Today’s LA Marathon has inspired me to explain something that confuses many people I’ve spoken to.
Today’s winner spent over 2 hours laboring to cross the finish line…running 26 miles at a pace of under 5 minutes per mile. It’s an amazing feat.
Also, many not-close-to-world-class-athlete people made it a personal life challenge to complete the marathon. I love stories of people striving to achieve difficult goals…and achieving them. So you’d think I’d find this inspiring. And a part of me does.
But that said, I also feel depressed when I think about these people…because I know many of them are left with a deep sense of hopelessness…
For well over a decade I’ve worked with hundreds of people who wanted to lose weight, improve their strength and fitness, look better, and improve the quality of their lives. I can’t tell you how many times people have volunteered stories of having entered marathons to help get them into shape. And you know what? With only one exception I can remember–of the countless stories I’ve been told, these people report having GAINED weight by the end of their marathon experience. In addition, many of the people had sustained long-lasting injuries from the physical trauma they’d put themselves through.
Now, those side-effects might be worth it to someone who ONLY cared about completing a 26 mile run to prove to themselves that they could. But people who aim to complete marathon often believe that achieving this will also produce a health and fitness goal that is even more important to them. And I don’t blame them–this is what we’ve all been raised to believe.
So, here’s the depressing part…after these people complete a MARATHON–the MOST physically demanding activity most people can imagine…after they train for weeks and months, it’s easy for them to conclude that when they GAINED weight, it means that the entire pursuit of better fitness is hopeless for them. Many just give up because they think they’ve done everything they possibly could do.
But here’s the good news…the conventional wisdom is WRONG. Marathon-type activity isn’t even close to what works best for losing weight and getting lean and strong. It doesn’t work well for most people–only a select few fare well running marathons.
If you’ve failed to make progress in the past by making your workouts longer and longer–perhaps even attempting marathons, I want you to know that there is a different approach I’ve found to work much faster and much better; and it takes a lot less time
This approach involves forgetting about burning calories and focusing on creating an optimal hormonal environment in your body to burn fat, build strength, and have the most energy possible.
One consequence of creating this fat-burning environment will be that you start feeling less hungry and require less food. Another consequence is that you’ll probably start craving more physical activities because you have more energy.
But the fat-burning state and the increase in energy come FIRST. Any reduction in food intake or increase in activity come LATER…only after your body is easily burning body fat.
In other words, this approach is to start by creating a fat-burning machine out of your body.
By contrast, the “marathon fitness” approach has us start by doing lots of activity to burn a whole bunch of calories…and HOPE that your body suddenly decides to become a fat burning machine.
…Because if your body doesn’t suddenly start burning fat more easily than it has in the past, all that extra physical activity might only accomplish making you more hungry and more lethargic…until you give in and eat enough to gain even more weight than where you started.
This is not idle speculation…I’ve heard from people over and over again who got exactly this result. And I’ve experienced this outcome, personally, and I didn’t like it one bit.
So, how do you turn your body into a fat-burning machine?
There’s a lot of science I’ve learned about what makes this happen. And there’s a lot of art I’ve learned over the years about how to apply that science to any given person.
Probably the two most critical elements are 1. focus your exercise efforts on strength training, and 2. to focus your diet efforts on reducing sugar and carbohydrates.
If most people did those two actions–really did them–most would start experiencing better results than they’d seen in years.
So, that’s the simple alternative to running a marathon that actually works to achieve the fitness goals most people want.
If you want more details, I cover a lot more in my report “Why Workouts Don’t Work”: here.
I know this was a long post, but it’s an issue that I’ve seen bother many people, and I hope this has helped.
To health and life,
P.S. If you’re looking to hire a personal trainer right now, you can start the process of determining whether you’re a good fit to work with us right here.