Can Running Make You Fat?

I love watching all my people change and become their best versions of themselves at The Worx in Alexandria, VA, whether it’s working with them online or in person. I have clients that have added to their workout at the gym or the online workout by running on days they don’t do the traditional workout programs. One client was visibly upset and asked whether what she read about running was true. Does running make you fat or is that another myth?

People tend to forget the most important part of a fitness program.

If you go out for a run to the local donut shop and stop for a while to sample their wares, you probably will gain weight if you go running regularly. Running does burn calories, but it can’t compensate for a bad diet. Just one donut contains about the same number of calories as you burn in a half hour run. You’d have to run for about two and a half hours to burn off the calories of a Big Mac, without the fries and drink. There’s a saying, “You can’t out=exercise a bad diet.” It’s very true.

Running can stress the body.

Not only does running long distances cause stress, which causes cortisol to be released—that increases belly fat, it also burns calories. However, when you run, those calories come from both fat and muscle tissue. Muscle tissue uses more calories for maintenance than fat tissue does, so the more you have, the higher your metabolism will be. If you burn muscle tissue during a run, you will actually be lowering your metabolism by burning off lean muscle tissue.

Do a combination of a healthy diet and a variety of exercises.

Any exercise is better than no exercise at all, but if you have strength training built into your program, weight loss will be easier. You’ll be building muscle tissue, thus boosting your metabolism and making pounds come off more quickly. There’s nothing wrong with going for a run on your days away from your regular program, particularly if you enjoy it, but don’t skimp on strength training either.

  • When you go for a marathon run, you’re more likely to be either hungry throughout the day and eat more or lounge on the couch because you’re exhausted when you get home, burning fewer calories.
  • Vary your intensity to create a HIIT—high intensity interval training—workout. HIIT workouts burn tones of calories, so if you’re going to run, make it worth your while on those days.
  • Plan your snacks ahead. If you eat a small amount about an hour-and-a-half before a run, you’ll have the energy to run at your peak. Make sure you have a healthy snack following it. Peanut butter and jelly on whole grain or Greek yogurt with fruit makes a good combination of carbs and protein.
  • At The Worx, we can create the best diet for you with meal plans to make it even easier. You’ll lose weight in a healthy manner when you follow these and never feel hungry.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness!


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