So Excited to have Kristen Durnan from Fitness with Kristen as a guest blogger today! Kristen has a passion for running and a bunch of medals to prove it. She recently completed a marathon!

Kristen is also a Personal Trainer and runs her own fit biz complete with online fat loss specific training and a half marathon training plan (where was this when I was training for my half?!)

Read on to find out why running isn’t necessary for fat loss and how to get the most out of your training plan if you do love to run.

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By Kristen Durnan

There are a lot of mixed messages out there when it comes to running & fat loss. There’s the #teamnocardio trend on the one end of the spectrum, and there are those who spend hours doing cardio or running for the sole purpose of losing weight. Running is NOT necessary when it comes to fat loss, and it can in fact slow down your progress. What if running is something you love though? A big factor in how running affects your fat loss is hormones. Let’s go over three of the hormones affected by running, along with how to incorporate your love for running into your desire for efficient fat loss.

Three Hormones Affected By Running

Cortisol is a steroid hormone is produced by the adrenal gland and is released primarily in response to stress. High Cortisol levels from stress impact your ability to burn fat. Leisurely activities (such as a leisurely walk or yoga) are importantto ensure balanced Cortisol levels. When running, whether you are running for fun, or to train for a race, you always want to incorporate some easier runs into your program. For example, if you run four days per week you will want to have at least one of those days be an easy run so your body can recover from all of the work you are doing. This means going slower than you may even find natural or comfortable because you want to keep your heart rate down.

Ghrelin is a hunger hormone produced by the stomach and pancreas, and causes you to feel hunger hour-to-hour. Not only does Ghrelin increase hunger signals, it also favors the accumulation of fat located in the abdominal region. As a result, it also promotes fatty liver and increases the risk of developing resistance to insulin. Stress is not only associated with a higher body weight, but also higher Ghrelin levels. Adding in excessive running is the type of stress that can cause higher Ghrelin levels. This means more hunger signals (and likely higher food consumption) as well as more fat accumulation. If you are not specifically training for a long-distance race, try to keep your mileage in the 3-5 mile range (depending on how fast you run) to ensure you do not cause an imbalance with Ghrelin, thereby causing insulin resistance. If you ARE training for a race, you can dull the hunger signals by properly refueling after your runs with protein and fiber.

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is a fat burning hormone produced in the pituitary gland, and as the name suggests, is a hormone that stimulates muscle tissue growth. There is no better fat burner than our muscles. HGH has the benefit of stimulating your body to burn fat rather than store it, so the effect on fat loss is doubled. HGH is stimulated when your body engages in intense, short-term exercise like sprinting and lifting weights. Here is where you love for running and the Live Life Fit sprints come into play. Sprints are not only great for fat burning because of EPOC (Excessive Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption – essentially your body working so hard to get back to homeostasis), but they are great for runners because they help your SPEED and ENDURANCE. Adding a speed workout once per week is essential to any runner trying to get better at running, and has the bonus of helping with your fat burning goals.

A major decision will be prioritizing your goals. Is fat loss more important, or running? For the most part, you can enjoy both, but when it comes to a day of doubling up (which would only be necessary during race training) I recommend prioritizing. If my primary goal is fat loss, I do my circuit before my run because I have the energy to give my fat loss circuit 100%. If my goal is to improve my running and using my workouts to compliment my running, then I run before I workout.

Here is an example of a good schedule for combining your love for running and Live Life Fit if you are NOT training for a distance run:

Monday – Live Life Fit WO

Tuesday – Easy run (<4 miles) + lots of stretching

Wednesday – Live Life Fit WO

Thursday – Easy run (<4 miles)+ Lots of stretching

Friday – Live Life Fit WO

Saturday – Sprints + Run (<6 Miles)

Sunday – Complete rest/stretching

Here is an example of a good schedule for someone combining Live Life Fit AND race training:

Monday – Tempo Run + Live Life Fit WO

Tuesday – Speed run

Wednesday – Live Life Fit WO

Thursday – Easy Run

Friday – Live Life Fit WO (depending on your mileage on Saturday, you may stick to just an upper body workout)

Saturday – Long Run

Sunday – Complete rest/stretching

If you don’t love to run, then there is truly no reason for you to force yourself to run for results; however, if running is a passion of yours, you don’t HAVE to choose between the two. Simply tweak a few things to make it fit your Live Life Fit life!

Looking for more help with your running? Check out my free resources here.

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