I worked in an all female health club for 11 years. As part of my job, I met with new members to talk over their goals (which 99% of were fat loss) and I cannot tell you how many women would come in and say,
“I want to lose 10-15 pounds, so I started running 3+ miles a few times per week”.
I have to admit, when I first got into the fitness industry, I thought running was the key to body change as well. I used to run a LOT. And I would get increasingly more frustrated when I would be running 25+ miles per week, yet not lose a single pound on the scale, and not mention, I didn’t look any different.
Now, before I go on, this particular post is for women who WANT to change the way their body LOOKS. I know that not all women want to see aesthetic changes and they exercise for a whole host of other reasons, which is great! But what I’m going to discuss is this:
I’ll tell you right now, for the majority of us – pounding the pavement day after day is not the most efficient way to lose fat, get more toned or look leaner.
In addition, it can be TERRIBLE for your hormonal health, it can increase the risk of developing overuse injuries and I know for myself, it made me SO hungry that any calories burned through running were negated by trying to satisfy my hunger and cravings.
Print out any running plan and ALLLLL you do is run and, or cross-train. Which, I guess makes sense. I mean, you DO have to run if you want to get faster or complete a race. But, if you want to change the shape of your body at the same time, you can do so by running *smarter*. Which doesn’t necessarily mean running more or longer distances.
The MAJOR component missing in most of these beginner “Couch to 5K” programs is strength training and intensity. And *intensity*, NOT duration, is what will change your body.
I haven’t ran more than twice per week in YEARS, yet I’ve placed in my age group and PR’d (ran my fastest time) on more than one occasion, I did however, strength train regularly. So I absolutely know this to be true.
The first race was following my kettlebell certification. I literally just showed up to this race. I hadn’t run AT ALL. My kids were doing the fun run and I jumped into the 5k. My only training was short, intense, strength training and I ran faster than I ever had, including the ones I had trained exclusively for by running.