When it comes to fat loss, the method most often associated with attempting to set it in motion is one that sets you in motion, running. It’s a staple, universally accepted, and usually first to pop into your head method for burning some fat off your body. In some cases, the activity of running has its moments. However, the association between fat loss and running is very much flawed. The reason its flawed is simple, people assume that by adding running into their daily routines they will magically achieve results. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Although running can certainly help with fat loss, just like any other physical activity, it is only one of many options available in helping achieve fat loss. Running, in and of itself, is not magical.
There’s been plenty of times where I’ve heard someone say they need to run to “lose that gut”, or “get back in shape”, assuming running alone is going to cure their bodily woes. If that’s all it truly took I guarantee you plenty more people would be in shape than really are. The assumption, however, is understandable. For an average individual with a “decent” diet that is around their maintenance calorie count, adding a physical activity such as running into the equation will indeed bring results. Assuming their diet stays the same and they do not increase how much they eat due to the fact they began running (which, by the way, is the worst thing you can do…rewarding yourself for running is not going to get you results!), their overall calories consumed per day will drop and they will go below their overall maintenance amount per day. This, in turn, will allow the body to burn fat. Keeping this ideal example in mind, we all know it usually isn’t the case. Therefore, we must account for all these other factors if we really want to use running to get our bodies into the fat burning zone, simply adding it into the equation will most likely not produce results. It’s going to be a good factor in improving your cardiovascular health and keeping your heart healthy, but your regular expected results…most likely won’t occur unless you fit into that ideal scenario.
To change this and make running a great way to help you lose fat, since we’re already on the topic and it’s pretty much explained above, is to add it to your overall altered lifestyle that includes eating a bit less. As is the case with not being able to use exercises to lose belly fat, it also follows that you won’t be able to get results simply from running (again, excluding the scenario above). Therefore, you have to make sure that you really put your focus into your diet as well and stay restrictive to get to the point you want to get to and get that fat off. A good diet is absolutely essential for results. This is a recurring theme, and may seem to be abused around here, but it’s only because we know you’ve been shown myths of quick and easy results through the media and it’s time to stop being conned, and get the results you are really looking for. For overall diet tips when trying to lose fat, check out our Healthy Foods to Eat To Lose Weight article.
Getting back onto the topic of the actual article, running is not necessary to achieve fat loss. As mentioned, it is simply one of many ways. Consider running a “supplement” to help you achieve more calorie loss in a day than the amount you consume through food (calories in < calories out). As long as you make sure that you burn more than you consume in a day, you will achieve fat loss. You can get ripped without doing a single cardio session, I’m serious. On another note, you will not speed up the process by cutting calories significantly and then running on top of that, so don’t get the wrong idea. All that will do is lead to muscle loss and nobody wants that to happen. There’s a big difference between losing weight and losing fat.
By the way, I am not advocating that you do no cardio. I’m simply stating that it is possible to achieve your fat loss goals without ever having to run. Whether you include it as a supplement to your routine is up to you. I’d say it’s a good idea, not only for overall cardiovascular health but also because it allows you to burn off some extra calories to make up for a cookie or something else you’ve eaten to keep sane in the process. If you’re serious though, you’ll find ways to keep sane by finding good things to snack on that are healthy and low in calories, sugar snap pea anyone?
Quick Tip: Consume a higher amount of protein and a lower amount of carbohydrates to enhance your body composition and “look” a bit more lean than you really are because protein is a diuretic (drains water weight), while carbohydrates retain water weight. Water weight often bloats you and makes you look fatter than you are. Watching your sodium won’t hurt either. Running has its place in achieving fat loss, I’d recommend it. However, don’t consider it magic. It is, as mentioned, only one of many supplemental tools. Good Luck!
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