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Running/Jogging For Fat Loss and Squatting


Hi all. I'm going to take a break from weightlifting and focus strictly on running and conditioning. I've been lifting three days per week for two years. I've gotten quite bulky and now it's time to lose the fat, but I also have upper body injuries, so this running is a kind of break until I heal fully. I have some experience doing long distance running (12k last August), but for the past 6+ months the focus has been solely on strength. As a result, my conditioning has gone to crap.

I've talked to several people and they suggest squatting twice a week for maintenance. In the past I've combined running and squatting, and they've negatively affected each other for me. I'm thinking of incorporating HIIT sprinting with light to moderate jogging, and one to two 5k runs a week.

How would I program squatting into my workout week? Thanks.


Squat once a week. The next day is a rest day.



Yep, the trick is always finding what works best FOR YOU and it sounds like those 2x/wk squat sessions isn't that. (also note: those people werent wrong to recommend that either)

Also keep in mind, your best bet to always pick one goal at a time and its tough to tell from your OP:

Is it getting back into running?

Is it fat loss?

Is it about squatting as frequently as you can handle?

edit - ok, it does sound like fat loss is your primary goal. so, results there are ~90% diet-based and runs of all distances will get progressively easier as you continue to get leaner


What was your time in the 12K?

Running isn't for fat loss other than the first few pounds. It can definitely help but it's 95% diet for fat loss. I know some fat fast people with decent endurance, running should mainly be for conditioning.

I've gone as few as once every two weeks with squats and still progressed.

I drastically change my routine too much squat or deadlifting will leave my hamstrings way to tight and make a pull likely. If your going to be running that long you also don't want to squat real low too often, just extra work for your knee tendons. If your sprinting/jumping hills you don't even need a leg day in the gym, the only reason I kept it was because I had a previous knee injury and wanted to train my body to track the knee cap properly.


This is what I would do.

I agree with chillain you should always have ONE main goal that you are working towards. Is it conditioning or fat loss? If it's fat loss I would argue that doing a lot of running is not the best approach.

Fat is lost best by dieting, walking, and short HIT-style cardio workouts. Jogging for long stretches will make you drop weight but I find it leads to strength loss more than other forms of cardio and I think losing strength while cutting is just stupid.

I would cut out excess carbs from your diet, do 2-3 sprint workouts a week and 2-3 30 minute walking sessions a week. This will melt the fat off you. John Romaniello has a great article on here about sprinting to lose fat and get awesome conditioning. Pick a few compounds weightlifting movements and do them every week. If you start to lose strength up the calories slightly. The weight may come off slowly but this way but you won't lose any muscle.

I would squat once a week. It doesn't dig into recovery too much and you can still get stronger with that frequency. Twice a week while doing all that cardio and cutting IMO is overkill and you'll just spin your wheels.


I agree.

I did a half marathon back in December (time was 2:51) and I was 255lbs before training started and about 250 to 253 or so after. SO almost no change.
My training by the way was 2 medium runs of a bout 30 to 45 minutes and one longer run of 10K to 18K, but I did a total of 4 "long" runs.

Yep...it's hard for me to hear it but it's true that 90% of the way you'll look is diet. Fuck!


If you want to lose fat, your best bet is to adjust your diet. Keep lifting weights otherwise you are not giving your body a reason to keep the muscle. Muscle is metabolically expensive, and if you are in a caloric deficit and not lifting, you will likely catabolize some of your muscle and you may not be happy with your results. That's my 2 cents.


Thanks for the replies, everybody. Once a week with a following rest day sounds good.

The primary goal is fat loss. I have used a steady-state cardio platform mixed with sprinting sessions and a caloric deficit with good results in the past. I went from fat to average, bulked, and now I'm fat again. There's always that fear of losing strength on a deficit, so I wanted to keep lifting secondary, while focusing on weight loss. I'm okay with losing some muscle loss, I'm a very easy gainer (thankfully). After trimming some fat and healing, I'll lift regularly again.

