5 Reasons Running May Not Help You Lose Weight

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“My body just can’t lose weight.” That’s the first thing I heard when I picked up the phone. Sounding frustrated and hopeless on the other end of the line, my client Sarah continued. “If you knew how hard I’ve been working, you’d understand. You’d know I wasn’t making excuses.”

Sarah first contacted me after a friend of hers had successfully lost weight through my online coaching program, just six months after having a baby. I asked her to keep an open mind and walk me through everything she’d been doing in terms of diet and exercise. The problem was immediately clear: Sarah was putting in effort, but thetype of effort—specifically her over-reliance on running for weight loss—wasn’t the best way to lose fat and get the results she wanted.

Once Sarah understood why her approach to cardio was holding her back, we adjusted her plan and the pounds starting coming off again (seven pounds in one month, to be exact.) So to make sure your cardio training isn’t the reason your jeans don’t fit better (despite spending plenty of time in the gym), here are five common mistakes, plus simple solutions to get back on track. (Here, more on running for weight loss, and other cardio myths that could be holding you back.

Running for Weight Loss Mistake No. 1: Your Workout Is Always the Same

Your body is an amazing machine. It’s designed for efficiency, meaning if you do the same thing over and over again, the process becomes easier. This applies to your running workouts too. Not only will they start to feel more effortless (even if you’re still sweating and pumping your legs), but your metabolism literally learns and reacts so that fewer calories are burned with the same exercise output.

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