02-12-15 | MIND | happiness |

Weight loss: a personal lesson learned #4

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? 🙂

Weight loss: a personal lesson learned #1 click here.
Weight loss: a personal lesson learned #2 click here.
Weight loss: a personal lesson learned #3 click here.

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  • Willemijn

    I totally get the story, but for me: I just like running, a lot. And running gives me an other form of progress. The progress of km’s and the fact that, hopefully, I can run a marathon one day. For me with the love for running came the healthy lifestyle, so it was the other way around. I do see that my body is stronger, but indeed, not toned. Maybe one day I’ll want that super-toned body, but for now I’m just proud of the strength of making all those miles.

    • Carolina van Dorenmalen Post author

      Hi Willemijn!

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience 🙂
      I totally understand where you’re coming from and I can imagine you prefer this way of exercise. You’re goals are different than mine at the time.
      When you’re working towards a marathon you’re doing a great job of preparation. However, for me there was a different goal and thus a wrong outcome.

      I wish you all the best and please let me know when you run that marathon girl!! Good luck 🙂

      With love,


  • Samantha

    I’m also a runner. It still works for me to lose weight but that’s because I’m a lot heavier than the average girl.
    And, like you said, I understand that it can be the cause of muscle breakdown but I just really want to do the 10K next year.
    It’s also a fact that you just have to listen to your body. If your legs are totally sore the day after than your running is just wrong. I use schemes to let my body get used to it and it’s better to start with nothing than with breaking every muscle haha.

    • Carolina van Dorenmalen Post author

      Hi Samantha,

      thank you so much for sharing your story! 🙂

      I totally understand where you’re coming from. The amount of weight loss needed is related to the amount of cardio required. Also, your aim to run the 10K requires this type of exercise and preparation.

      I’m proud to hear your enthusiasm and positivity! I wish you all the best to realize your weight loss goal and complete the 10K!

      Good luck and stay strong girl!

      With love,

    • Jimmy

      It’s really great that people are sharing this inonfmatiro.

      • Quiana

        I’m impressed! You’ve managed the almost imiseopbls.

  • lisa

    Hi Carolina,

    Ik wil gaan beginnen met het sporten weer oppakken en wat afvallen/strakker worden. Nu wil ik inderdaad graag thuis HIIT trainingen gaan doen. Ik weet nu zelf hoeveel calorieën ik kan eten om mijn energielevels in balans te houden. Ik zou graag willen weten hoeveel calorieën je verbrand met de HITT trainingen zodat ik een beeld heb hoe de balans voor die dag eruit ziet en hoeveel ik zou moeten eten. Weet jij dit en hoe doe jij dit?

    • Carolina van Dorenmalen Post author

      Hi Lisa!

      Wat goed dat jij alvast met de goede voornemens voor 2016 bezig bent! HIIT gaat ze-ker bijdragen aan je doelen voor een healthy and slim shape 🙂

      Zelf maak ik altijd gebruik van apps en m’n activity tracker horloge. Dat laatste is natuurlijk wat prijzig, maar apps zijn er voldoende! Neem even een kijkje in de App store en zoek op “activity tracker” “run tracker”. Precies weet je het nooit natuurlijk, maar dit geeft zeker een goede indicatie om met je calorie inname/verbranding aan de slag te gaan 🙂

      Succes en zet ‘m op! Je weet me te vinden voor meer vragen hihi

      Beste wensen alvast en liefs,

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