t exercise if you are injured. Yes you can get injured doing any type of activity but you’re all but guaranteed to get hurt doing traditional cardiovascular exercise like running.
4) I do not really recommend running is that that not only is all that stress bad for your joints and your hormones and your mind its also bad for your immune system. The body cannot heal and recover if it's constantly under stress.
5) Why I do not recommend running for people trying to lose weight and look their best is that it's really boring and really time consuming and inefficient. I know some people love it and I respect that that is fine whatever your jam is that’s fine with me but personally I rather watch paint dry then run on the treadmill for half an hour. And objectively speaking, it is too time consuming. You can get a much better workout and burn more fat and build more muscle in a 10-15 minute hiit workout.
Alright everyone once again if you love running, that’s fine, do it! But if you’re really looking to just lose some weight and optimize your physique and protect your long-term health, I don’t really recommend it. At the end of the day though, it is still better than laying on your couch and watching Netflix.