Many people choose cardio (read: miles of cardio!) to get in a slim shape. We assume that the more miles you run, the faster you’ll burn fat and lose weight. I used to believe there was a magical relationship between miles run and weight loss, however I found out the hard way that this wasn’t helping (for me) at all.
During the past weeks I’ve been talking about my weight loss lessons learned with regards to nutrition. This week I want to tell you more about what I’ve learned when it comes to endurance running, or long-distance running. Endurance cardio or running is a form of continuous running over distances of at least 2 miles or 3 kilometres. Long-distance running seem to be very popular when it comes to working out to achieve weight-loss – and I get that..
When I first started working out (and was too afraid to go to the gym and look like a fool between all these fitties) I chose running. I didn’t had any clue how long would be efficient, so I started with 30 minutes and before I knew it I was running for 1 hour at least… 6 times per week! Looking back I’m thinking that’s insane and how did I keep up? Wow! But somehow at that time I thought I had to run as often as possible and as far as possible. And I wasn’t even working towards a marathon, no I just thought this was my key to weight loss.
It was a challenge to fit this type of workout routine into my weekly schedule and soon I experienced the pitfall of endurance cardio: that “runners body”. Was my weight ok? Yes. But was I looking fit and healthy? No. Abs in the making? Hell no! Imagine me looking at the scale being satisfied, but looking into the mirror and not seeing the same results. I still had the same amount of fat around my belly and hips and didn’t look “toned” at all. Hmm.. how come?
Muscle breakdown results in an increased making of glucose which next will be stored as fat. It’s NOT self-evident that endurance cardio is equal to weight loss or fat burning, because eventually you’ll break down muscles and not fat. This is something I wasn’t aware of and certainly something I never wanted in the first place. Looking back at pictures from that period (me thinking I was rocking it), I didn’t look healthy at all and most definitely not in shape. More over, I was extremely tired and exhausted of all these hours of running.
LESSON LEARNED #4: long-distance cardio = weight loss? WRONG!
Quality is better than quantity! Thank god someone opened up my eyes and pointed me at HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) running. Training with intervals allows me to shorten my workout time, but still leads to an equal and comparable level of endurance (compared to long-distance running). More important – here we go ladies! – this is the type of workout that will make you burn fat like crazy. FAST! I think it’s the best and my favorite workout in combination with weight training.
Nowadays I’m still in love with HIIT’s and you’ll never-ever-ever see me running 10 miles again. I learned to listen to my body and practice the theory. I prefer to combine my HIIT’s with strength training in the gym, because I can see it has a better effect on my body and I think the results look much healthier!
Please tell me girls, do you run? And how does it work for you, do you recognize my experiences? Have you ever tried HIIT? 🙂