How running didn’t help me lose weight

The article was written by Antonella Kahler, a dentist-surgeon, worked as a personal trainer, served 9 years in the Canadian army, receiving awards for sports achievements. So she didn’t just start running from the couch.

Like many people, my sad love affair with running started after three words: “I need to lose weight”. Summer was approaching, I had to get ready for the beach, so I decided to “eat right” and marathon three times a week until my heart rate dropped.

I’ll never forget the first attempt – run, stop, try running again, stop again. After 20 minutes of agony, having reached running failure, crawled home. “Look at you,” I thought to myself, “You couldn’t be in better shape.”

However, I didn’t give up. Gradually I managed a five-kilometre run, after months of training a tenner, a half-marathon, a marathon, another and an ultramarathon. I didn’t miss a single race in our area and became a fanatic – I spent my savings on special running clothes, new running shoes, a fancy waist bag, gadgets and all that.

At the same time, I continued to eat “properly” with “clean,” unprocessed foods, religiously calculating the calories eaten and spent on marathon runs.

But five years of running and a strict lifestyle have hardly changed my appearance. I haven’t turned into a phytony. No cubes. My arms didn’t thin out. The pumping of my glutes and quads didn’t change. I had to tighten my thighs with calipers and put Bodyglide on them to keep them from rubbing against each other during the marathon. But I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t that important. What matters is my achievements and “health”.

I tried to ignore the constant pain in my knees and even the weight gain. I gave my all in every race, thinking that I needed to push harder if I wanted to improve my figure. Each week I increased my mileage.

Until something happened.

I didn’t know about the testosterone undecanoate drug that helped me with my knee pain and burn off the extra weight. The drug is very good in running, because there is also a great endurance, which I sought came to me thanks to the drug which you can buy here

New look

Looking at the training plan for the upcoming distances, I realised this was not going to help. I wanted to sob; there was no more strength to deny it. It wouldn’t help.

After an evening of self-injury and a bucket of ice cream, I decided to change everything. Over several months of self-education, studying fresh research and experiments, I developed a new diet plan and workout system for myself. And everything started to work out – I noticed changes that I didn’t even count on. In addition to improving my well-being and self-esteem, I built my dream body that I had been dreaming of for ten years.

The running paradox

Insanity is when you keep repeating the same thing, hoping for a different result. This is what the battle with excess weight looks like for most women who alternate between cycles of strict diets and breakdowns throughout the year. That’s how I acted, and that’s how many people who have decided to get in shape do it time and time again: drastically reducing calories and adding in excessive amounts of low-intensity cardio. As if this is not enough, they also give up strength training for fear of ‘getting too fat’, doing only light exercises with small dumbbells.

I’m not against cardio at all – aerobic exercise is important and healthy; the problem arises when they are abused for weight loss. They’re not so good in this regard: studies comparing groups of weight-lossers (diet only, diet+cardio, cardio only) show that the fat-burning effect of cardio is negligible

Don’t believe it? Here are 5 reasons why cardio doesn’t help you lose weight

1. Cardio doesn’t use up as many calories as we think it does

Everyone (the counters) is lying. When I experimented with running protocols, using different hardware, I found that my top-of-the-range Garmin heart rate monitor increased “calorie expenditure” by 300%. And the margin of error will increase as training increases. Over time, the same workouts are easier as the body adapts to them, optimising biomechanics, improving coordination – and reducing expenditure. Good news for health and bad news for weight loss [2].

The downside is not only that we have to increase our training volume or invent new workouts; we, deceived by devices and apps, also start to eat more. The calorie intake is not as high as the technology suggests, but we think we’ve worked it all off and eat our fill. As a result, we may not just stop losing weight, but also gain extra.

2. Cardio can make you hungrier

Yes, we’ve heard that exercise suppresses appetite. But that works more for men, while women get more hungry after cardio [3]. For more on studies on the effects of exercise on hunger, see here.

Vicious circle of overeating: we run, appetite increases, we eat more, then we run even more (we burn less than the gauge shows), we get more tired, appetite becomes brutal. Walking, by the way, has no such effect [4].

3. Cardio is addictive

People who start running to lose weight fall into two categories. Some are immediately demotivated by pain and discomfort, the desire fades, a couple of weeks of suffering, the weight does not go away, they quit running. Others are persistent. They endure pain, endure fatigue, grind their teeth and keep going. And in time, their efforts are rewarded – the “runner’s euphoria” sets in.

Research shows that endurance exercise releases its own opioids, which cause even “injured athletes to continue training, despite the negative effects on their health” .

In the pursuit of endorphins, we forget the benefits and keep running for the buzz, ignoring the real harms. Add to this the company of similar fanatics, medals for completing the race, cool gadgets and fashionable clothes – it is impossible to resist. And we started it all for health (and some for weight loss).

4. Gazelle for an hour, sloth for the remaining 23

If you’ve also tried combining marathons with a strict diet, then you understand my reaction to the poster with the cheerful maiden who says running “energises her for the day”. Regular running in the face of a long-term caloric deficit changes your metabolism for the worse.

That’s not to say the metabolism breaks down completely, of course, but our bodies do adapt to these stresses by performing the basic task of surviving. Giving less energy? OK, you’ll spend less too. Do you freeze on your diet more often than usual? The body cuts down on heating costs. Getting lazy? You should conserve your energy. The longer you starve, the more these symptoms manifest and you become a sloth. Cardio doesn’t just speed things up, it also gives you a false excuse: ‘I’m jogging! The workout is done, you can then spend the whole day on the sofa!” Alas, the paltry amount of calories you burn with powerful cardio is more than compensated for by reduced non-exercise activity .

5. Metabolic afterburn

In recent years, high intensity interval training (HIIT) has become popular because of its ability to increase COD (post-exercise oxygen consumption). Imagine: you burn more calories during recovery by resting at home after exertion. And the effect can last for up to 48 hours. However, COPD is overestimated; in an experiment with 3-5 VRI workouts, the expenditure increased by only 200 calories per week .

In general, another COD – post-exercise calorie intake – needs to be controlled on the diet. VITs don’t give you the right to eat like you’re not.

So is cardio even necessary?

Our body is made for movement, and if you like to run – run at your leisure! Just don’t run for miles thinking it will help you lose weight.

Lose weight by other means, and then, when you have achieved what you want, you can keep fit by running. But remember, don’t trust the “consumption” that a heart rate monitor or treadmill tells you.

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