Does Running Burn Belly Fat Or Are You Wasting Your Time?
Curious to find the real answer to the question, “does running burn belly fat?” There’s no doubt marathons have exploded in popularity over the past few years and with events consistently selling out it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop any time soon.
I quite often hear people tell me they’re going to start training for a marathon and I’m happy to see they’re excited for exercise but if they’re looking to lose belly fat then they’ll probably be wasting their time. Don’t get me wrong, there are numerous benefits to marathon training such as the cardiovascular health as well as the endurance, but when it comes to fat loss it comes in last place.
We’ll get into why steady state cardio running isn’t going to be effective to burning belly fat in a bit but first I want to talk about something most people don’t even think about. A lot of those who first start marathon training are total beginners and have practically been sitting on their big butts for years.
Marathon training requires a ton of repetitive stress on the body and if you haven’t exercised since Clinton was president then your body most likely can’t handle it. The injury rate for beginners embarking on a marathon training routine is pretty high so if you are going to do this then I’d recommend starting low with a 5K and working your way up. Also consider going with a pro who will be able to help customize your training so you reduce the risk of injury.
So Does Running Burn Belly Fat?
In a very popular study they had a endurance based training group who trained for 20 weeks and compared it with an interval training group that trained for 15 weeks. At the end of the report they found those in the interval group lost 9x’s as much body fat than the endurance group.
This is huge! So the interval group lost 900% more fat than the endurance group in LESS time.
Another study in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition had a group perform aerobic exercise at 78% max heart rate for 45 minutes a session 5 times per week. After 12 weeks they found there was no effect over dieting alone. If you’re trying to burn belly fat then this was a total waste of time!
There are quite a few other studies out there that prove the same thing that interval training will win time and time again. Even though both endurance and interval training will improve cardiovascular health there is only one clear winner for fat loss.
The Final Word On Does Running Burn Belly Fat
So if your goal is to drop some fat then interval training is the way to go. Also the likelihood of getting injured is going to be less so there shouldn’t be anything keeping you from getting results. I often hear people who are injured themselves while training for a marathon and all of their motivation goes out the window as they sit around waiting for their injury to heal.
If you’re looking for an example of interval training routine check out my HIIT workout program blog post. Once again I think there are some good benefits to marathon training and it’s quite an accomplishment to complete one. But if you’re looking to lose belly fat then interval training is the clear choice to the question, “does running burn belly fat?”
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college level. He has over 10 years experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He hopes to be able to bring inspiration & results to people all over the world to live a healthier life through diet & exercise.