T Nation

Running Makes You Fat

First, i looked under articles discussion and that subject was not there and i could not start a new one so hopefully here is OK.
That article is pure filling in my opinion.
Most of it is half truths.
Over 9 years most adults gain some pounds so it says nothing new.
Over 9 years many active people are injured to some degree.
So basically it talks about reality for people who jog versus fantasy for lifters.
I am sure that author wrote better stuff but fillers are insulting a bit because it waste readers time and counter productive because the credibility goes down.
If you missed it below is a copy.

" Running Makes You Fat
by Chris Shugart

Sandra is running on the treadmill when I arrive at the gym. She’s covered in sweat and her running form is starting to deteriorate. “Man,” I think, “she must’ve been running a long time already.” Training takes me about an hour and afterward I glance over at the treadmill section. Sandra is still running. And here’s the thing: I see her doing this every time I go to that gym. I think maybe she came with the gym. Maybe she has a cot in the back.

I admire her dedication, but the fact is that Sandra doesn’t look all that great. She’s on the skinny-fat side, and every week she looks a little more broken down. And truthfully, she’s added some body fat in the year I’ve been going there.

As I’m leaving the gym, Sandra finally gets off the treadmill… and limps painfully over to a stair climber and starts it up. I don’t know Sandra very well, but I can guess what’s going on here. She’s fighting a mental battle with herself. She’s cardio’ing her atrophied butt off, but she’s not looking any better. In fact, she’s looking worse.

She’s stuck in the cardio mindset. “You have to do cardio of course. And when it stops working, you have to do more cardio, and when that stops working, more cardio, and when that stops…”

You get the idea. In other words, once you get efficient at it, you’re only maintaining, if you’re lucky. As coach Charles Staley says, “Jogging: The more you do the less it does for you.” If only Sandra would believe that lifting weights would give her the body she wanted, with very little, if any, traditional cardio required.

The Study

A 2006 study backs this up. In the study, 12,568 runners were tracked for 9 years. The majority of the runners gained body fat and increase waist circumference during that time period, even if they never quit running. Especially the men.

The runners who gained the most fat around their waists were the ones who decreased their mileage, mainly due to the inevitable running injuries. But get this: even runners who maintained or mildly increased their mileage got fatter.

The only runners who didn’t get fatter were the ones who significantly increased their mileage, most by 3 times as much running per week.

In other words, unless you get to near-marathoner level, running makes you fatter as you age. And if you ever have to quit or cut back due to life’s demands or injury, your endurance-exercise adapted body will quickly pack on body fat and your waist size will dramatically increase.

Think Conditioning, Not Cardio

If running is your sport, then this isn’t for you. You’ve chosen your sport, and you probably don’t care how it makes you look and you probably don’t care about being strong or building muscle. I’m not here to convince you to drop your sport.

But if you’re a regular person who suffers from the myopic belief that “you gotta do cardio to lose fat” then I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. The more cardio you “have” to do, the crappier your diet probably is. With the right food and supplements, weight training is all you need. And yes, studies have also shown that weight training-only is just as beneficial to heart health as endurance work, provided you don’t do 12 sets of playing with your iPhone every workout.

Even experienced lifters panic and turn to cardio. If you enjoy catabolism (muscle loss), lowered metabolism, increased anxiety, and increased cravings – all linked to longer duration cardio – then traditional cardio is a good choice. For the rest of us sane folks, here’s an alternative with none of those drawbacks:

  1. First, fix your diet. No, it’s not as good as you think it is. Do better.

  2. Perform 10 minutes or so of intense conditioning work after your weight training or in another session. Choices include sled work, Prowler, battle ropes, sprints, kettlebell swings, jump rope, and things of that nature. Switch things up when it comes to conditioning â?? try NOT to adapt to one form and it’ll keep working.

One of my favorites is to do kettlebell swings, ab work during “rest” periods, then more kettlebell swings, repeated. It will feel like a very long 10 minutes, and will do more for your physique than an hour of treadmill pounding.

Are You a Runner or a Lifter?

Sandra probably lost weight when she first starting running. But her body quickly adapted, and with little to no weight training she’s stuck in a downward spiral. T-Nation readers are smarter than that, but we sometimes forget, panic, and turn to excess cardio. It’s an easy trap to fall into, but also one that’s easy to avoid.

