Running and Fat Loss

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  • Running and Fat Loss


    So, my main goal is fat loss - while I am averagely fit I am in the overweight class by a bit and have definitely ways to go to get my fat percentage goal.
    I am already mixing up a cardio intensive program, the daily dares and some strength based challenges from Darebee on top of martial arts (which I have been practicing for 6 years now).

    It might look like a good amount of exercise but I do feel like it doesn't move me forward as much as I would like considering that, as I said previously, I am relatively fit and can move through the challenges without extreme effort. So, to push me out of my comfort zone I was thinking of adding running to my schedule. I have read quite a lot about how sprints are the most effective way to burn fat and raise the metabolism so it keeps on burning throughout the day - but I couldn't help but notice that the sprint workout in the site talks about exercises that make you sprint for 30s to 60s, what is mostly unadvised everywhere (10-15 seconds being the usual reference). On top of that I also see very good points on being able to run a 5 or 10km - maybe even a bit more.

    So, if anyone has some kind of insight on these two points:

    Long distance vs Sprints?
    How long should the sprint bursts be?

    Or any tips for my fat loss goal, it would be simply amazing

    Thank you!

  • #2
    For some reason, and I've read it multiple times, walking/light jogging digs into fat reserves more effectively than higher intensity workouts. Most recently, in my nutrition textbook. So since you asked, allow me to tag an expert. Damer is that true? And if so, why?


    • #3
      As far as I know, intense sprints work at a higher heart rate, than light jogging, an anaerobic one, and it should be in aerobic zone to melt down fat. You can calculate your aerobic zone of heart rate here.
      Of course you may run sprints if you need to get faster and to improve your technique of running, but the variety is the best choice. Just look how wise running programs at DAREBEE are organized. 30 Days of Change, Cardio Trim Run, preparations for marathon and half-marathon can help you here.


      • #4
        Those are some good tips. I will check out those programs with some depth (thanks Simmy Kerell) and do some research on that question until our expert arrives (thanks for the tag K e l l y )


        • #5
          This is what I found in my text, specifically paragraph three:

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          • #6
            And this:

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            • #7
              Look at you, K e l l y, with the resources and everything. *grin* Really interesting reading in the few paragraphs that are there.


              • #8
                K e l l y, wow, the author really managed to summarize it all!
                Hi, McKael! Great question, I think you can find a lot of useful info in this article. I personally believe in long-distance running as a weight-loss exercise - but there's a tricky thing there. Many long-distance runners (and me too) experience a huge increase of the appetite that can sabotage your weight loss. So you should watch your eating carefully. Good luck!​​​​​​​


                • #9
                  That's some really cool read - I had never seen it explained like that, for sure it makes me rethink what I previously read. Think I will look out to the long distance programs more Thanks K e l l y for showing up with the resources, it was awesome

                  LeicaEnergizer After reading that article I'm really tending towards the endurance training with some pace changes in between, compared to my previous sprint mindset


                  • #10
                    K e l l y thank you for the ping here and kudos for adding all these sources. I will answer McKael's question (and yours) in some detail but let me start by saying that your nutrition textbook is not as right as it would have been had this been 1975 . It is correct that steady state low intensity exercise (like running or walking) will burn more fat that a sprint, but it is not correct when compared to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for reasons I shall explain below.

                    But let's start with some basics first (and I am sorry in advance about all the acronyms). To lose weight we need to increase our Total Energy Expenditure (TEE) and that Total Energy Expenditure is made up of four distinct, separate but slightly overlapping components:

                    1. Base Metabolic Rate (BMR) - the amount of energy we spend at relative rest (watching TV or typing this answer)

                    2. Thermic Effect of Feeding (TEF) - the amount of energy we spend as we digest our food.

                    3. Physical Activity Energy Expenditure (PAEE) - the amount of energy we expand during the performance of a particular exercise.

                    4. Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) - the amount of oxygen we consume in the brief period after exercise.

