I actually Googled “Is Jogging Good For Losing Weight?” and among the first 10 search results I only found two articles that agreed with my opinion.
I should say what follows is merely MY OPINION, but what you will learn from this article may truly shock you.
With that said, all the articles you will find on the internet about whether jogging/running is good for weight loss are based on opinion.
Some may be written by so-called “experts”, whereas others are just from personal experience.
I don’t class myself as an “expert” or a leader in my field, but I am someone who is now entering their fourth decade of exercising.
I have been fat, I’ve been skinny, I’ve had an aesthetically pleasing body (think strong, muscular and athletic), I’ve suffered injuries, and I’ve used just about every form of exercise that you can think of.
In addition, I’ve devoured just about every article, book, and magazine on health and fitness over the years, so I believe I’m worthy of providing my opinion.
So, without further ado – Is Jogging Good For Losing Weight?
What Made Me Write About Jogging and Weight Loss?
I think my main reason for writing this article, as we slowly but surely come out of lockdown due to Covid-19 (in London), is the number of people I have seen out jogging over the past 5-6 months.
Firstly, I will say I applaud many of these people who seem to be exercising regularly for perhaps even the first time in their life.
We were told by our current Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, at the beginning of lockdown that we were allowed to leave the house for exercise, once a day.
As someone who regularly uses my local park for exercise it was interesting to note the swarms of people flocking to the green pastures a stone’s throw from my home.
I typically enjoy an outdoor workout at least a couple of times a week, although the nearest I ever get to jogging will be a few sprints, or a short run as a warm up.
I’m far more at ease performing bodyweight exercises, and often bring some equipment along with me (jump rope, kettlebell, sandbag, medicine ball, etc. Yes, unfortunately I am “that weirdo” you often see in the park).
What was even more impressive to me was as the days, weeks, and eventually months wore on, many of the people I saw had kept up with their new-found jogging habit, and started to look far healthier (and thinner) from when I had first clapped eyes on them.
I must admit I was seriously impressed by not only the dedication, but also the transformations I saw.
So, just from my observations over the last few months, surely jogging must be good for losing weight, right?
Why Jogging May Be Good For Weight Loss (Initially)
Okay, it’s important for me to say that if you are new to exercise that jogging (or any form of exercise for that matter) will help you lose weight.
In its most simplest form, let’s say that for many years you ate the exact same foods every single day, as well as having the same activity levels. However, this has left you being overweight.
If you continued doing everything exactly the same, but decided to add one mile of jogging every day, you would be expending (burning) more calories on a daily basis.
Depending on your current weight, that one extra mile a day may be burning 100-200 calories a day, so 700-1400 calories a week, and 3,000-6,000 calories a month.
This for many people this could equate to 1lb or 2lb a week in weight loss.
Hold your horses, oh if only it was that easy.
The reason it was important for me to mention that “if you are new to exercise” is because after a month of jogging one mile a day you are no longer a newbie.
Let’s say for me, if I continued eating the same, but stopped my usual exercise routine, and simply jogged one mile a day, or even two, I would gradually start putting on weight.
The reason being that the calories I am consuming through my current diet and nutrition would leave me at a calorie surplus, due to me lowering my activity levels (basically a one or two mile jog is a lot less than what I currently do exercise-wise).
So, as you can see, it’s all relative.
Why Jogging May Not Work For Weight Loss
Okay, admittedly I have gone to an extreme by comparing my own activity levels to someone who is completely new to exercise, but there are still occasions where your new jogging habit may not be having the desired effect on your weight.
Firstly, as I’ve mentioned, the body adapts to the new form of exercise, so eventually you will have to make your workouts harder.
A term I use quite often on my website is “progressive overload”.
This is most commonly used in the gym or in the weights room. In order to get stronger or more muscular you will need to continue adding weight to the bar.
Once again, because your body has adapted to the weights you are currently pushing.
The easiest and most common method of progressive overload when it comes to jogging is to run further distances.
So, you may start out your first month running a mile a day, but then you push this to 2 miles the following month, and then you increase the distance again month after month.
The main problem as I see it with this type of progressive overload is that we’ll all become marathon runners within a year or two.
Have you really got time to be running 3-4 hours every morning?
Plus, let’s not even talk about the potential injuries that may crop up over the course of time.
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No, for most of us, we stick to a set number of miles a day or a week (depending on how often you want to go running) and we never waiver from this amount.
This is typically why you will see regular joggers who don’t appear to be in great shape.
They can easily run 5 miles, but their body has adapted to this distance, and so they are no longer reaping the benefits of weight loss.
Additionally, we tend to overcompensate in terms of how many calories we think we’ve burned through jogging, as well as how many we think we can get away with eating.
I can’t be the only person to say, “I could eat a horse” after a bout of exercise, and the vast majority of us will often overeat afterwards.
A 5-mile run will typically burn 500-600 calories for the average person, but the 1,200-calorie burger, chips (fries to my American friends), and large soft drink will not equate.
You are eating more calories than you have burned – you’re going to put on weight.
And I know many of us make bad food choices if we’ve been exercising – the old, “I can eat what I want because I’ve been exercising”. Unfortunately, once again, it just doesn’t work like that.
Am I Saying That Jogging is Bad For You?
I most certainly am not saying that jogging or running is bad for you and it definitely has its place.
Running offers various benefits, such as it boosts your mood and improves sleep quality.
Running has also been proven to improve your overall heart health.
The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published an article in August 2014, which references probably the longest and largest ever study on running and the effects on the heart.
The study ran (no pun intended) for a total of 15 years and was conducted on 55,137 people aged between 18-100 (yes, there was a 100-year old runner in the study, how do you feel now? LOL), with the average age being 44.