Fine-tune your diet, focus on weights if you care about being strong and muscular, and use conditioning work as you need it. Just remember, running is a sport, not the best way to lose fat and keep it off "

Eating too much makes you fat. This article was nothing but tired old generalizations and conjecture.

Huh, so which article are you referring to? The one by Williams and Wood or the commentary you copied to the post?

You ever see a fat sprinter? Wide Receiver? Cornerback/Safety? Nope they are all shredded from spronts. We’ve all seen fat joggers.

It’s so easy to lose weight and get in condition without jogging. Fast 1 - 2 times a week for 24 hours. Lift heavy weighs a couple of times a week, do some sprints, kettlebells, circuits or complexes a couple of times a week. Limit grains and bad carbs. Bring your lunch to work instead of getting takeout. Cut your drinking down or avoid alcohol

The only place you’ll be fatter is in your wallet

[quote]guerra463 wrote:
Huh, so which article are you referring to? The one by Williams and Wood or the commentary you copied to the post?[/quote]

The old study was not printed on this website(at least not recently to my knowledge).
It was used to prove a point made in a recent article wich to me was a bad filler adding nothing new and wasting most readers time, just like JRT6 mentioned above.

[quote]BCFlynn wrote:
You ever see a fat sprinter? Wide Receiver? Cornerback/Safety? Nope they are all shredded from spronts. We’ve all seen fat joggers.

It’s so easy to lose weight and get in condition without jogging. Fast 1 - 2 times a week for 24 hours. Lift heavy weighs a couple of times a week, do some sprints, kettlebells, circuits or complexes a couple of times a week. Limit grains and bad carbs. Bring your lunch to work instead of getting takeout. Cut your drinking down or avoid alcohol

The only place you’ll be fatter is in your wallet[/quote]
I have literally never seen a fat elite runner. Bodybuilders use what kind of cardio to get lean? Boxers do what? It’s literally a factor of genetics, and simple calories in and calories out.

[quote]sardines12 wrote:

[quote]BCFlynn wrote:
You ever see a fat sprinter? Wide Receiver? Cornerback/Safety? Nope they are all shredded from spronts. We’ve all seen fat joggers.

It’s so easy to lose weight and get in condition without jogging. Fast 1 - 2 times a week for 24 hours. Lift heavy weighs a couple of times a week, do some sprints, kettlebells, circuits or complexes a couple of times a week. Limit grains and bad carbs. Bring your lunch to work instead of getting takeout. Cut your drinking down or avoid alcohol

The only place you’ll be fatter is in your wallet[/quote]
I have literally never seen a fat elite runner. Bodybuilders use what kind of cardio to get lean? Boxers do what? It’s literally a factor of genetics, and simple calories in and calories out.[/quote]

There are plenty of people that use primarily sprints for conditioning that are still fat. And there are plenty of people that use primarily running/jogging for conditioning that are lean.

This works with elite level athletes as well. Have you ever seen a fat shotputter? Offensive/Defensive Lineman? Tight end/linebacker?

I also implore you to find anyone who runs a 5k in under 20 minutes that is fat.

Side Note: I actually use primarily sprints/intervals for my conditioning, I’m just making a point.

I frequently run not with any intention of it making me leaner. I know it can’t help a lot with that, not the meagre miles I run.

I do 30 minutes of running because I don’t like the idea of not being able to run at least 30 minutes…if you know what I mean.

[quote]Nards wrote:
I frequently run not with any intention of it making me leaner. I know it can’t help a lot with that, not the meagre miles I run.

I do 30 minutes of running because I don’t like the idea of not being able to run at least 30 minutes…if you know what I mean.[/quote]

I see what you’re saying. Personally I think that everyone should be doing some sort of conditioning for this reason. I think everyone (unless injured) should be able to at least run a mile in less than 10 minutes. Just because a human should be able to do that

Newbie here, can I play?
I actually… think this is right within certain limits. All the joggers I know are a bit tubby.
The thing is though, I simply cannot accept that a fit person should be unable to run 3 miles over moderate hills without encountering serious difficulty.

Maybe there’s a ‘dosage’ thing here? Like with a medicine, there’s a dose that will do nothing, a dose that will help you and a dose that will kill you, but with training. I personally think that, say, 3 miles 3 times a week is a dose that will help you. I’ve certainly been thinner when I’ve done that.

