A lot of bodybuilders act like they have some kind of allergy to, or phobia of running. This is because they often hold the belief that it will make them more catabolic. Running burns fat but it also burns anything else the body can get its hands on in order to provide energy. This means you can quickly end up losing weight and that includes muscle mass.
But is it necessarily true? Read on and find out why you should reconsider including running in muscle-building programs.
The Plus Side
In defence of running, it is only fair that we remember that it was used by pretty much all of the classic bodybuilders to some degree or other. That means Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Zane, Franco Columbu, all of them used some kind of steady state cardio such as running. And if you look at today’s YouTube celebrities, most of them will also utilize some degree of running.
That’s because, in smaller amounts, running can provide just the stimulus you need to cut away the fat to reveal more definition and striations in the muscles. This is how you get cut, as opposed to just looking bulky. While the body will burn muscle, it will still look to fat stores first which are more readily available.
If you’re really afraid of running though, you can do what some modern bodybuilders do and simply power walk instead. This is a safer way to remove fat without hurting muscle.
An Added Bonus
What’s also important to remember though, is that running increases the size of your left ventricle. This is the part of the heart that pumps oxygenated blood around the body and thus it is largely responsible for your ‘stroke volume’. The bigger this gets, the lower your resting heartrate will be. And when that number gets low, it means you’ll produce less cortisol, less myostatin (which is responsible for muscle catabolisation) and more testosterone!
That’s right: although running might cause you to burn fat and muscle in the short term, in the long term it can actually help to make you more anabolic and even allow you to enjoy deeper and more restorative sleeps! And for this reason, it’s something that you shouldn’t write out of your training programs just yet
Oh and then there’s the other thing: running makes you fitter and that means you can workout harder!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Pokémon Go. This is of course the massive augmented reality sensation from Nintendo that places Pokémon into the world around us. The game uses data from Google Maps in order to allow us to hunt for local Pokémon and this then triggers a mini game using a combination of your device’s camera and its gyroscopes in order to make the Pokémon appear as though they’re right there in front of you.
But what does this have to do with running?
Well, if you want to give yourself a new challenge and make your running fun in a new way, you can turn this into a running workout! Here is how it works
Set Up the Game and Go!
The first thing to do of course is to set up the game. Once you’re ready, just run out the door and start!
Now, the key thing to remember here is that you mustn’t spend the entire time looking at your phone. When you do that, you will be putting yourself at risk and you’ll likely put your foot in a pothole or ditch. Never run while looking at your screen!
The good news is that your device will vibrate when you’re near a Pokémon. All you need to do then is carry it in one hand and run to areas where they’re likely to be. Pokéstops are places where people can ‘lure’ Pokémon, which means there will often be more in those areas. Run to the areas on your map with lots of blue structures and pink leaves and then you should find your phone vibrates from time to time.
When that happens, just stop, play the minigame and capture your Pokémon! It makes running more fun but it can also act as a form of natural interval training. Because you’ll be running and stopping intermittently, this means you can run a little faster between Pokémon.
One tip when running is that you should put the game on ‘battery saver mode’. In this mode, the device screen will go dark as long as it is held upside down. That means you can point it down while running, or you can slip it in a pocket and you’ll be using considerably less power. Soon there will be a Pokémon Go smartwatch you can wear!
The other tip is to make sure to incubate eggs. These hatch based on the steps you take, so running will give you a big advantage!
Running is something a lot of us know that we should be doing. We’re often told that it burns calories, tones muscle and improves fitness. But despite all this, we regularly find it hard to stay committed.
Why exactly is that?
It actually comes down to a number of things but the biggest problem is that it’s hard work. It’s incredibly taxing on the body, requires huge amounts of energy and is something that most of us are not at all used to. In this post, we’ll look at how to overcome those obstacles.
The Best of Intentions
The big problem in many cases, is that people hoping to start running begin with too much ambition. Instead of aiming to gradually start running, they set off on their first outing and intend to run for huge distances and burns tons of calories in the process.
What they forget, is that this is something entirely foreign to their bodies. They are not used to running these kinds of distances and they have no experience with it. Most of us spend 8 hours a day or more sitting in just one position and typing, or answering calls. We don’t exert ourselves much and certainly don’t go for long runs!
What’s more, is that those days at work are stressful and tiring in their own way. When we get home, we are often far too tired to play with the kids – let alone go out running!
The one time we do manage it, we will very often then push ourselves to the point where it is very unpleasant and we have really tested ourselves. It’s no wonder we can’t bring ourselves to do it three times a week!
So what is the solution? The answer is to stop pushing yourself and to stop expecting too much from your own body.
Instead, aim to get started slowly and to begin with at least, focus on learning to run and on learning to like running rather than trying to see immediate results! Set out on your first jog but just go at whatever pace is comfortable and stop when you’re done.