Some of the most interesting results include:
- Runners had a 30% lower risk of death from any cause.
- When compared to non-runners it was found that people who jogged had a 45% lower risk of death from heart disease (this was measured during the 15-year study).
- Runners typically had a 3-year higher life expectancy than non-runners.
With that said, there is still much debate about whether “too much” running is bad for the heart – I guess we’re talking about people who run at marathon-level throughout their entire life.
Basically, there is a wealth of great benefits to running.
Case-in-point, pretty much all professional athletes, irrespective of their sports, the armed forces, and a whole host of other fitness-based careers involve running on a daily basis.
However, I will add that all of these people are actually “running” as opposed to the slow-plodding steps we associate with jogging.
Additionally, for all these professional athletes running incorporates just a fraction of their training.
Yes, they require the cardiovascular benefits (strong heart, endurance, etc.) that running provides, but much of their training is based around other forms of exercise.
Let’s take a boxer for example – most professional boxers (depending on weight) will typically get up first thing in the morning (or in the middle of the night apparently if you’re Floyd Mayweather) and run for 5-8 miles.
However, the vast majority of their day is spent on footwork, shadow boxing, sparring, core work, bodyweight exercises, some weights in the gym, and for additional cardio and footwork training, lots of skipping.
I can guarantee that if you performed just 30 minutes a day of these types of exercises instead of jogging, not only would you lose weight, but you’d actually look a lot better as well.
Potentially The Greatest Olympic Athlete EVER Proves My Point
I know it may sound as though I’m bashing jogging as a way to lose weight, but I simply think there are far better ways to achieve weight loss, but above all a slim, toned, and attractive looking body.
A prime example of this is if you compare the body of the most famous joggers/runners, i.e. marathon runners to that of the awesome Olympic champion, and all-round great guy, Usain Bolt.
I mean no disrespect, but most marathon runners and even long-distance (10k, etc.) Olympic runners look skinny, gaunt, and as though they could do with a good meal.
I know if you’re overweight this may sound like heaven, but it’s not a particularly healthy look.
You look at Usain Bolt, you see a muscular, fit and extremely athletic looking man, who looks as though he could perform just about any physical feat.
I can guarantee that his training regime involved lots of explosive power and strength workouts – so, sprints, plyometrics, heavy weight lifting, as well performing Olympic lifts. Not a lot of jogging going on here to produce the body of a world-class athlete.
The problem as I see it is without any form of strength training you are lowering your body’s basal metabolic rate (this is the energy your body burns while you are at rest), which means that you are likely to lose body fat, but more importantly you are also likely to lose muscle mass.
So, you may in fact be “losing weight”, but over time you will be required to expend more energy just to maintain your weight.
Basically, muscle automatically burns calories, so the more muscle mass you have the more calories you burn.
People often associate the word “muscle” with someone who is massive, probably unable to walk or move their arms properly because they have so much bulk.
Hey, if that appeals to you then who am I to judge, go for it.
But in truth, using strength/resistance training and building “muscles” is anything but this.
From a woman’s perspective, compare the body of a female marathon runner to that of Maria Sharapova.
I will reiterate, if you not only want to lose weight, but you actually want to look good physically, you will require some form of resistance training. Plus, it’s also important to note that when I mention “resistance training” this doesn’t merely imply using weights.
Oh no, you can lose weight and get the body you’ve always craved from the comfort of your own home.
Maria Sharapova Workout Routine
Usain Bolt – Fastest Man On Earth
Can You Lose Weight in Just 21 Minutes A Day?
I’ve recently reviewed the Bodyweight Burn program.
Above all (most of) the workouts can be completed in just 21 minutes a day.
The Bodyweight Burn program uses what is known as cardioflow, afterburners, and metabolic-muscle sessions.
The cardioflow section uses bodyweight exercises to replace traditional cardio such as jogging, which is not only better on your knee joints, but far more fun and helps you to burn fat and lose weight.
The afterburners are performed towards the end of your workout and are aimed at producing the EPOC effect – Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption.
This is where the magic happens. The EPOC effect is when your metabolism is high and your body continues to burn fat well AFTER you have finished exercising, typically for 24-72 hours afterwards.
When you’re jogging any weight loss benefits will only happen whilst you’re running, the second you stop you cease reaping the benefits.
Afterburners provide you with fat-burning qualities for days after you’ve stopped exercising.
Finally, the metabolic-muscle sessions are aimed at helping you attain lean muscle, which as we now know is essential is burning more calories.
Furthermore, these types of workouts will increase your insulin sensitivity, so you can occasionally (I said occasionally) enjoy your favourite tasty, carb treats without putting on weight.
Imagine being able to eat a pizza, or a burger, or some fries, or some ice-cream every-now-and-then without having to worry about gaining weight.
You can read my full review of the Bodyweight Burn program here.
Is Jogging Good For Losing Weight? – The Verdict
I think you already know where I’m going with this, but let’s have a final recap.
Yes, jogging can help you to lose weight if you are new to jogging, or exercise itself.
It stands to reason that if you go from no activity to actually being active you’re going to burn more calories, hence you’ll lose weight.
However, the human body is a wonderful thing in so many ways, one of which is that it very quickly adapts to exercise.
This in turn means to reap the weight loss benefits (or simply to maintain your new weight) you will have to do more and more jogging, which will eventually mean that you start to lose muscle as well (do you want to look like an undernourished marathon runner or Usain Bolt or Maria Sharapova?)
Jogging does of course have its good side in terms of cardiovascular health, mood and sleep benefits, but in reality if you want to lose weight, burn fat, and actually look good then there are other (better) ways of doing it.
As I’ve mentioned the Bodyweight Burn Program works on a set of principles that will help you achieve all of this.
Thank you for reading.