Why Running More Could Be Making You Fat

Here is me sprinting barefoot in my back yard.

Here is me sprinting barefoot in my back yard.

This post was inspired by a recent article published in the Daily Mail titled “The pointlessness of the long distance runner: You can run as many marathons as you like, but you’ll still be fat, say scientist.” I want to say there is a lot of truth to this article. Unfortunately, this is not said enough in the press.

I am sure some of you know running or any aerobic exercise does a very poor job of helping you lose weight. You may have learned this through reading as I have, or you may have learned it through your experience. For some of you this may be the first time you have become aware that more exercise will unlikely improve your waistline on its own. Well, today is your lucky day.

Humans, honestly, are not meant to do constant cardio (i.e., running). If you think back not even fifty years ago, nobody jogged anywhere and almost nobody was overweight. The only things they did for exercise was walk to where they are going, lift something heavy or sprint to get away from something that may have been trying to harm them. Jogging for “health” only came about in the 1970s and has not been proven to increase overall health. In fact, marathon runners after many years have been shown to be at a greater risk for cardiac disease than non-runners if all other lifestyle factors are the same. The reason for this is constant cardio drives up the inflammation in your body, especially if used often(running more than three times per week).

When you do a lot of running and constant state cardio, your body tends to raise its cortisol level (the stress hormone) from your body increasing its inflammatory state. Many marathon runners and even Cross- Fitters can develop adrenal burnout from exercising so much they do not give their body a chance to recover. This usually occurs over months and even years in some cases. This has made their cortisol levels high for a long time, and it will take a long time to get the body back to normal. The symptoms of adrenal fatigue include fatigue, higher pulse than your normal, trouble getting to sleep and/or staying asleep. A recipe for putting on body fat in short.

I want to get back to losing weight is about hormones. Which means it is more about what you eat than it is how much you exercise. The article points out a study in which they followed sixty-four marathoners over a three-month period and found they had lost no weight from running marathons. The reason for this is every calorie they burned from running was put right back on from the body needing more energy and making them eat more. The traditional thing most runners do is carbohydrate load for their running.  To make your body lose weight try consuming mostly fat in your diet, some protein and cutting way back on the carbohydrates and see your results from exercise improve much more. You have to turn the body into a fat burning machine, not a glucose burning machine. It is true, eat good fats in order to lose the body fat.

When people consume a lot of carbohydrates and include marathoning as a weight loss strategy, they will often fail because all the body is doing is producing more insulin to break down the extra consumption of carbohydrates they are consuming. Insulin is a hormone, and if you can limit the production of insulin by your pancreas, you will find your body shedding the pounds. How do you do this you may ask, by cutting back on your carbohydrate intake that includes bread, processed foods, fruit juices, soda, candy just to name a few. I think you know what the sources are.

The key is to include more quality fats in your diet and cut down on the amount of carbohydrates you are consuming. This will minimize insulin secretion by the pancreas. Now you do not have to go on a no carbohydrate diet, and you’re not going to have no energy if you do not consume as many carbohydrates as you once did. You will need to give your body a couple of weeks to adapt to burning fat instead of glucose. Don’t try to do this in three days or otherwise your body will punish you for this rapid change.  Suddenly when it is looking for glucose to break down for energy and all it can find is fat it will not be so happy about that.

All I am saying is try to include more eggs, coconut oil, butter, olive oil, grass-fed beef, high-fat dairy products in your diet and watch the pounds melt off when you combine it with some exercise. By keeping your blood sugar stable, you will avoid the blood sugar crashes more often, and you will feel satisfied after your meals.  Have you heard of the 80/20 principle?  I truly believe when it comes to weight loss success it is eighty percent diet and twenty percent exercise.

In short, cut back on your carbohydrate intake, up your fat intake with some of the examples I included, and run five or ten miles a week instead of running five plus miles every day of the week. If you are not into running, walking can be just as good. The body was not meant to be running for hours a day. Can you think of any time in the past where people did this other than the last forty years? This is why running more could be making you fat.

Leave a comment below and as always email me your questions.