Should You Quit Running to Chase Your Goal Body?

By Christie Nix, FitNix

We all need exercise and any form of exercise is great for health, weight management, and mental release. There is no wrong way to stay healthy; whatever form of exercise you can commit to, do consistently and enjoy is GREAT!

For me, running started out that way. It kept me healthy, and I enjoyed it. After I had two babies and had 55 pounds to lose, I was excited to hit the road running and “get my body back”.

Running was great at torching calories. I thought that the longer I could go, the more output I gave, the closer I would be to reaching my goal weight (an ideal number I had in my head and an ideal look tied to that number).

I did successfully lose my 55 pounds, fit into my old size 4’s, and could keep up with my husbands pace most of the time. I guess you could say running helped me reach A GOAL…. but not all of them.

After a beach vacation I saw a photo, and despite my ideal scale weight being reached, the image just wasn’t what I had in mind. I didn’t have that “toned” look I assumed would come from that magic number. I certainly didn’t look FIT!

That was my A-HA moment; running was a means to an end… an approach to weight loss but it was not making me FIT.  I decided it was time to tighten my body and stop killing myself to lose weight (not necessarily from the act of running but the mindset I had developed).

I set out to change my mindset and body. 

That was easier said than done. In my head I thought that if I didn’t burn XYZ amount of calories a day I was going to gain weight, and running was great at calorie burn. I also began to realize I hardly ate, and when I did indulge I felt that needed to run EVEN MORE to offset my additional calories.  With this thought process, I was afraid to give it up. My body was nutritionally STARVED, my mindset with food was not supporting building a fit body.  Lack of calories and certainly not nutritious choices, I had no fuel for change.   

Had it not been for the goal to compete in a Figure Competition I could still be struggling with this mindset today.  Seeing my photo from the beach, and photos of my favorite fitness athletes, I committed to NO RUNNING and started to strength train to sculpt my body.  With such a lofty goal, my nutrition had to support that.  Out with the 100 calories packs and in with the protein shakes. :-)

In a few short months, I started to see the image I had in my mind: tight, toned, and strong (healthy). For a short time I missed my runners high, but strength training and the sport of bodybuilding kept the athlete in me alive and well.  I experienced a body composition change and felt like I finally discovered the “secret” to that fit body I’d been literally RUNNING after before.

Fast forward 6 years and I have a hard time believing I was ever a runner.  I can’t believe I was really that confused for so long about the process of body composition change and how to get fit.

If your goal is a tight and toned look, stop running and start lifting. Seriously. I’m not going to go into all the science that supports this. I know you and your struggle….the mindset is what has to be changed. Lifting weights, even super heavy weights, will build muscle, create shape, and improve your problem areas!! You may call it toned. Before long you’ll call it Body Building… building the body and look you want!!

Here’s what you have to look forward to:

1. Exercising (training) to create, not to take away

2. Eating to fuel goals, not neglect nutrition hoping to be in a calorie deficit. Enjoying food for pleasure and health.

3. It may take some time, but you’ll conquer the scale… feeling like a certain number will make you happy

4. Finding an everyday fit, giving up a minimum mile requirement or even a weekly workout requirement.

5. STRONG…not frail

6. Being methodical about training, purposeful to create what you want, not force it away.

7. Not punishing yourself when you have a few days of indulgence

8. Did I mention STRONG???

I’ve been EMPOWERED in so many ways by giving up something I thought I needed or had to do to stay thin. I want that for you if you’re stuck and feeling frustrated with your body composition. You may not need to be any smaller, just stronger!!