If you are reading this blog, you probably like to run, so you’ve probably heard this from a friend before: “I’d like to lose weight and get in shape…but I don’t like to run.” (They scrunch their face a little and look at the ground, or they throw their hands up as if they’re saying, “So I guess I’ll just stay the way I am.”) So frustrating.
I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard this from friends (and strangers), and every time I hear it, it makes me want to pull my hair out. I want to scream: THEN DON’T RUN! But I don’t scream. I say it nicely instead because usually the person sounds like they are apologizing to me for not liking to run since I like to. Why would I be offended if you don’t care for running. You wouldn’t apologize to me for not liking mayonnaise on your broccoli (even though it is very, very good, and you are missing out).
Seriously, if you don’t like to run, then why would you make running your main fitness focus in your weight loss journey? It doesn’t make sense. You’ll never keep at something if you don’t enjoy it.
In 2009, when I chose to start running for fitness, it was because I had been a runner before. I already knew I would enjoy running. I could close my eyes and feel wind on my face and my ponytail swishing from shoulder to shoulder. (On the other hand, I HATE the elliptical machine. I’ll do it if it’s my only option; but I don’t enjoy it.)
Try running if you want to. But if you have tried it, and after 3 weeks or so, you still aren’t liking it, then MOVE ON and find something else you actually enjoy doing because…
THE NUMBER ONE RULE FOR SUCCEEDING IN YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY IS ENJOYING YOUR NEW LIFESTYLE.
If you hate it, you will think of a thousand excuses to not do it. If you enjoy it, you will find a way to work it into your schedule.
In my experience, getting “in shape” requires changes to two things: diet and exercise. And there are two components to each of those things. Diet: what (veggies, protein, carbs) and how much (calories consumed vs. calories burned) you eat. For exercise, it’s: cardio and strength.
Find a cardio activity you like. There are lots:
- Cycling or spinning
- Rowing or kayaking
- Fast Walking
- Elliptical machine
- Stair climbing
- Sprinting (so different than distance running)
- Jump rope
- I’m forgetting about a million other fun cardio things to do, I’m sure
And here’s the other thing…if you think running is the “only way” (because of cost/time/you want to use the treadmill/whatever), remember that you don’t need that much running time if you are simply using it as a tool to lose weight (versus training for a marathon or something).
A regular STRENGTH routine (whether it’s body-weight training or lifting weights) with a little running (15-20 minutes) or some other type of cardio incorporated (jump rope, jumping jacks, mountain climbers) is actually better for boosting your metabolism for longer throughout the day, and getting your body to change faster, I’ve found.
Both times I reduced running and upped my strength training, I lost weight and inches. Once it was by accident when I injured myself, and more recently it has been through trial and error after reading more about weight loss vs. fat loss. (Keep in mind, you have to work on your nutrition, too. No matter what exercise you do, if you eat like crap, you probably won’t see much, if any, change.)
Every person is different. What works best for me, might not work best for you, but remember that in order to continue to do something, it has to be something you like to do! So if you don’t like running; stop! Grab a basketball instead.
Whew! I’ve been wanting to say this for a while.
So, what non-running cardio activities do you love to do?
Right now, I’m enjoying a few: cycling, tennis, sprinting, and even badminton with co-workers on my lunch hour.
Speaking of tennis and cycling…who’s watching the Tour de France and Wimbledon right now?