The Pitfalls of Jogging

If you are currently jogging with the sincere desire for fat loss, you need to stop what you are doing and read this right now.

“I need to lose some weight. I think I am going to take up jogging”. I have heard these phrases uttered by more people over the years than I can count. Once the weather improves, joggers new and old come out in full force. Many people run for the endorphins alone and that’s fine, if it is something you enjoy doing, but it is not as beneficial as you might think.  Next time you’re driving down a residential street, take a close look at the joggers you see. Are they lean and muscular?  Not likely unless they are blessed with great genetics. For the others, the term “skinny fat” comes to mind; they have very little muscle and moderate to high amounts of fat in relation to their bodyweight. It is easy to fool ourselves into thinking that we are healthy because we look slim in the mirror and have a great score on the body mass index scale, but if we were to take an actual body fat reading of most joggers, many would carry more fat than what is considered optimal by today’s standards.

Jogging becomes a catabolic activity after 30 to 40 minutes—your body uses your protein stores (i.e., your muscles) as the primary source of fuel for your run. The ideal fuel source for any physical activity is carbohydrates and fat. Having less muscle means a slower metabolism and a slower metabolism means you can’t eat as much as you once did and maintain the same bodyweight. Muscle is metabolically active. For every pound of muscle you have on your body, you will burn an extra 50 calories a day just sitting on the couch watching television. Muscle needs to be fed in order to maintain its existence. Study after study has shown that as we age, those with more muscle on their frames are destined to live longer than those without. This goes for people in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Muscle is not reserved for the younger generation. It is in everyone’s best interest to have as much of it as possible.

From a historical standpoint, jogging is a man-made activity. We did not evolve jogging. We ran from our predators, chased our next meals or walked for days in nomadic tribes in search of our next destination. The human genome has changed little over the past 20,000 years and our bodies require the same types of activities. Think about the current mainstream sports and activities that we watch and/or engage in on a regular basis. Very few of them have a slow-to-medium rhythmically consistent pace. In fact, they are quite the opposite. They consist of quick bursts of energy followed by brief recovery periods.