running for weight loss

Workouts That Are Better Than Running for Weight Loss

running for weight loss

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Workouts That Are Better Than Running for Weight Loss

It’s been embedded in our brains, “cardio exercises like running are the best way to lose weight.”

What if I told you that not only is running not the most efficient way to lose weight but sometimes it may even cause you to hold onto unwanted body fat!

So, before I cover the workouts that are better than running for weight loss, first let me cover….

The Problems You Face With Running

1. Raises Cortisol for Too Long

As we know, cortisol is known as the “stress hormone”. In spite of that terrible name, cortisol happens to be much more than just a hormone that is released when our body is put under stress. It is an essential hormone that controls blood sugar levels, regulates our metabolism, reduces inflammation, and assists with memory formation. 

However, if too much of this hormone is released in our systems, it can wreak havoc on our bodies. Here are some potential downsides of having too much cortisol in our body:

  • Headaches
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Acne
  • Weight Gain (specifically in the abdominal region) (1)
  • Easy Bruising
  • Slowed Healing

This is particularly counterintuitive when your goal is weight loss. Studies have shown that running for long periods of time reduces insulin sensitivity, raises cortisol and lowers HGH (2).

2. You Burn Away Muscle

Running, in general, burns more calories than most other endurance exercises. The problem is, where are these calories coming from. Due to the high energy demands from running, your body is forced to use glycogen (carbs) for energy first. Next, after your body runs out of fuel (glycogen), instead of your body favoring fat for energy, it goes straight to eating away at your muscles (catabolism). This is because of what we discussed earlier, a rise in cortisol levels. Cortisol is catabolic by nature (3) and tells our bodies to tear down muscle and use it for energy.

3. It Can Become Boring

The one thing about running is the workout more or less stays the same. Whether you’re on a treadmill or running outside (some variable change), the workout doesn’t change. Sure, there are some things you can do to spice it up, such as changing your route or carrying some weights with you. At the end of the day, running is still running.

If you lose interest with any type of exercise, you’re most likely going to continue to do it less or stop altogether. This is why it is important to mix things up. If you enjoy running, then all the more power to you. All I am saying is, don’t use running as your primary source for weight loss, because there are much better options.

 

Types of Workouts That Are Better Than Running for Weight Loss

1. Strength Training

Weight lifting does a lot more than help you build lean body mass, it’s actually EXTREMELY effective in helping burn body fat. In fact, studies have proven that strength training is more effective than cardio when it comes to fat loss (4)!

Whether you’re doing a split muscle group or full-body workout, You can not underestimate the importance of utilizing strength training for weight loss. Not only is it beneficial for weight loss, but strength training provides an array of benefits. These benefits are:

  • Increase in muscle mass
  • Improved body composition (5)
  • Stronger bones and joints
  • Decrease in body fat (6)
  • Afterburn effect (burn calories after a workout is complete) (7)

Bottom line, if your main objective is to burn fat, then you NEED to start incorporating strength training!

2. HIIT Workouts

What is HIIT? High-intensity interval training, is short, intense, unsustainable bursts of physical activity, combined with short periods of rest.

What a mouth full.

I first learned about HIIT when I was younger, and only utilized it on a treadmill. What I would do was run on the treadmill for 30 seconds as fast as I could, and then rest for a minute or two, and then begin to run again for another 30 seconds. I would repeat this anywhere from 4-8 times, depending on how much energy I had. Regardless, my main objective was to try and get a 15-20-minute workout from it.

This is not the only way HIIT can be used. You can do circuit training, which combines an array of exercise like burpees, push-ups, etc., and would try to complete the circuit in a similar fashion.

One of the best things about HIIT workouts, they never get boring! Here are some of the benefits you can expect to see from HIIT workouts:

  • Increased GH levels (8)
  • Increased fat burning
  • Improved heart rate variability
  • Lowered insulin resistance (9)

Unfortunately, HIIT isn’t as glamorous as it sounds if you aren’t careful. Here are some things you should be made aware of before using HIIT for weight loss.

1. Cannot Do HIIT Too Often

You shouldn’t perform HIIT exercises more than 3 times a week, and the workouts should be spaced out AT LEAST 48 hours apart.

2. High risk of injury

Due to its high-intensity nature, the workouts tend to put a lot of stress on the bones and joints. One study followed the effects of HIIT on the body, and a good number of participants opted out of the program due to inquiring injuries (10).

Don’t let this deter you from utilizing HIIT benefits, you just need to be aware of your body and be careful not to injure yourself.

Now that we’ve covered that, let’s get to the actual workouts that are better than running for weight loss.

1. Boxing

This is categorized as cardio and HIIT. Boxing is an excellent workout and burns quite a few calories. Also, it doesn’t get boring either! Depending on the intensity of your workout, you can burn anywhere from 450-650 calories in just one hour from boxing.

You don’t have to spend your life’s savings on boxing equipment either, all you need is a mirror and maybe some light weights to shadow box with. If you do decide to get a bag, there are some relatively inexpensive options so you don’t have to spend a fortune.

2. Kick Boxing

Similar to regular boxing, only it burns even more calories! On average, you can expect to burn anywhere from 650-850 calories per hour from kickboxing. It’s an excellent workout and a great stress reliever! 

3. Jump Roping

This is considered a HIIT type of exercise. It can put a lot of stress on the joints, so be careful not to overdo it! It has been estimated that you can expect to burn close to 1000 calories from just one hour of jump roping, even though I wouldn’t recommend exercising this long. Instead, jump rope for 20-30 minutes a couple of times a week. There is a less posed risk of injury.

4. Battle Ropes

This an awesome workout! In order to do this exercise, you either going to need to purchase a battle rope or have access to a gym that has one. I would consider this a mix of HIIT and cardio. You can burn anywhere from 450-500 calories in just a 30-minute workout.

5. Burpees

Probably the best one on the list! It doesn’t burn quite as many calories as some of the other ones, but still my favorite! Still burns a substantial amount of calories, 350 per hour!

Due to the range of motions that are incorporated to perform this exercise, you are getting a great combo of strength training and cardio mixed together!

6. Kettlebell Swing

Another great workout!

Considered a combination of strength training and cardio, you can expect to burn roughly 400 calories in just 20 minutes! Kettlebell workouts in general help strengthen your core, hamstrings, glutes, shoulders, arm, and forearms.

Kettlebells are relatively inexpensive, and you can virtually do this exercise anywhere.

Losing weight can be quite challenging, even when you are following the correct steps. This is why it is CRUCIAL you have an excellent fitness and diet plan in place.

If you enjoyed this article and are ready to start losing weight, our HealthyFITNESS Fat Loss Challenge is a great place to start!

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We teach you how to tackle eating healthy and exercising correctly so that it sticks with you before and long after you finish the challenge.

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