Yeah, I catch a lot of flak from the fitness community and from runner. I don’t think a day goes by that someone doesn’t refer to me as the ‘anti-running guy’.
This is simply not true. I AM NOT ANTI-RUNNING.
I am, however, an advocate that running isn’t the best form of exercise for everyone. Just the same as gymnastics, boxing, sword fighting, wrestling, tennis, and power lifting aren’t the best forms of exercise for everyone.
There is no exercise that is the best for everyone.
Yet for some reason everyone thinks that it is OK for anyone to go running in an effort to improve their health. This is simply not an appropriate recommendation. Running is not the BEST form of exercise. It is simply a form of exercise.
Yet I hear all your little voices out there, ‘we were designed to run, our bodies were built for it.’ Sure we were. I agree.
We were also built to store as much fat as possible, swim underwater, and withstand extreme temperatures. That doesn’t mean any of these things are good for us in excess, or that we handle them well if we do not prepare our bodies for these demands first.
Running is a demanding and highly skilled activity. If you do it improperly you will hurt yourself, just as you would with any other physically demanding endeavour. But for some reason everyone thinks they can just go ahead and start running.
What is your goal? You need to start with this question when choosing an activity or you are running in circles (pun intended).
Here is the thing – most people I talk to want to decrease body fat, improve cardiovascular health, and show some muscle definition.
SECRET REVEALED!!!!!!! Running is not at the top of the list to accomplish any of those goals!!!!!
Running is not the best activity to drop fat, improve cardiovascular health, and it won’t maximize your muscle definition. I am not going to go through lists of research citations but if you don’t believe me I have them. Hundreds of them.
Or look at the anecdotal evidence. Go through our Youtube videos and check out our members. Most of them don’t run. In fact if I went through the list of our members the ones who do run have the hardest time lowering their body fat, get out of breath fastest in our classes, and have less muscle definition than those who don’t.
If you are new to exercise or it has been a long time since you have exercised then running is a terrible way to start! Would you start exercise by doing plyometrics or highly demanding gymnastics? Why do I ask? Because when you run you are doing thousands of high impact plyometric repetitions. I would be called crazy if I made you do a 1000 squat jumps your first workout you would think I was crazy. But it would be no more crazy then going for a job and doing 1000 foot strikes.
So what is running good for? It is good for people who want to run. If you love running go run. But do it right. And sorry, most people do not do it right. The running schedules (note I do not call them training programs because THEY ARE NOT training programs) handed out to people via retail stores are terrible. No wonder there are so many injuries amongst runners. Sorry, your body was not designed to log 100km a week for months on end. Go run but make sure you are doing it properly and training properly for it.
If you only run because you think its good for you or you are trying to get a lean and defined physique, well then, stop right now, because it is not the best route for you to be following (and again, running pun intended!).