I hope you all are having a great Friday so far.
For this week’s Fitness Friday, I thought I’d share an article, called “Why Women Should Not Run” that one of my friends posted to facebook. It really got me thinking, and I’d like to know what you all think, too.
So, first of all, I’ll try and give a summary of the article. The author talked about the different kinds of people he sees at the gym, and discussed one kind of person in particular: the woman that comes in every day and runs for long lengths of time but ends up getting “softer” and fatter the more she runs. He claims he’s not trying to pick on women, but has focused on them for a few reasons for the purpose of this article. According to him, they’re more likely to be “lured” into exercising by the thought and the assurances of better, fit bodies. He also claims that lots of cardio many times a week is “devastating” to women’s metabolism. He backs up these thoughts with studies (though I noticed he didn’t say when these studies were conducted…), and says that the human body really isn’t made for running or lots of exercise in general. The author explains that when we exercise too much and use up all our energy, our body goes into survival mode and turns down our metabolism, upping our likelihood of gaining fat. He then goes on to explain this chain of muscle, bone, and long-term health loss that is all a result of running. (I’m paraphrasing here.)
His next point is that women too often gorge themselves on high fat meals, making it so that they feel obligated to double up their cardio at their next gym session, and that this in of itself is causing a lot of the problem. The author ends his article claiming, “There are better ways to lose fat, and there are better ways to look good. Your bikini body is not at the end of a marathon, and you won’t find it on a treadmill…Don’t want to stop running? Fine. Then stop complaining about how the fat won’t come off your hips, thighs, and ass. You’re keeping it there.”
Well then. I tried to stay as neutral as possible in that summary, so if you want to read his words please check out the article HERE.
I have to say, I do see some of his points. I personally have gone through the cycle of binge eating, feeling horrible about it, and then sweat extra at the gym. But in my opinion, that’s not a bad thing. I don’t make it a daily routine, because that is not smart, but I don’t see much wrong in working extra hard at the gym sometimes.
I also know that running has been the thing that has helped me keep my weight off. Back in 2008-9 as a senior in high school I was at my ultimate heaviest and felt horrible about myself. At the end of my freshman year of college, I had begun running on the treadmill. My body wasn’t used to it, so it was sometimes only at 3-5 minute incriments, but I began to see the weight come off, and I had not changed my diet a bit.
That summer, and in the years since then, I have changed my diet, which obviously helped a lot. But I still believe running is the key thing that gets rid of the excess weight (for me). I’ve had various hip, IT band, and knee issues, and during those times, when I wasn’t running, the weight crept back, despite the fact that I kept eating well and did other forms of exercise.
Now, this is just me. I know there are plenty of people out there who can shred the weight by simply doing pilates or yoga and no cardio. But I’m not one of them. Which is why this article irked me.
Again, I think the author made some good points, and to play devil’s advocate to myself (and to side with him), I have noticed that it is possible for me to hit running plateaus, and that I do start feeling a bit “soft” if I don’t mix up how I run. But that doesn’t mean I have to plain ol’ stop. I just have to mix it up a bit through intervals, longer running times, or inclines. And then I’m off the plateau.
I really considered his points a lot before writing this post, in all fairness, and I do think he might be on to something. But I really did not think his crass over-generalization of women runners was accurate or appropriate.
Not only did the author not acknowledge that every person and body is different, but he ended his piece with a demand to women to stop running or be content with having excess fat, and didn’t even give suggestions of other exercises to try if this is the case. I know that if I personally “cut the cardio”, I would begin gaining weight like crazy, even if I kept up a good diet and tried other, less intense exercises. So what are women like me supposed to do with his “advice”?? Keep on running and be fat, or stop running all together and be fat?
I guess I’m just wondering what you all think about this. I know this was a lot to read and thank you to those of you who stuck with it, but I really wanted to share it to get different points of view.
So…what do YOU think? Is running (or any kind of cardio) a good thing? Has it helped you get or stay in shape? Do you see/understand his points? What do you think some of his suggestions should have been?
Thanks for reading and for your input. Have a great weekend!