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Why you need to stop running long distances

Why you need to stop running long distances

Because… running long distances burns muscle, not fat! And it is muscle that gives your body shape. Running long distances might make you lose weight, but if it does, it won’t be a good weight loss. 

Why? If you are familiar with the story of Sad Sally you will know why. But for those who aren’t familiar with why Sally is sad…

MEET SALLY!

Sally wanted to lose some fat and change her body shape. She wanted a curvier booty and an overall more toned look. Sally went about achieving this by doing what she thought was right: increasing the amount of cardio she had been doing and decreasing her calorie intake.

Committed to her goal, Sally upped her cardio sessions to running 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) four times a week and doing an hour on the cross-trainer at the gym once a week. She also decreased her calories by eating about a third less than she normally would.

At the end of the first week, Sally weighed herself and was excited to see that she had lost 3 kilos (6.6 pounds)! This motivated her even more, so she kept on with her cardio sessions and reduced calorie intake.

At the end of the second week, Sally weighed herself and was surprised that she had only lost 500 grams (1.1 pounds). She thought she must not have worked hard enough, so she increased her running sessions to 7 kilometers (4.4 miles).

At the end of the third week, Sally weighed herself and was shocked to see that she hadn’t lost any more weight at all.

At the end of the fourth week, she still hadn’t lost any more weight. And worse, when she looked in the mirror her tummy looked a little flatter but her booty did too; she didn’t look how she thought she would look after doing so much exercise. Disheartened, she gave up her cardio sessions and ate her normal amount of calories.

At the end of the fifth week, she weighed herself out of interest and was stunned to see that she had GAINED back the 3.5 kilos (7.7 pounds). She was a very Sad Sally.

SO, WHAT HAPPENED?

Excessive cardio workouts and calorie restrictions burn away muscle. The weight loss that Sally experienced in the first week was due to losing muscle, she didn’t lose any ‘fat’.

And worse, by burning away her muscle, her body lost its fat-burning effectiveness, which is why she didn’t lose any more weight. She was a naturally lean girl to start with, so her body got to a point where it wanted to conserve muscle, it plateaued in weight.

As soon as she stopped working out and resumed her normal calorie intake, her body gained back the weight as fat, not muscle. It happened so quickly as she had reduced her body’s ability to effective metabolise her food intake. In other words, she had slowed her metabolism by burning away her muscle.

SO, WHAT SHOULD SALLY HAVE DONE?

Resistance training is the most effective way to build muscle. If you don’t increase your muscle mass, you won’t change your body shape.

To change her body shape effectively, Sally needed to incorporate resistance training into her weekly workout schedule. She also should have consumed her regular amount of calories, but increased her protein intake.

Further information can be found in our fitness guides, of course!

And, just so we make sure we don’t offend any Sallys, our Sally in this story wasn’t sad because she was skinny, she was sad because her hard work didn’t pay off the way that she thought it would.

Take care, BBB babes! And get resistance training!

- Karina & Simon xx

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