What Body Shape Will Your Running Get You?

Did you know that the type of running that you do will determine exactly what body shape you get after you’ve lost weight?

That’s why one of the main things to consider when using running to lose weight is this…

What do you want to look like when you reach your desired weight?

An important thing to realise is that different running methods have different effects on your body such as the amount of muscle or fat that they burn, how hard your muscles are worked, and how quickly they improve your fitness.

For example, if you run for lots of miles and train like a marathon runner then that’s the body shape you are training towards.

You’ll lose both fat and muscle which means that when you reach your desired weight you’re likely to still carry excess fat around your stomach, thighs, and bottom due to having a higher body fat percentage than what you could have.

That’s a huge problem for many people who use running to lose weight. Even if they lose weight they are still unhappy and NOT satisfied with their body shape because they look like a miniature version of their previous self.

If you keep training like this and just run lots of miles then eventually you’ll end up with little body fat and you’ll look like a marathon runner.

However, now your weight will be lower than average because you’ll have little fat but you’ll also have little muscle. You only need to look at the physiques of marathon runners to see what type of body you are training to become.

The other disadvantage is that you need to keep up the high mileage in order to maintain your weight. This is because you would have a low metabolism due to having little muscle.

If you were to get injured or stop running at any time then you would need to keep on a low calorie diet to avoid putting the weight back on.

Alternatively, the benefit of using shorter and quicker running methods, and even a mix of longer and quicker running, is that you can train more towards a toned and athletic look.

By this I mean that you’ll have a good amount of attractive and healthy lean muscle while also having a low body fat percentage.

For example, if you train more like a 400m runner then this is the type of physique that you’re working towards. Therefore, when you reach your desired weight you’ll have some muscle but you’ll also have little body fat.

This highlights the fact that quicker running methods maintain more muscle while burning off lots of fat, so you end up with a body that has healthy muscle but little fat.

Long distance running on the other hand does burn off fat, but it also burns off plenty of muscle.

In summary, your aim when losing weight should be to lose weight from fat only, rather than from fat as well as muscle. This is because you’ll be working towards a more attractive and athletic looking body.

Plus it’s also easier to keep the weight off due to having a good amount of healthy muscle which burns more calories all day long.

Therefore, when using running to lose weight you should always consider the effect that the running methods you use will have on your body shape…

After all, surely after putting all the time and effort in to lose weight you want to get the look you desire, rather than losing weight and still being unhappy with your body.

Choose wisely the running methods that you use and how you use them. For more detailed help and advice be sure to check out my running programs.


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7 Responses to What Body Shape Will Your Running Get You?

  1. Chris says:

    Hi James,
    I’ve written several times….your advice is invaluable, and following your tips has kept me running and enjoying! Do I understand you correctly that if I want to reach AND maintain a more “lean, athletic” shape (62 yr old female), doing shorter but faster runs should be the way I go? I’ve been doing longer and slower….mainly because I live in FL in an extremely hot/humid climate. Perhaps running shorter runs, more often, and faster? I’d appreciate your input. I want lean looking legs……don’t we all? Thanks James!

    • James says:

      Hi Chris,

      You’re very welcome. I’m really glad that you find my advice so useful and that you are still enjoying your running.

      The running methods that you use and how you use them should be decided by several factors such as your current fitness and running ability, what body shape you want to end up with, and what you enjoy.

      Many people go down the long, slow running route because they don’t know any different or what other things they can be doing.

      For yourself, because you can already do long, slow runs you would benefit from introducing quicker running methods. You’ll be able to benefit in terms of more fat loss, quicker improvements in your fitness and running ability, and having more variety which makes running even more enjoyable.

      As you suggest, you can do shorter and faster runs, and that can be a start, but as you go along there is much more that can be done which I can’t really cover here.

      If you do some shorter and faster runs though, then they will be harder. So in answer to your question doing shorter runs doesn’t mean that you need to do more runs. In fact it can mean that you can do less.

      Quality is more important than quantity!

  2. Donna says:

    Hi James,
    I am a bit confused. So what are you saying? That one should run shorter miles but at a quicker pace as opposed to longer miles at a steady pace??

  3. Donna says:

    Me again James, isn’t that running method HIIT?? I have another question. Is there such a thing as being to fat to run or do HIIT.? A trainer told me that I should should drop some weight before I started running. I am 193. Am I too heavy to run??

    • James says:

      Hi Donna,

      It’s good at the start to build up a good level of fitness, and then look at introducing other running methods rather than only doing long, slow runs. Also the running methods that you use should be used in a way to target the weight loss and running goals that you have.

      HIIT can be used, but again it depends on your current fitness and running ability. What is good for one person may result in injury for someone else.

      You are not too heavy to run Donna. If you can run, then you can run, it doesn’t matter what weight you are. I have helped people over 250 pounds (18 stone) to lose weight and do well with running.

  4. cyndi.jo says:

    I don’t think 193 is to heavy to run I am 198 and can run a five k pushing my nine month old. I have been running with himsince after I gave birth and I started at 260 running a mile.

  5. Donna says:

    That is impressive Cyndi Jo. I have no excuse then. Thank you,