Does Running Make You Fat? (Independent Article)


I got in from Monday night Bootcamp  and on my facebook profile  ( Click here to sign in if you havent already today ) a friend had sent me an interesting article in the Independent  – titled “Does Running Make You Fat?”

Click here to read the FULL ARTICLE.

I enjoyed the read, and put some thoughts together for you.

Before you read on…I suggest you read the full article (CLICK) – just so you’re not biased by me and my writing?!!!!  Also – theres quite a few comments – its sparked a mini debate over there on their site (to the tune of 334 comments at the time I write this)

So……………..who’s right?


Heres my take. on the good and the bad.

The Good

1. Running is cheap – it’s free and you don’t need equipment!  Walking or running (if not really overweight) should be something easy to do. 

                                                                                              Gyms can be expensive when you don’t actually use them

2. It’s flexible. You can walk and run, run faster or slower depending on where you are at.

3. Running will definitely burn lots of calories (read the rest of this blog post because there is a downside)…while you are doing it.

4. Fresh air and time to think can do a world of good (doubly so if you’re stressed).

                                                           Running can be good when you want to get away from your….*ahem* ….beautiful significant other!

5. I am a big fan of sprints – if you are already fairly lean and used to running at high speeds.  Believe it or not – this is actually called ‘running’ too!

6. You can run with a friend – and this will keep you doing it.  Which, if you don’t already know – is extremely important.  

7. Regardless of weight loss and body composition (Muscle Vs. Fat)………there are other health benefits from walking and running.  To name a few:  Increased Cardiovascular Fitness, lung capacity, as well as decreased blood pressure, and also even if its not muscle – if you are lighter……your joints will thank you for it.

The Bad….

1. Running can be boring.  Don’t get me wrong, I like a 10-20 min fairly fast run every now and then. A 90 minute run would bore the s**t out of me.  Now, put a leather ball in front of me and 21 other players and I’ll be fine.  If that’s how you feel – then take up a sport – theres plenty of teams looking for football players, rugby players – take the time to look around and join a club.

2. Running only burns calories while you re doing it – and then only for a very short time afterwards.  High intensity exercise has shown to raise metabolism much longer.  Burn fat while at rest? 

Give me some of that!


3. Doing the same thing over and over (including running)….will mean your body starts to burn LESS calories with every subsequent attempt.  Eg you run 5k,  3 times a week and everytime you complete in 30mins.  Maybe you burn X amount of calories.   A few weeks later, if you re doing the same amount of work in the same amount of time……..its likely you ll be burning less than you originally did. 

I ll point out that this can be true with a weights program.  For example, if you are lifting the same size dumbells as you did 3 years ago for the same amount of reps – chances are you ll look pretty similar. 

                                                                                                                   Often You can lift more than you think

4. You may lose weight – you might not lose fat. 

Muscle weight and Fat weight are totally different.  Muscle is more dense………therefore it takes up less space than fat does. So, if you re after changing your bodyshape – running and running some more probably wont cut it.

Many of us want to change the way WE LOOK……so it makes sense to use exercise that does this.  Running will help you lose mass……..but it will come off wherever it comes off – and often, you can look the same……….just a smaller version !!!!!


So in Summary…….

1. For fat loss and weight loss = Food is more important.

2. Running doesn’t make you fat. Excess calories from junk food, combined with a lazy approach to moving around does. Your body is more clever than you think – and will try to keep a sense of balance.  

3. Running is better than sitting, and if you’re looking to change your shape (I would guess higher than 75%) – you should be incorporating some resistance exercises.

4. Eating better is better than Eating crap – and depending on whether you want to change your weight or body shape – running will have some value.

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