I'm not sure if my diet is in order. I eat white rice here and there, but not a lot. Of course, there's no junk and processed foods, except for things like peanut butter and occasional canned/microwaved/oven food. It's almost entirely whole foods.

If muscle is metabolically expensive, then wouldn't it follow that it would be the last thing your body will use to consume as a source of energy?


I don't believe running is a way to waste your muscles away. Even if you ran 5k four times a week, thats just 2 hours exercise. 2 hours exercise isn't going to take pounds of your 1rm or whatever.

With squatting maybe use a 1rm calculator to work out your 1 to 15 rep max, then starting on something like your 15RM work your way back up to your 1RM over a number of weeks.


Trocchi I like ya but if you are taken half and hour to "run" 5k (3.1 miles) it is called a fast walk , ha ha hah.


I think in order for running to help you out, you really need to do a lot. And this is why I think folks suggest diet instead. If you're running 20 miles a week, you should experience some fat loss. But can your body handle 20 miles a week? A lot of the bigger guys in the gym are not runners. And their knees can't handle the abuse. And 15 minutes of cardio is not gonna cut it without some diet changes.

This doesn't mean you can't start a running program. But don't expect fat loss if you can't do the volume.

Another option is to start a swimming program. Maybe do 5 hours a week. Just watch out for shoulder injuries.

I really think it comes down to quantity to offset your diet, but cutting the calories is easier.


I'm in a similar situation, and I was squatting twice a week with running/walking.

What I failed to consider was how long distance running and walking tightens up the hips something fierce, and squatting with stupendously tight hips has screwed my lower back. For the last week, I've been struggling to bend down, or lean forward etc.

So don't forget to stretch/do mobility work! And watch your calorie intake too


No, the other way around. Because its more costly to maintain, the body would prefer to dump it and divert those energy needs elsewhere. At least, that's what prevailing wisdom USED TO BE.

But now, we're finding that fears of muscle loss are likely overblown, and that kcal deficits & fasting need NOT result in the body preferentially burning muscle and retaining fat.

So who really knows what the "answer" is and how widely it varies person-to-person; what we do know is that heavy lifting forces the body to retain LBM during periods of kcal deficits. (ie. we know "what" works, and as far as results go, we don't really even need to know the "why")


Yeah, the posterior chain really tightens up with running. Before a week straight of running I've been feeling tightness in my hamstrings. To be fair I never stretched, and the one day I did I felt nothing during the run plus the day after.

Well, I went with the logic that if the body works hard to build muscle, then it makes sense that it wouldn't let its hard work go to waste so easily.


World record is just under 12 minutes (cant remember the age group).

30 minutes is respectable. A fast walk would be more around 45-60 minutes.

a 6 pace is NOT a fast walk. It is a run.


And that very well may be what's going on.

We know that LBM can be retained, we know that the 'muscle memory' phenomenon is very real etc, maybe someone soon will provide a satisfactory answer for what's actually going on physiologically...



i'm lost.. you been lifting 3 times a week for a few years and you're bulky and fat?

that tells me you either dont lift hard enough, or follow a terrible diet.. MAYBE BOTH?? how do you get fat training with weights 3 times a week. you should be built pretty good by now if you been doing hard weight training. thats 300 hard workouts in 2 years..

running is ROUGHLY 100 calories a mile you're burning, going fast or slow..


Not a few years, a couple. I was doing basic barbell lifting. Squats, deads, overhead and bench presses, mixed in with horizontal and vertical pulling. That was basically it. I was fat to begin with and ended up putting on some muscle while retaining the fat. My body loves to store fat religiously (endomorph somatotype).

I lifted quite hard, actually, and took it very seriously. Going to the gym became like a religion to me. I stalled several times on a few lifts, and blew out my CNS for an entire two weeks at one point after some heavy squatting (it was heavy for me at the time, but probably is a warmup for some other people).


What are you eating?


Nothing wrong with long distance. Throw in some plyo jumps instead of squats.

You're going to lose mass regardless given your scenario. Appreciable mass.

Know that and do what best fits your goal. When you hit it, re-adjust.