Does Running and Working Out Make You Fat? How to Look Good Naked.

I’m probably going to catch hell for this blog post, but here it goes anyway.

chubby runner

My darling sister sent me a link to a blog titled “Seven Reasons As To Why Running is Bad For You” the other day. I read the rather scathing blog and thought, hmm, this dude makes a few good points.  I didn’t care for the way he bashed running (as a person who loves running), and his general negative attitude, but the first reason was rather interesting: “Have you looked at distance runners?”

The author points out that most runners, especially distance runners, are…well…out of shape.  If you look at the majority of people crossing the line of a marathon, they are not the gazelle-looking athletes you would expect.  The author points out that they have, “man boobs” and “spare tires”.

man boobs

He says his goal is to look good naked, and I agree, if you work this hard, you should look good naked!  If you want to look good naked, I give my take on how to do it in this blog.

I would argue that this fact is true for many athletes.  Cyclists, swimmers, runners, the people at the gym who show-up for boot-camp or Crossfit, whatever. Many of them are still not the ‘ideal image of fitness’.

So why?  Why are these people who workout an hour a day, seven days a week not fit?  Why is it that a marathon runner who goes out for four-hour training runs still has a set of man boobs?  Why does the guy doing Crossfit three times a week still have a barrel chest with a gut?  Why does the cyclist who rides one hundred miles in one day still have a muffin-top riding over her bike shorts?  I’ll tell you why, but first you have to promise not to get upset.  Don’t shoot the messenger and please DON’T assume I am ignorant as to the difficulties of weight issues.

Here’s the reason.  Your physical appearance has much, much, much more to do with what you put in your mouth than how many calories you burn.  

vs

We ALL have six-pack abs, though some are more pronounced than others.  The difference is that if you have a thick layer of fat covering them, you won’t see your ab muscles.  A person can be extremely fit and look just like anyone else.

One of the biggest problems people run into when they do any fitness routine, is they over compensate for the calories they burned.  A one hour run, on average, burns about 600 calories.  If you go home and drink a tall glass of chocolate milk and eat a bagel, you’ve replaced the calories you just burned.  And if you are like most fitness junkies, you think you are entitled to eat whatever you want since you work out so hard.  “We need to carb-load” they say.  Bull shit.  You need to eat well, and pasta is not the best choice.

carb load

The person who works out sporadically tends to ‘reward’ themselves after a difficult workout session with a special treat like a candy bar or a Big Mac then wonder’s why they haven’t lost any weight.  When weeks and weeks of this effort at working out results in weight gain, they lose all confidence in themselves and create a downward spiral.  They run to the comfort foods to heal their pain.

I’ve been on long endurance rides with some of the best cyclists in the area and am appalled to see them noshing on gummy bears and a coke at the rest stop.  It’s no wonder they don’t fit the image of the extreme athletes they are.  I can’t help but wonder how much faster and better they could be if they fueled their body with real food.gummy bear

The fact is: if you want to be the image of an athlete, you need to eat correctly and work out.  If you want to feel healthy, you need to eat well.  If you want to be a healthy weight, you need to eat well.  No amount of exercise gives you a pass to eat like crap.  As an athlete, eating well will fuel your workouts and feed your fitness level like never before.  Even if you are not an athlete, you can look better and feel amazing if you just eat well.

What do you mean by ‘eat well’? 

Okay, here’s my take on how everyone should eat in as few words as possible.  Take it or leave it.  But if you want to feel great, look great (even naked) and be the best athlete you can be, you might want to give it a go.

STOP rewarding yourself with junk food.  Cut out all the cakes, muffins, doughnuts, candy, and chips.  It’s junk, it’s filled with sugar and ultimately it will ruin you.  It’s not worth it.  A little dark chocolate on a rare occasion may be fine but that’s it.  Sugar feeds cancer cells (and we all have cancer cells), it spikes your blood sugar creating a feeling of hunger and a craving for more sugar.  Get off the sugar and you will stop the cravings.  It’s a cycle, it can be broken.  One week without sugar and you will be a new person.
Simple.

drink cokeNO sugary drinks.  Drink water, lots of it.  Not only does water hydrate you and make your skin look fresh it flushes toxins from your body and makes you feel full.  Often people eat when they are dehydrated because they mistake the signals for hunger.  Add lemon to your water for flavor, to aid in digestion and cleanse your system.  Other great options are green tea and unsweetened tea.  Beer is fine and so is wine (in moderation).  aspartame

No artificial sweeteners:  Not only are they bad for you, like eating toxic waste (in my opinion) they cause your blood sugar to fluctuate just like sugar does.  These spikes in blood-sugar cause you to feel hungry.  If you avoid sugar and artificial sugar, you will feel satisfied.  Trust me.

No processed foods.  If it comes in a box or a bag it is probably processed. Examples are crackers, nutrition bars, rice crisps, pretzels, chips, pasta, gold fish, wheat thins, most breads, lunch meats, fake cheese, etc.  Real food is perishable. Processed foods are filled with preservatives, chemicals and most of the main ingredients like enriched flours turn into sugar when it is digested.  This crap food, as I call it, is toxic to your system, makes you feel hungry, unsatisfied, (can’t eat just one!), lethargic and is the most detrimental to a lean healthy body. (Even ORGANIC processed food is bad for you!)

NO FAST FOOD: I don’t care what kind of bullshit they feed you on the commercials, NO fast food is a good option.  If you have to choose between paying a dollar for a burger or a dollar for an organic apple, chose the apple.  A chicken wrap is crap. Subway is NOT fresh, it is actually highly processed meats filled with nitrates, veggies that are mass produced and grown with chemical fertilizers and sprayed with toxic pesticides, and breads made from dough that is made in a factory a long, long way away with an ingredient list longer and more toxic than the Ohio river.

mcdonalds

All fast food is bad for you.  It is not really food at all, and your body will treat it as such.  On top of the fact that it is bad for your body, it is horrible for the environment.  I could go on for hours about how horrible fast food is, but I think you get the picture…I’m anti-fast food.

What the hell can I eat then?

Fruit and vegetables, organic whenever possible. I pay for organic because I am investing in my future.  I am willing to buy fresh, organic produce because I know I will live longer with less health complications because of it.  In the end, it will cost me less.

buy organic

Eat them raw throughout the day.  Dip your veggies in humus or bean dip, not ranch dressing.  Saute your veggies in olive oil and butter.  Add salt and spices for flavor.

Eat a variety of colors.  When you crave sweet, eat fruit.  Eat as much as you want, there is not limit to how much you can eat.  This should be the bulk of your intake.

Oil and Balsamic Vinegar: Huge organic salads loaded with veggies and some cheese should be topped with oil and vinegar based dressings seasoned to your liking.  Balsamic vinegar is very flavorful and the best one for you.  Avoid the creamy dressings.

Dairy: Raw is best.  Most people are allergic to homogenized, pasteurized dairy (the milk at the store).  I am able to purchase raw milk and use the cream to make butter and sauces.  If you have to buy milk at the store you should buy organic and limit the amount you drink.  The processing it goes through turns it from a whole live food into a product your body doesn’t deal with well.    Cheeses are not as bad.  Limit them though.

Nutritional-Difference-in-Raw-Milk

 

Beans: Beans are super foods.  Buy organic whenever possible.  They are very filling and a great source of healthy carbs, fiber and beans.

Meat AND Fish: Meat is good for you, but it is also not necessary.  It is up to you whether you want to eat meat or not.  Some of the leanest, meanest athletes are vegan or vegetarian.  I think lean cuts of meat are over-rated.  Fat is not bad for you, if you want to eat a fatty meat than eat it.  I think that most of the issues supposedly caused by fatty meats are due to processed foods in combination with fatty meats.  If you cut out processed foods, you can eat a fattier meat.

I personally buy local, grass-fed beef and meats whenever possible.  Animals raised on a high-corn diet are not healthy animals.  I also don’t support feedlot practices.  This is a personal decision but I encourage you to do your research before making a decision.

go grass fed

Fish is high in protein and filled with Omega 3’s (the good fats that make you smart and your body function well).  Do some research to find the the safest fish that is caught or raised in the most sustainable and healthful way.  It’s challenging but once you find a good source you can stick with it.

Eggs: Farm fresh is best, organic is second best.  If you can find a farm to supply your eggs you can buy them 4 dozen at a time if you want.  They keep in the fridge for months. (Store bought eggs are months old by the time they get to you).  Very high in protein and very portable (when hard-boiled) eggs are a wonderful for you, yokes and all.  Eat them up.  As long as you cut out the processed foods, you don’t need to worry about cholesterol in eggs.  Real food is good for you.

NUTS: Nuts are a great source of protein and healthy fats, both which are very important and make you feel full.  Raw almonds are ideal since you are not as likely to overeat them like you would smoked almonds.  raw almonds

Rices: Organic is best.  Brown, black, wild, whatever.  Rice is a whole food and if you really need carbs as bad as you think you do, rice is a decent way to get them.

Whole grains: If you are going to eat grains, eat them whole.  When eaten whole they don’t cause the spike in blood sugar that processed grains like flour does.  Most athletes are very efficient when it comes to utilizing food and don’t require this type of carbs unless preparing for a long distance race.  Over-doing these types of carbs however, will result in excess fat, especially around the waist.

Real food is always good for you.  Real food has not been processed, it is in its original state.  Real food still has all the good stuff in it and hasn’t been stripped of the important stuff your body craves…or will learn to crave.

eat real food

Once you stop eating sugar and processed foods for about a week, your body will stop craving it.  It may be painful at first while you detox your body.  It is also hard to break habits.  If you are used to having a pop with your lunch, it will be hard to have water with veggies for lunch.  If you always celebrate a long run with a giant chocolate chip cookie, eating four or five clementines may not feel like a celebration at first.  But once your body is ‘off’ the crap food and fully fueled by real food, it will begin to crave real food and expect it.

When you start to see the muscles you have worked so hard to develop and you see the fat melt away, it will be easier.  When you reap the benefits of a well-fueled body with faster times you’ll never go back.

As always, thanks for reading my blog.  I look forward to hearing your response.

not good

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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26 thoughts on “Does Running and Working Out Make You Fat? How to Look Good Naked.

  1. Awesome post! 1 question for you. I grow my own food then can or freeze it so that it will last through out the winter. Are you saying that is bad too because I need to use salt to preserve the veggies(canned) and I use suger to make my sauces and jams. Is that bad as well? I would have thought THAT would be the healthier choice.

    • I’m not saying that at all. I love that you grow your own food! I do too. I don’t think there is anything wrong with salt (besides it making you a little bloated every now and then). It you are going to preserve something, salt is a good choice. A little real sugar in your sauces and jams isn’t going to hurt you. I did just learn about a way to jar ‘all fruit’ jam without using sugar. It is a special pectin called Pomona’s Pectin. It can be found at natural food stores. You can also make freezer jelly with all fruit. But no, a little sugar wont hurt you.

      Also, sweeteners like real maple syrup and honey are good choices since they have a lower glycemic index and don’t cause a spike in your blood sugar.

      Any time you are making something from scratch at home it is by far a better choice than buying at the market. Bread made from scratch at home is still full of carbs but you only use about 3 to 5 ingredients. (Compare that to the 20+ ingredients, preservatives and chemicals in store bought bread). That is SO much better then the crap in the market (unless you buy the frozen organics without preservatives).

      Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and comment. Anyone who can grow food AND feed themselves with it throughout the year is a hero in my book! Good job.

    • Billy, I’m sorry if I hit you where it hurts. It’s never too late! You look pretty good in your photo, you must not be too far off par:) Thanks for reading and commenting, Billy. Hope you and the family are well.

  2. Awesome article, changing what I eat has helped me loose 34 lbs. I’m not a runner, or even one that exercises for hours, I simply changed what I ate. I love walking! Miss chatting with you at co-op.

  3. I’m one of those stinkin’ expections to eat the right food and watch your body change. BUT I do have a lot of hormonal issues. I started gaining again. Mostly due to having to up a hormone — my hair was falling out — in GOBS. I hoped I wouldn’t start gaining, but I did. I am so pissed about it. You and I probably eat very much alike.

    What am I doing? I am going out and swiming. I bike when I can. I run in the water, because it is too hot for me here. I will keep pressing in and hoping that I will figure out how to get the gains to go away. I can’t really eat too much in the way of junk. I just don’t like junk. At least if I am chubby I will be healthy. 😀

    Great article.

    • Being healthy is more important than anything. I hope you get the hormone thing worked out. Hormones, ugh, pain in the ass. If I ever figure them out I’ll blog about them too;)

      Thanks for the great comments, Shonnie!

      Sent from my iPhone

      • Well, I do too. 😀 I’ve been working on it for about 20 years. I am not sure anyone really knows … but just guesses about what to do with these lovely things that make us tick and work. 😀

  4. The only thing I may add to this re: how a person looks are genetic predispositions to a certain body type. BTW gummi bears on a long ride are yummy

    • Yes, I agree. Genetic predisposition and really good plastic surgeons. I really didn’t want the focus of the blog to be looking good naked. That was more of a bait to get people to read it and a play on the other blog dude’s goal in fitness. I think the real goal everyone should have is to be healthy, feel good and ultimately you will look good. People who are healthy are naturally attractive no matter what shape or size they are.

      I also didn’t go into the carb needs of extremely long workouts like 8 hour bike rides and five hour runs. It is a whole other ball game. Endurance requires more calories and stored calories. The best ultra runners have a nice layer of fat stores, it’s a necessity. I think there are better ways to acquire the calories than gummi bears though:P

  5. Thank you so much for telling the truth. I go to Regiment Fitness – training outdoors with ex-army PTIs. And they constantly tell us the same thing. Fitness starts outside. Weight loss and how your body looks starts in the kitchen. I can’t tell you Howard times I’ve heard “Now I’m treating myself to a Big Mac/ boozy night out/ massive curry” because they’ve done one hour of running about and think they are entitled. And guess what? They’re shape never changes. I really appreciate the post – well done!

  6. Hi Diane –

    Its pretty cool to see you blogging about running and what not. Long time since I have seen you in high school. You are 100% accurate. I have tried and tried to get the last 20 lbs off. But I was that guy saying, “I just mtn biked 20 miles .. i can have that bagel and choc milk” Only to then go home and eat beakfast etc .. Ouch .. many years wasted doing that (wasted in terms of body appearance) I am still not where I want to be, but have started going in the right direction again. Its takes a ton of determination to break out of old habits, like thinking you are doing good by drinking diet soda or wheat bread or turkey cold cuts etc .. glad to see some of the things I am learning (slowly) are being reinforced .. your blog – pics – stories speak for themselves.

    Do you feel that the time you eat plays a factor as well? Like bigger breakfast, lesser lunch, lean dinner, no food after x.00 pm, Or are you a pure calories in > calories needed on a daily/weekly basis ? just curious if you even worry or think about that kind of stuff.

    Take care .. you’re looking great!

    • Hey Dan, Thank you for responding! I hope to see you at our 20 year, that would be great. As far as your questions go, I will tell you this. I don’t count calories, though when I started gaining weight and didn’t understand why, I did start logging my calories to figure out if that explained it. It is good to log them every now and then just to see what your intake is. That said, I truely feel that once off sugars and simple carbs and the false hunger it causes, a person should naturally eat what they need.

      I tend to eat cereal and raw milk for breakfast before I run, bike or swim with coffee. It is my only heavy carb meal. Throughout the day I drink a lot of water, eat lots of fruit and some veggies along with almonds. Occasionally I may have a little yogurt or cottage cheese because i crave protein (I don’t eat a lot of meat). Then I eat my dinner at 8pm, it’s a huge salad with cheese, olive oil and balsmic vinegar. If I have extra fish or steak from the dinner I fed my family I toss it on there. I may have a couple beers and more almonds before bed and call it a night. I get a lot of my calories late at night. I don’t think the time of day is a big deal. They say it’s bad to eat a few hours before bed because you wont sleep as well, but I do okay and alway have. It is whatever works best. The key is not to eat heavy all day then heavy at night. I also eat out a couple times a week. I never go for more than a couple hours without eating something and during the day I am eating fruit all day. The body will move in to starvation mode if you stop eating and start storing calories. Eating often keeps your matabolism moving.

      I have a fancy Ironman scale. It tells me my percent body fat, percent body water, metabolic age (I’m 12 BTW), BMR, how much my bones weigh…to much information. But I weigh myself everyday and see how my body reacts to everything. Call it obsessive. By doing this I’m not going to gain 20 lb’s and wonder how it happened. It isn’t going to sneek up on me. I don’t count calories, but I do pay attention and adjust accordingly.

      You might look at me and wonder if I have to worry about this stuff but the fact is that I’ve always educated myself on nutrition, fitness and wellness. I seek out the knowledge and as long as I have that I have the power to and knowledge to be healthy. That is the goal, educate yourself and use that knowlege to be the best you, you can be.

      I am sorry that the whole ‘look good naked’ thing got taken so seriously. Really, the goal is to be and feel healthy. If you fuel your body with the right foods, you will look and feel awesome. Some of us will look like 12 year old boys (thanks Hal), some of us will look full and muscular, some will look like gazels. Genetically we are who we are, it’s all good, we’re all awesome.

  7. It’s true, sometimes cyclists and runners will snack on a gummi bear or drink a coke. The gummi bears are some peoples preferred way of not bonking. Myself, I tend to use gels on my long runs/bikes and then only if it’s going to be over 90 mins. A flat coke is a very quick way to recover from a bonk and get you back up and going.

    Now with that being said, the easiest way to avoid the coke/gummie bears? Eat properly before the session and make sure you have the right nutrition for eating on the run or bike. But that’s not always the case. Life happens, and sometimes you just have to make due with what’s on hand.

  8. What a great post! I agree with what you are saying, 100%. I’ve had six kids, I’m 5’8, 117lbs. Muscle, yes. A little sagging skin on the belly, yes. (I should really go in and take care of that, but I’m kind of proud of it.)

    Genetics are also a biggie. That’s why I’m so lean. All the women in my family are STICKS. I do a 4-5 mile run a day, and then I walk. I walk EVERYWHERE.

    For anyone who is suffering from a weight problem (and are eating right), I suggest (if I may) walking. Your body loooooves walking. You’ll get your miles in, tone up, and you won’t get that “Oh, my God, I need a burger!” hunger. Just my twosies.

    Water, water, water. It’s like a diet pill.

    And I’m so glad you mentioned sugar. It’s a killer. Scary stuff.

  9. Love it! I’ve read that same article about running being bad for you, and I disagree with it as well. Running is only harmful if you are over training and under feeding yourself or not eating well. I’ve recently began running again (just did my first 5km run today!) and I love it. But to me, being healthy is way more important than getting a six-pack. It will be a welcome benefit to living healthy. Kudos to you for dispelling some of they myths that are out there! 🙂

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