                    Of these four the 2nd one, TEF - is relatively immutable and most probably down to genetics. Specific diets that contain more protein or more of a particular type of food we respond to can affect it and it can both be made to go up and down but the changes are barely noticeable and certainly will not be of the kind that would make a difference to a healthy person's weight. This leaves us with the other three variables. A long run, a hard walk or a jog will increase the base metabolic rate for as long as 40 minutes afterwards. It will also affect the excess post-exercise consumption rate by activating deeper breathing which itself burns more calories and, obviously, there is the amount of energy burnt through the physical activity itself (PAEE).

                    When we compare activities like lifting weights or short-burst exercise (like sprinting) to running or walking for 40 minutes to an hour the steady state, low intensity workout wins every time. Then we get into High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) which blows every other type of exercise out of the water when it comes to affecting BMR, PAEE and EPOC.

                    Why? The answer (and the difference) lies in the heart rate. HIIT pushes its subject to exercise within 80% - 90% of their maximum heart rate as compared to 50% - 70% of the steady state, low intensity workout. The energy cycle in the body with ATP being the primary source is the same for all activities. HIIT pushes it harder and faster, accelerating the biochemical changes taking place and increasing BMR by as long as a 24-hour period (!). A study carried out by the East Tennessee State University shows this and it can be found here:

                    Because of its combined effects (i.e. higher PAEE, higher BMR afterwards and higher EPOC)- HIIT produces the best results when it comes to losing body fat (think ballet training and even sprinters who perform a lot of sprints in their training) - a study to this effect can be found here:

                    I hope all this helps clarify it a little.


                    • #11
                      What I read here, between K e l l y and Damer, is that I need to just spend all day every day riding my bike and doing HIIT. Of course, that means I need to find time to get my bike repaired, which is way easier said than done, since I spend most Saturdays at work...


                      • #12
                        If the exercises and challenges are too easy- increase the difficulty of the exercises. If PU are too easy- do them with holding times or elevated legs or both. If squats are too easy- go for pistols.
                        If you try to achieve muscle failure- your muscles will grow and they will use more energy. A good progam to try that is strength protocol. Try to achieve muscle failure in at least one set and but not more than once per week for each muscle group. They need time to recover afterwards.

                        And about that running and fat-burning: Yes- if you don´t run that fast, you will use up fat by a direct metabolic pathway. BUT: You will also burn your fat if you go fast- it just requires another step in that pathway. So as long as your calorie balance is negative, you will loose weight, at the same time you will loose fat as long as you keep your muslce mass.

                        Running has one big disadvantage concerning calorie consumption: The body will try to conserve energy if you require longer cardio training from it. So the movments will become more effective AND the body has no interest in building muscle- those use energy and within the thinking of your body that is a bad thing.

                        HIIT is great and really pushes your cardiovascular system. I guess when you do it via running- the times dont really matter. Traditional its 20sec sprint/10sec break. But I know a lot of people who go for a minute or even one round on a 400m-track.
                        When I was still doing 10k I did 6-7k once per week with 4min sprints (it was also good for my 1000m-test), 8k with high speed, 10 for regular training, 12k for extended training with lower speed, but some uphill-sprints in the end. Worked pretty well. So- a mix is a good idea- HIIT exausts your body, it´s nothing you want to do every day.


                        • #13
                          Hahaha wjs maybe not all day. HIIT works best in short bursts of no more than 20-30 minutes a day - maybe 40 at a stretch. Most of our workouts are approx. 20 minutes long.


                          • #14
                            Here is a really nice (imho) and informative video about HIIT and M.I.S.S. (moderate intensity steady state) regarding fat loss and muscle maintenance:


                            • #15
                              The one thing I will say about running is that it can be a nice break/change in pace/good alone time. While I do higher intensity workouts most mornings on my active rest days I run and on Saturday I do my long run 9-13.4 miles. I will admit that they burn a ton of calories and take anywhere from 1-2.5 hours (hence the reason they are scheduled) but more than that is I am alone with my thoughts doing something that doesn't take much focus and I can completely lose myself inside my head.

                              I push the long steady state runs twice a week and call that good. I sprint once a week/every other week (depending on the Darebee program) and it tears me up more than the long run. I think the best answer is to just mix it up but to also take other pleasures in what you are doing beyond the fact it is exercise. I wouldn't trade my long runs for the world because I just get me time to think and breath and be in the moment that is one foot fall to the next.