BSA reader, Christine West, sent in this question for our experts: I do a lot of road running but I’m not losing any weight. Why is that? And is running on a treadmill as good as running outside?
We asked Dr Duvenhage from Health Renewal to shed some light on the issue.
Regular exercise is a good thing for many reasons. But don’t expect to see the fat melt away just because you run often – on the road or on a treadmill, same results.
It is also important to remember that there is a great difference between weight loss and fat loss. With the first, you want to reduce the mass of your entire body. With the second, you want to carry less fat. About 10 percent for men and 15 percent for women is considered a healthy ratio of body fat. A boxer might need to lose weight before a fight, but most of us are trying to get rid of fat.
Too much cardiovascular exercise can “teach” your body to become more energy efficient. Without noticing, you’ll burn fewer calories every day. Too much cardio also stresses the body. Cortisol levels go up, which leads to increased hunger and cravings.
One drawback of long runs of running at a steady, moderate pace is that you’re only burning calories while you’re sweating. It can help, but you could end up “skinny-fat”. The solution?
Combine the running with any kind of weight or resistance training. After an intense session, your body has to repair and replenish, which all takes energy and burns fat for as long as two days after your training.
Without strength training, cardio will, in fact, let you lose muscle and you’ll end up skinny-fat. And the more muscle you have, the more calories your body needs to keep going.
To lose weight, cut down on calories, do some sprints as well rather than just lengthy runs and hit the weights. Don’t weigh yourself so much, because the new muscle weighs as much as the fat. Rather measure your waist to see the difference.
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