Why Running Isn't So Swell If You Want To Lose Weight

Health enthusiasts often look to weight-loss success stories for motivation to fuel their own transformation or to keep their motivational flame sparked. But, many folks find themselves becoming discouraged when they realize that some of these success stories include formerly overweight people who have run marathons.

Often, people see my own story of transformation and react in the same way. Much of the time, these articles include photos of me running a race. To the reader, this triggers the thought: Oh, she ran a lot ... that's how she lost weight.

But that is not at all how I lost weight. We all start somewhere ... and it's usually at a much different place from where we are at now.

Here's the truth: I lost nearly 100 pounds before I ever even started jogging!

There was just no way that someone my size (at the time) could push that much weight around so quickly. Running creates a lot of extra stress on the body when you are already overweight to begin with! If you happen to be morbidly obese like I was, running is not such a swell exercise to start out with … I don’t care what The Biggest Loser tries to tell you.

What did I do before I became a runner? I focused on low-impact exercises daily.

Things to try:

  • brisk walking
  • skating
  • bicycling
  • swimming
  • rowing
  • using an elliptical machine at the gym

This is not to say that these exercises aren't challenging. They are just as difficult as you make them. If you only pedal a bicycle once in a while and coast most of the time, you're not really exercising, but if you turn up the resistance and pedal harder, you're getting a great workout.

While I may not have been a runner to begin with, I challenged myself with almost every workout I did.

Each day, I tried to improve one of these variables: my overall distance, my overall speed, or my resistance. A great way to improve any of these three measurements is to work on interval or pyramid training.

Intervals

Intervals are easy. Start off at an easy pace for a few minutes, and then throw in 30-60 seconds of an all-out effort. Return to the easy pace for a bit of recovery. Repeat this pattern for as many sets as you feel like doing.

Pyramids

Pyramids are best when used on cardio equipment. They also start out easy — but with each passing minute the intensity or speed increases a notch. When you’ve reached about 85% of the maximum you could possibly do, start bringing the intensity back down just as gradually as it went up.

Working intervals and pyramids into any low-impact workout will get you closer to your weight loss and fitness goals than starting out thinking you’re going to run five miles every day.

What can you do to start where you are at today?

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