Runners, as a group, are elitists. You have to go to a special store to have someone evaluate your running style, so you can get “proper” shoes. And by “proper” shoes, I mean 120 dollar shoes, with 30 dollar inserts. Then, as you strike out on your first run, a douchebag in ridiculously short purple shorts, visor, and arms so skinny, he had to shrink his extra small tank top so it didn’t look like he was playing in daddy’s clothes, scoffs at your “foot coffins” and tells you minimalist shoes are where it’s at. So back to the store to make your wallet another hundred bucks lighter. Down 250 bucks, you again make your way down the street. The iPod is rocking the Rocky IV soundtrack. A week later, your shorts are barely covering your giblets and you’re espousing a vegan lifestyle. How did this happen?
As you can tell, I don’t care for runners. Unlike my Crossfit post, I can’t say I like traditional cardio. I hate traditional cardio. It’s boring. It takes too long. But most importantly, it doesn’t yield good results. Read that again. It doesn’t yield good results. Results in sports or for weight loss, it is the most ineffective form of exercise.
How could this be? I go for a run or walk and I sweat a bunch, so I must be getting thinner, right? That’s a big fat “NO”.
I’ll give you a few examples. Americans have gotten fatter over the last 30 years, but we are exercising more. Read that again. Fatter, yet exercising more. In 2013 a large scale survey was conducted and found that more people were exercising, but using an aerobic model and not losing weight. Another study in 2012 compared aerobic activity of those who exercised 30 vs 60 minutes. Guess what? The 30 minute group lost more weight. And it wasn’t much for both groups. About 9 pounds over 13 weeks. Less than a pound a week. That sucks!
If traditional cardio sucks so bad, why do people do it? To tell you the truth, I don’t know. My guess is people like being in pain and sweaty. Maybe it’s in our history. We laud people who run marathons, half marathons, and triathlons as being in great shape. You won’t ask them to help you move the couch upstairs, but they’re in great shape!
So what’s the answer to losing weight? First of all, forget about weight. Shed fat. The best way to do that is to gain muscle through resistance training. Next, clean up your diet. Next, train like this guy:
Not this guy:
By adding sprint training into your regimen, you get the benefits of an elevated heart rate, without all the repetitive stress of jogging. Additionally, you ignite the larger fast twitch muscle fibers that make you powerful. Most importantly, it takes less time. Run a 400 meter sprint, then a 300 meter sprint, then 200, then 100. Recover in between each one, and you’re at the track for 15 minutes and have probably expended 400-500 calories. Go for a jog and see how long it takes to get that burn.
Hey look, if you enjoy running, I’m definitely not telling you to abandon it. I will question your sanity, but whatever. What I am saying is that if the goal is weight loss, there is a better method.