I don’t think there’s a massive amount of mileage in the ‘sprint not jog’ advice. I’ve read that too much high intensity conditioning can actually be a BAD thing if you’re lifting weights as well. AFAIK lifting weights IS high intensity conditioning- a set is usually over in less than a minute, so that would be either the phosphagenic or the glycolitic metabolic pathway wouldn’t it?

that said, I sprint, but not much. A workout I pinched from Christ Thibaudeau goes 3x30M, 1-2x60M and I find I can do it nearly every day without screwing up my gains in other areas.

Thoughts?

It’s a knowledge gap resulting from lots of people hearing for most of their lives that jogging for long stretches of time while eating horribly will lead to weight loss.

The obvious flaw there is that people confuse weight loss with getting cut like Brad Pitt in Fight Club or something.

Combine strength training with jogging? You’ll be fine. Will you get HHHHUUUUGGGGEEE like bodybuilders or put up huge numbers like powerlifters if you jog? Not likely. Those require extreme specificity, and jogging as a form of cardio/conditioning doesn’t fit into it.

But does jogging impede the goals of the average individual who just wants to be able to put up normal numbers like squatting 200-300lb, deadlifting 300-500lb, benching 200-250lb? Probably not.

Here up north it is simple, just switch according to season.
Hike, canoe, swim, beach volley-ball… Xcountry ski so we work about everything without over use problems from years of a single activity.
For me it is simple, no car for the last 14 years so 365 days of biking for transportation, my warm up and cool down to and from gym. Fast and cheap with some thrills in the winter.

[quote]Der_Steppenwolfe wrote:
Newbie here, can I play?
I actually… think this is right within certain limits. All the joggers I know are a bit tubby.
The thing is though, I simply cannot accept that a fit person should be unable to run 3 miles over moderate hills without encountering serious difficulty.

Maybe there’s a ‘dosage’ thing here? Like with a medicine, there’s a dose that will do nothing, a dose that will help you and a dose that will kill you, but with training. I personally think that, say, 3 miles 3 times a week is a dose that will help you. I’ve certainly been thinner when I’ve done that.

I don’t think there’s a massive amount of mileage in the ‘sprint not jog’ advice. I’ve read that too much high intensity conditioning can actually be a BAD thing if you’re lifting weights as well. AFAIK lifting weights IS high intensity conditioning- a set is usually over in less than a minute, so that would be either the phosphagenic or the glycolitic metabolic pathway wouldn’t it?

that said, I sprint, but not much. A workout I pinched from Christ Thibaudeau goes 3x30M, 1-2x60M and I find I can do it nearly every day without screwing up my gains in other areas.

Thoughts?[/quote]

The problem I have with the whole “most joggers are fat” thing is that I really doubt that they are fat/tubby simply because they jog. They most likely eat like crap, don’t lift weights, etc.

You could make the same argument by saying “most of the lifters I see are weak/not muscular”. There’s other reasons like diet, consistency, etc.

I definitely agree with your whole dosage analogy though. Running a couple miles is a whole lot different than jogging slowly for an hour everyday.

You’re right that most lifting is the phosphogen system, but it’s my opinion that lifting or strength training doesn’t do a whole lot for conditioning. A set is just too short to elicit that kind of response. Crossfit type stuff is obviously different, so you can use weights for conditioning, but just general strength training or bodybuilding stuff isn’t going to do it

Ah. Fair enough.

Makes sense, I suppose. I mean, as a teenager I used to run 5 miles before school and 10 at weekends. Three months in, a mate in the cadets said I looked a lot beefier. I put this down to the fact that I was also doing pullups and eating entire gammon steaks in like 10 bites.

[quote]Chris87 wrote:

[quote]Der_Steppenwolfe wrote:
Newbie here, can I play?
I actually… think this is right within certain limits. All the joggers I know are a bit tubby.
The thing is though, I simply cannot accept that a fit person should be unable to run 3 miles over moderate hills without encountering serious difficulty.

Maybe there’s a ‘dosage’ thing here? Like with a medicine, there’s a dose that will do nothing, a dose that will help you and a dose that will kill you, but with training. I personally think that, say, 3 miles 3 times a week is a dose that will help you. I’ve certainly been thinner when I’ve done that.

