Search
  • Coach Collins

I’m running a lot, so why am I not getting leaner?

It’s quite a common issue…


The following study was conducted in 1994 - participants either followed a 20 week steady state endurance program or a 15 week interval program [15 sprints of 30 seconds each] – The interval group lost nine times the body fat and 12% more visceral belly fat than the aerobics group.


A 2008 study compared two groups of 20-30 year old, normal-weight women - one group trained aerobically, the other, anaerobically. The anaerobic group lost an average of 2.5kg of body fat and gained 0.6kg of muscle. The aerobic group gained an average of 0.4kg of body fat by the end of the study…    


In 2006, the findings were published from a 9 year study showing that only the runners who tripled [ F***ING TRIPLED!! ] their weekly mileage from 16km per week to 64km per week did not gain fat over the 9 year period. Those who did not at least triple their mileage all gained body fat.


So what’s going on here?


Well, before we start we can’t rule out an increase in poor dietary choices. It’s not terribly likely that they all did this, but we can’t rule it out. Actually the trend seems to be when people begin to exercise they tend to make better dietary choices… But yeah, we can’t rule it out.


We also can’t rule out human error… Mistakes taking skinfold measurements, using different scales, weighing at different times of the day, etc, but again, the results from the studies above are pretty strong, making it rather unlikely… Not impossible, but unlikely…


We see in the first study that the 15 week interval program [15 sprints of 30 seconds each - an anaerobic protocol] lost nine times the body fat, and 12% more visceral belly fat than the aerobics group… Well, plenty of other studies have found anaerobics to be superior for fat loss… As an example, a 2010 study found that 6 sessions of 6x 30 second sprint intervals over a period of two weeks resulted in a leaner waist by 3cm, and a significantly higher use of body fat for fuel…


So… We can assume that even with human error and questionable dietary choices, training aerobically is not all that great for fat loss - it can benefit your cardiovascular system and maybe initially help decrease some body fat, but when compared to anaerobics it flat out sucks balls for fat loss… Time for some definitions… 


Aerobic - when oxygen is used to meet energy demands - examples of aerobic exercise include anything longer than 2 or 3 minutes - running 18 miles, sleeping, a 2km row, watching TV, etc…


Anaerobic - when energy is produced without oxygen - examples of anaerobic exercise include anything under 3 minutes - a 100m sprint, 1 rep max deadlift, amateur boxing, the conditioning we're doing today... [3 RFT: 100m Row, 10x Wallball - No Pacing]


Aerobic stuff [jogging and the like] can benefit your cardiovascular system and can initially help decrease some body fat - it is a moderate, low power activity... Those that do this type of thing a little too often will see a drop in muscle mass, strength, power and speed, and an increase in stress hormones… In fact it’s not uncommon to find marathon runners with a vertical leap of only a few inches…


Anaerobic stuff [Crossfit, weightlifting, sprinting, etc] will also benefit your cardiovascular system and help decrease body fat, only those that engage in this activity will see an increase in muscle mass, strength, power and speed… Still not convinced, compare pictures of a marathon runner to a sprinter…


* I quite clearly stole these images from the internet, so... Credit to the photographer and model[s].  The fastest way to burn fat is with anaerobic training [preferably at Blackbrook] and a clean diet.


So that’s what you should do to burn fat, but we still haven’t answered your original question…


“I’m running a lot, so why am I not getting leaner?”


One explanation is that you’re getting more efficient at the activity, meaning less calories are required to perform it… Meaning you need to triple your mileage over the next 9 years just to maintain your current physique…


Another explanation is that long distance conditioning and / or reduced caloric intake lowers your basal metabolic rate… A decrease in basal metabolic rate from reduced calorie intake and / or adaptation to current training halts weight loss and, in some cases, produces weight gain without eating more calories… 


At present, we don’t have all the answers, but it appears this adaptation occurs deep in the cells…


Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cells that turn carbs and fats into energy. There are proteins called uncoupling proteins that are involved in energy production by the mitochondria that uncouple the reactions that make energy [ATP] from carbs [glucose] or fats [lipids].


An increase in these uncoupling proteins makes someone more calorically inefficient - meaning it takes them relatively more calories to produce the same amount of energy. An increase in these uncoupling proteins will increase caloric expenditure. On the other side of the coin, the current mechanism of decreased metabolism induced by significantly reduced caloric intake or long, slow, distance training is thought to be based around decreased uncoupling protein number, meaning decreased caloric expenditure.


There is a limit to this, obviously… There’s no evidence that suggests people will eventually stop losing weight because their calories are too low [because starving to death is still a very real possibility] but to get to this point you’re pretty much knocking on death’s door…


Basically, you're not getting leaner because you're either becoming more efficient at running or your BMR is dropping. Either triple your weekly mileage or explore other training methods...  


Since I don't want to finish on such a gloomy note, here’s a picture of Dyson and a snippet about us from one of our members…



“Sit the f*** down and have a beer…”


~ Coach Collins


Copyright 2019


67 views
  • Facebook
  • Instagram

© 2020 by BLACKBROOK. Proudly created with Wix.com