The Myth of Distance Runners Being Fat

If you’ve ever heard some fitness professionals talk, they make it seem like cardio is the worst thing ever.  They make it sound very black and white like cardio = fatness.

Now while I agree that just doing cardio is not the best use of your exercise time, I do contend that you can lose fat with cardio as your only mode of exercise. The thing is, most types of cardio doesn’t help your overall movement, it doesn’t make you stronger or better able to navigate the demands of everyday life, and it can wreak havoc on your  joints if you don’t have an efficient running gait or your body isn’t strong enough to take the impact of running. Every step you take when running causes an impact 4-7 times your body weight. If your muscles aren’t ready for it – your joints are going to take this impact and complain at you later.

Important Tip: if you’re currently out of shape and you want to run, first get in shape through strength training and lose some fat by changing your eating habits, then start running.

Anyway, if you want to get lean, running long distance can help, and it definitely is good for your heart and lungs. Just remember the caveats above. But like any exercise, you have to constantly force your body to do more than it’s used to, otherwise why would your body change?

To illustrate my point that runners can get lean, here are some pictures from a 30km race that was held in Hamilton/Burlington called the Around the Bay race. The track comes right in front of my house. Plus, check out the dude in the pink tutu – he’s pretty lean!


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Rudy Medina
Rudy Medina
8 years ago

Im the free work outs u will give me and if i like what i see in a month or even tow weeks i will buy the hole thing

Mike Linden
9 years ago

Refreshingly good stuff. We (Mike & Kat) from FBC just did a similar Q&A video that people in our blog requested about the time it takes to exercise to burn fat. You can see it here if you want: ~Mike and Kat from FBC