Common knowledge dictates that when one wants to lose weight, their energy expenditure has to be more than the number of calories they introduce into their system, right? Sure, there have been many sly marketers who often try to refute that by introducing some fad, but they eventually get exposed for being a sham.
Logically speaking, one of the ways to get rid of excess calories would be exercise. It is undeniable that one of the exercises that expends the most energy and requires the most effort would be running, as it primarily focuses on the large muscle groups. While this may be the case, I’m going to reveal today how running might not always result in fat loss. Surprising, but it makes sense once you read the whole article.
It’s a matter of efficiency. No, I’m not going to start talking about physics here. I’m talking about the way your body functions when it comes to almost anything. So in a sense, what I’m going to be covering here in this post does not only apply to running, but any other exercise-related activity as well. So pay attention.
Our bodies are really incredible when it comes to adaptation. I’ll use a real-life example to illustrate this. For example, if you are from a tropical country and move somewhere with a cooler climate, you’ll get accustomed to it after a few years. With a longer time frame, populations adapt to their environment, which is why eskimos have different physiques to African bushmen, generally speaking.
When it comes to exercise and working out, this also rings true. While you might be thinking about weight loss, your body is thinking about how to adapt to the added strain of the new exercise regime. Face it, working out is a process that expends a lot of energy. That is the whole point of it. However, the way your body think is different – it wants to preserve as much energy as possible. This came from the ‘cavemen days’, when access to energy sources was unreliable.
Relating this back to exercise, the harsh reality is that if you follow the exact same exercise plan, in this case a running plan, then your body will learn to deal with it. Over time, it adapts and learns how to expend the minimum amount of energy required to sustain this level of activity. That is why if you perform steady state cardio, i.e. running at a consistent and set pace, the weight loss benefits of it will start to diminish after a while.
That is the frustration some people will have. They can go to the gym and keep running on the treadmill at the same pace. After some time they start to find out that they are not losing weight at the same rate as they did at the start, even though they are still sweating during the exercise. This, my friend, is the amazing power of the human body, much to the annoyance of people who were hoping to make progress but aren’t seeing results.
So what should you do if you find yourself in such a situation? Simply shake up your routine. One way of doing this is by high intensity interval training (HIIT), by which you run at your maximum speed for a number of seconds followed by slow jogging of a number of seconds. For example, 30 seconds of sprinting and 90 seconds of slow jogging. This type of routine forces your heart rate to change quickly from the sudden change in energy demand, and will therefore increase fat burning due to the need to adjust.
Another thing you can do is switch to a different type of workout altogether. Instead of running, you can switch to cycling or swimming for a period of time, but stay at the same intensity. Once you see the same thing happening, switch back. The bottom line is that you have to shake up the system once in a while and make progress in your workout if you want to make progress in your weight loss. That’s how life is.
I have written extensively on this topic in my book the Lifelong Fitness Blueprint, and there is a lot more detail on how to break through such plateaus of progress. In fact, since my specialty is exercise, the length of this book surpasses my other books that focus on psychology and nutrition, all three of which are vital for people who want to lose weight and keep it off in the long run. In fact, you’d be better off getting all of them in a set with the Granite Fitness Masterclass.
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