While it might not seem like much, this is enough to gradually start introducing you to the world of running. And if you aim to do this just once a week, you’ll see it starts to have incredible knock-on effects in every other part of your life!
If you’re interested in taking up running seriously, then a running or fitness watch can be highly advantageous. There are many reason for this too. For starters, a fitness watch will allow you to track the number of calories that you burn on a run and how high your heart rate goes. This not only allows you to do things like running to meet a set objective (calories burned, max heartrate etc.) but even to use particular types of running – like zone runs or interval training.
There’s more too. The right watch should also track your runs, so you don’t need to take your phone to monitor your route. It should be able to count your steps throughout the day too and then show you metrics like how your daily step count impacts on your performance when running.
But to benefit from all these features, you’re going to need the right fitness watch. Read on and we’ll take a look at how you can go about selecting that to ensure you’ll get the very most from your new device.
One of the first things you absolutely need for your fitness tracker or running watch, is an effective heartrate monitor. This will track your heartrate as you are training, which in turn will give you the most accurate picture of how hard you are working and how many calories you are burning. Going on steps alone is simply not very accurate!
But of course it’s not sufficient to just get any heartrate monitor – you need to make sure that it is a good one too. That means it needs to be accurate (which you can find from reading reviews) and ideally it should also be one that checks your heartrate regularly.
Not all running watches have GPS. So if you want to make sure yours can track your runs, this is also going to be very important.
Data Points and Use
The more data you collect, the fuller the picture you can paint of your health. The Microsoft Band 2 for instance allows you to see an estimate of your VO2 max once it has collected data from enough runs.
Another useful function is a band that can provide pre-designed workouts, like interval sessions. These help you to burn a certain amount of calories in a set amount of time and to discover new ways to train.
Running is one of the very best forms of exercise for improving your health, as well as for building more speed and strength in your legs. It burns a lot of calories and you can do it anywhere.
So why isn’t everyone doing it? There are a few reasons, but one of the big excuses people tend to give is that they find it boring. And granted, steady state cardio like running can seem a little dull at times. It takes a long time and often you won’t be doing much interesting during that period – just hitting the tarmac over and over again…
So the question is, how can you make running fun so that you actually want to do it?
Take Music and Podcasts
One way to make running more enjoyable is to distract yourself with something. Good options here include music and podcasts. While a podcast can give you something interesting to listen to – possibly even helping you to learn while you run – music can help to spur you on and give you a bit more drive to keep pushing past your limit.
Kick a Ball
Running doesn’t have to mean simply running from one spot to another. A good option then is to try running while kicking a ball – kick the ball out in front of you, run to it, and then kick it out in front of you again! This way, you can make it almost like a game of football as you’re running!
Run With a Partner
Running with a partner will likely spur you on to be a little competitive and it certainly makes it a little less lonely.
Oh and there’s no reason that your partner has to be human – running with dogs is perfectly fine too!
You can create games for yourself while you run to make it a little less boring. These can be mental games you play in your own head (like trying to spot how many red cars you see), or they can be challenges you set that are related to your run. A good example is to try racing other joggers that you see nearby!
In general, just pushing yourself further and trying to beat personal bests will be an easy way to make running more rewarding and more addictive as well!
There are many more ways to make running more fun, all it takes is a little imagination!
The image most of us have of running involves a person running steadily for about 30 to 40 minutes in one direction, without taking breaks or varying in speed. This is what is known as ‘steady state cardio’ and in fact is only one type of running that you have available to you.
While steady state cardio has a ton of benefits for your health, eventually you might find yourself getting to the point where it is time to increase the challenge. This is when you may consider interval training, which opens up a whole new level of difficult and reward.
What is Interval Training?
Interval training essentially means that you are alternating between periods of high intensity and intervals of relative rest. That means you go all out for a short period and then have a slightly longer period to relax and let yourself regain your breath and composure.
The reason this is beneficial, is that it tests you at your ‘lactate threshold’. This means you are going fast enough that your body can’t keep up with recycling lactate. It’s also known as your anaerobic threshold, because it pushes your body faster than the aerobic system can keep up.
This is great for fitness because it means you’ll be able to improve your ability to produce fast energy in an efficient manner. It’s also great for losing weight, because it means that you’ll be burning a lot of your blood sugar. Then, when you have used up all of that blood sugar, your body will be forced to resort to burning fat in order to provide that same fuel. This means you actually burn more calories throughout the day following intervals!
How to Start
So how do you get started? As with running, the key is to introduce this very intensive form of training gradually into your program. Try adding interval training once a week to begin with and for no more than 20 minutes.
During this time, alternate between 30 seconds of sprinting and 2 minutes of recovery. This will send your heartrate through the roof and really test your explosive power and your fast energy systems!
Then, as you get more confident, you can start increasing the challenge by doing these sessions a couple of times a week or straight after other workouts (in which case it’s known as a ‘finisher’).