I don’t think there’s a massive amount of mileage in the ‘sprint not jog’ advice. I’ve read that too much high intensity conditioning can actually be a BAD thing if you’re lifting weights as well. AFAIK lifting weights IS high intensity conditioning- a set is usually over in less than a minute, so that would be either the phosphagenic or the glycolitic metabolic pathway wouldn’t it?

that said, I sprint, but not much. A workout I pinched from Christ Thibaudeau goes 3x30M, 1-2x60M and I find I can do it nearly every day without screwing up my gains in other areas.

Thoughts?[/quote]

The problem I have with the whole “most joggers are fat” thing is that I really doubt that they are fat/tubby simply because they jog. They most likely eat like crap, don’t lift weights, etc.

You could make the same argument by saying “most of the lifters I see are weak/not muscular”. There’s other reasons like diet, consistency, etc.

I definitely agree with your whole dosage analogy though. Running a couple miles is a whole lot different than jogging slowly for an hour everyday.

You’re right that most lifting is the phosphogen system, but it’s my opinion that lifting or strength training doesn’t do a whole lot for conditioning. A set is just too short to elicit that kind of response. Crossfit type stuff is obviously different, so you can use weights for conditioning, but just general strength training or bodybuilding stuff isn’t going to do it[/quote]

This pretty much sums up the flaw in the argument to make such a generalisation from causation when factors such as lifestyle diet and lack of weight lifting is the problem. To be honest though I think Shugarts article was more just making a point that jogging isn’t necessarily the most efficient conditioning and obviously other things impact physique.

There are plenty of “joggers” I know who are pretty lean and I know a couple who do a bit along with weights etc as part of athlete training so it would be wrong to categorise it. Ultimately whether you jog or not is down to you and your goals. The things is there are just a lot of casual joggers who eat shit and don’t exercise with any intensity hence they still stay in poor shape.

the day you’ll see the most casual joggers is thanksgiving day. you’ll see them all over, jogging their 12 minute mile pace for maybe 2 miles with their head full of guilt knowing they’re going to take in 5k or more calories later on…bet they think that 2 miles is doing them some good. 200 calories burnt, taking in 5k. needing 3k max for daily life… 1800 over… thats why MOST joggers are fat. terrible eating habbits. i know a few…i also know a lot of 6’ 145# “RUNNERS”…hard as a rock and fast as a deer…

As an aside, I think a big problem a lot of the “general public” has with running/jogging is that they look at increasing the time as the only means to progression. They never really look at running FASTER as opposed to running LONGER.

Unless you’re training for some kind of long distance race, I don’t think running much longer than 15-20 minutes at a time is neccessary/useful. The average person would be much better off by training to run that 15-20 minutes faster and faster, instead of just jogging along at a slow pace for as long as possible.

The guy that runs 2 miles really fast is probably going to be able to run 5 miles slowly. The guy that runs 5 miles slowly is probably less likely to be able to run 2 miles really fast.

Unfortunately running for 20 minutes at any speed isn’t going to do much either. Factor in warmups and cool downs and your looking at 10 mins of quality work. I train for 5 k’s and want to be somewhat competitive so I run as little as 2.5 miles and as far as 10. If you’re gonna run… run.

About 47 years ago we were 30 kids in a class and 1 was fat.
Now in a class of 25 10 or more have excess weight.
The reality is simple, most moms were at home preparing meals the way their moms did 25 years earlier. At that time most had no money to waste on chips or sodas. Over some decades way of living changed, and nutrition that was a need became a hobby or whatever but the industry sells pretend foods and people feel hungry because nutrition was omitted while the focus was put on profits and saving time.
Many in gyms pretend to jog but the motor does some of the work.

Excess weight comes from eating pretend foods.
Counting calories is not the way, the health comes from selecting proper REAL FOODS.
Idiots say read labels.
Labels laws are written by the industry.
They have the right to lie.
They do.
They can write fat free even if the content is 100% fat.
Only the transition demands an effort. Over time our taste buds adjust and appreciate real foods and it becomes a good habit that has nothing to do with will power.

[quote]BHappy wrote:

Idiots say read labels.
Labels laws are written by the industry.
They have the right to lie.
They do.
They can write fat free even if the content is 100% fat.
[/quote]

This is complete and utter bullshit. There are very strict rules regarding food labels and the claims that food companies are allowed to make.

In order to market a food as “fat free” is must contain less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving.