You Don’t have to Run!
For decades we have held to this faulty way of thinking: exercise is cardio and cardio is jogging. Being able to jog a long time means you are in shape and since runners are thin, it must be the best for fat loss.
The truth is that fitness is more than cardiovascular. It also includes strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition. If you want balanced fitness, you need more than a weekly jogging routine.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
The only people who should be running are people who enjoy running. You don’t need to run to get in great shape. And if you want to melt fat off your body, here are 10 better ways to do it than going for a jog:
1 – Kettlebell swings
Done correctly, swings are a fantastic joint-friendly fat-burner. Research published in the July Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research showed that swings are an effective way to enhance aerobic capacity. If your shins need a break from jogging, try roasting your glutes and hamstrings with swings instead!
2 – Sprints
Unlike jogging, which teaches you to hold back and preserve energy, sprints teach you to expend energy. They are one of the most effective tools to sculpt a lean, athletic body.
3 – Hill sprints
While being harder on your muscles, lungs and metabolism, hill sprints are easier on your joints and easier to do properly than flat ground sprinting. Just find a suitable hill, sprint up and walk down.
4 – Sled pushing and pulling
Weighted sleds offer a fantastic way to crank up your metabolism without beating on your joints. Also, unlike jogging where it gets easier as you get better, with weighted sleds you can easily add weight. The better you get, the more effective they become for fat loss!
5 – Jump rope skipping
If you need a fast workout with little equipment and space, look no further than a skipping rope. Jumping rope is fun and surprisingly challenging for your metabolism. Also, as movement expert Gray Cook points out, it is a great self-limiting exercise (i.e. you can’t do more than your skill allows).
This can make it safer than exercises like running, where you can pound away with sloppy technique. Note: while the impact is less than jogging, too much jump rope may aggravate your tissues. Enjoy, but don’t over-do!
6 – Farmers walks
Pick up a pair of heavy dumbbells, kettlebells or official farmer’s walk handles and go for a walk. Farmers walks will make you strong all-over, increase your work capacity and burn fat fast.
7 – Whole body circuit training
Take a handful of multi-joint exercises and put them together as a circuit. Have a short rest between each one, so you can push some respectable weight. This is a very time-efficient and effective way to melt fat off your body.
8 – Metabolic weight training
Like circuit training, metabolic weight training uses strength training exercises to kick your metabolism into over-drive! An effective way to do this is to alternate between lower and upper body multi-joint exercises (e.g. squats and chin-ups). Stick with moderate reps and rest enough between exercises, so you can challenge yourself with the weight.
Note: you can see an example of both whole body circuit training and metabolic weight training in my previous Watchfit article.
9 – Complexes
Complexes are like circuits, but you move directly from one movement to the other with no rest or change of equipment. For example, you might take a barbell and do 5 different exercises with the bar in a row without setting it down. Check out this post for more info and a sample barbell, dumbbell and kettlebell complex.
10 – Walking
While the first 9 options are fantastic, high-intensity options, you can only do so much high intensity work. In addition to your high-intensity workouts, try adding some walking – especially on days you don’t hit the gym.
Walking is fantastic for stress relief, recovery from high-intensity training and burning a few extra calories without burning you out.
If you still like running, by all means enjoy at a level that does not cause pain or injury. However you don’t need to run to be in great shape or to build a lean, athletic body.
To find out more about Andrew Heming, visit his Expert Profile.