Dudes. In short, no. You don’t have to run to be fit.
If you love to run, which I do love to run…sometimes, then by all means, do it! But it always baffles me when people are like, “Oh, I should run,” or “I should start running to lose some weight,” or “I want to get in shape so I guess I should run, but I hate running.”
If you hate running, then why do it? If you hate it, are you going to stick with it? (I’ll give you a hint: no.) Because you don’t need to run to lose fat. (Fat loss is really the goal. We can all agree on that now, right? When you lose weight, you want/hope it’s fat you’re losing, not muscle.)
Me, I do love to run…when I’m in love with running. And when I’m in love with it, I’m really in love with it! Can’t get enough. But, I eventually burn myself out because running puts stress on my body. I’m no spring chicken (what is a spring chicken anyway? I’m picturing a little yellow chick with springs on its feet). It also takes a ton of time.
Which is why I haven’t been running for over two weeks. But no big deal. I’m not even worried about it. I don’t need to run to stay healthy. I don’t need running to help me reach my fitness goals.
Right now, I want to be strong. I don’t feel like running. I have no interest in running. I am interested in getting fitter, though. And anyway, if I want a lean body, running doesn’t help me achieve it. Okay, well short sprinting sessions do. But not distance running.
That is just me, though. Everyone is different, of course. Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to show you what I am doing (not running) and how it’s affecting me.
Here’s what I have been doing for exercise and nutrition:
Weights 3x/week. Workouts are all done at home with dumbbells and consist of a 20-minute Metabolic Effect circuit, or a Lift Weights Faster challenge from Jen Sinkler (usually less than 10 minutes), or another similar circuit with heavy weights (like one from this article from Precision Nutrition).
Walking. I try to walk at a minimum 30 minutes a day, and longer on non-weights days. I’d like to get in an hour or more. Sometimes this is hard to squeeze in, so I do 15 minutes here, 10 minutes there, etc.
Nutrition. Since I’m working out less, I don’t need to eat as many carbs as when I’m running. I’m trying to drink more water: aiming for a 100 ounces, but have been getting about 80. A typical day of eating looks like this:
- Pre-workout (6:15 a.m.): BCAA drink
- Post-workout (7 a.m.): A small piece of homemade protein bar (mix of whey protein powder, peanut butter, Scottish oats and almond milk)
- Breakfast (8:30 a.m.): egg white omelet with spinach with some cheese and a piece of Ezekial toast with water and/or small black coffee
- Snack (10 a.m.): Celery or apple with peanut butter or nothing depending on whether or not I’m even hungry before lunch time
- Lunch (noon): 2 cups of romaine, a bunch of grape tomatoes, red onion, 1/4 of an avocado, meat (leftovers or ground turkey I cooked up on Sunday), 1T sour cream, 1/3 cup salsa. 1-2 squares of dark chocolate and a small cup of black coffee
- Snack (2 p.m.): Celery or apple with PB if I didn’t eat it before, but I’m not usually hungry yet
- Pre-dinner snack (4 p.m.): Sliced red bell pepper dipped in Wholly Guacamole. Or some more of my homemade protein bar. Or almonds.
- Dinner (6:30 p.m.): I try to make it centered around a lean protein (like chicken or ground turkey) with vegetables (been making the frozen Normandy blend from Costco lately) and sometimes a small amount of carb (like brown rice or a sweet potato or quinoa). And I’ve been having a lot of froyo after dinner lately it seems like.
And here’s what’s happening with my body:
- I’m not hungry all the time.
- Cravings have decreased dramatically.
- I get hungry, not OMG-I-need-food-now hangry (except sometimes in the morning).
- Stomach/”love handles” beginning to shrink.
- I noticed today, that I could easily buckle my belt with the next hole.
- I’m getting more sleep.
Here’s what’s happening mentally:
- I’m not thinking about working out all the time.
- I’m working harder during my workouts.
- I’m enjoying catching up on TV while walking on the treadmill. (OMG ANTM Boys & Girls Season 20 marathon FTW!)
- I have more time to play with my son.
- I’m meditating (what?).
- I’m happier, in general.
- I’m relieved I don’t have to run in the dark in the early morning hours.
- I’m happier with the way my clothes are fitting.
So, if you find yourself feeling burnt out on running, have not fear! Switch it up with weights and walking, and don’t stress.
Let me know if you have any questions!