I have been to a local running track recently for my run and saw my old friend who apparently was walking in 2005 and now we are in 2012 and he is running. I wholeheartedly congratulated him for this transition. But what intrigued me with this runner now, and most of the other guys who pick up running as their tool, to get fit is their understanding of the physiology, which is way off the mark.
Before I go further into the blog let me clear that I am a runner and have run professionally so, I am not averse to running and please try to read the pointers I am trying to make.
Most of the runners have the mindset of
- Since I run I am fit
- Since I run I can gobble up whatever I want
- Since I run I feel like superman and they almost feel they can defy the law of gravity.
- Since I run, medical parameters should be normal.
I urge all runners (am referring to all runners and cardio freaks) to understand that running or cardio work can only take care of one aspect of fitness. I see many runners in my clinic who go down the drain like this.
First, funnily most of them do not like to perform any kind of strength work or mobility work and invariably they end up with a knee injury, secondly they start icing and continue their addiction and finally they reach a stage where they can’t run anymore and that’s when the time bomb explodes, not only you can’t perform your favourite fitness drill, now you suddenly start loading up more calories and hit the drain in a jiff. Running is fine if it’s fortified with a good strength-training program along with mobility and stability work.
Now referring back to my friend, who has been running, apparently has not lost any weight and I saw a cute little paunch, which is a result of poor nutrition, and hardly any strength work.
Excessive cardio vascular work will eat up your lean tissue and it will bring down your metabolism over a period of time (refer to Charles Poliquin) and that is why most of the early morning joggers look the same for years to-gether, its not a co-incidence, its Science.
Strength training releases testosterone and heavy running or cardio vascular work releases cortisol – period. Both these hormones travel in opposite directions. Lean body mass is the most metabolically active tissue in the body and give it all the respect in the world. Don’t mess around with it.
We live in an era where testing is easily available (just perform a DEXA scan) to find out the status of your lean body mass. Maintaining whatever lean tissue you have is of primary importance to start with, and the least you can do is to try and maintain whatever you have, if not to improve it. Hence strength training is critical!
Runners steps to supreme fitness:
- Corrective and strength work
- Common sense diet – eat every 3 hours and eat fresh food.
- Limit your cardio vascular work (don’t beat yourself to death all 7 days)
- Last but not the least, find a practitioner who has made permanent changes in the field of fitness.