Exercise & Training,  PFIT TIPS,  Running,  Weight Loss

Runners Beware: 4 Things You Need to Know

When I think of runners I think of fit people. I picture thin peeps jogging it out every day, lookin’ and feeling good – but that is not always the case. Many runners may be doing their body (and physique) more harm than good.  Although I am a runner and love the benefits of it, there can be some negative side effects if that’s all you do.

#1 You Can Get Skinny Fat. We’ve all seen it. A person is slim, but not fit. They jiggle in the middle, their butt sags, their thighs flab, but they wear a size 4. If you aren’t preserving muscle with resistance training and getting enough protein (I take 100-125gms a day) you could lose valuable muscle that gives you the fit and firm shape you want. 

#2 Your Metabolism Can Slow Down. Our metabolism is primarily based on our muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest (Basal Metabolic Rate). For instance, most of our female clients burn between 1200-1300 calories at rest (Mine is BMR is 1500). I’m not muscle-bound by all means, but I do have more lean mass so I do burn more calories than I did without muscle. I am a runner, but I also do hit the weights HARD – and as you can see (that’s me on the right), my legs don’t look like a bodybuilder. Note: Resistance training is any exercise that uses resistance (weight) like weights, bands, kettlebells and power yoga or bootcamp (using your own body weight).

#3 You May Have More Cellulite. Name that butt. This celebrity is the beautiful Sharon Stone! However, she’s a victim of cellulite too.  The truth is, you may not have MORE fat, but you could likely SEE more fat. Why? Because without the plump, tone muscle behind the fat, the pockets of fat have no support and are more noticeable. Young runners may still enjoy the benefit of looking fit because they still have natural muscle tone, but  as you age you lose muscle, unless you are purposely maintaining it. It’s also common in people who lose a lot of weight, because they often lose muscle with the fat. The best way to get rid of fat is with diet and cardio, but the best way to fight visible cellulite is by shaping up the legs with weights. A combination of the two is ideal.

#4 You Could Break Your Body. Running is affordable, so some people replace the gym with running – thinking they will get the same results. Not so. It’s understandable why people would think they could keep in shape by running alone. Like I said, I LOVE running and value it, but too much of anything can be a bad thing. When we lift weights we tear down certain body parts at a time. We work on legs one day or upper body the next, giving our body a chance to rest in between. However, runners may run every day, continually beating the body up with little rest. This is why some of our fit BCxers, who turned into runners, are getting injured. Most of them mainly run now because now they CAN run, when it used to not even be an option before BCx Boot Camp. However, their body can’t take the constant beating and eventually it starts screaming at them.

So runners, you can STILL run, but just be careful and work to maintain a healthy balance. You’ll not only FEEL better, you’ll look better too!

Running improves your cardiovascular system, strengthening your heart and lunges
It lowers your blood pressure.
It’s convenient and affordable
It burns calories to aid in weight loss
Your body secretes mood enhancing hormones to fight depression
Running relieves stress
It also boosts confidence when you set, and reach, goals
Running helps smokers improve lung health and air capacity
It gives you a way to support various causes (Susan G. Komen, etc)
Runners may live longer because their heart beats up to 36,000 times less a year than an inactive person

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Owner of Lift Vero and motivational "pfitness, pfood and pfaith" blogger in Vero Beach, Florida.


  • Clara

    “Runners may live longer because their heart beats up to 36,000 times less a year than an inactive person”
    How is this true? Wouldn’t runners hearts beat more?

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  • Ayo

    In reading your comment:

    “We have a very accurate machine that tracks body fat mass and muscle mass, and have watched the numbers decline when people only did running, and watched the numbers drastically improve when they added in resistance. I’m not saying that running is bad, I’m just encouraging people to add resistance training too.”

    I think you have to take into account the main culprit which is diet. Running can be addicting to most and when people fall into the “trap” (as you call it), they may start logging a lot more miles then usual. More miles you run, more calories you burn and more calroies you need to replenish. If you are running 50 miles a week (training for a marathon for example), you need to nourish your body with the correct balance of diet and nutrition. The numbers on a machine may accuratly asses body fat mass but I do not think it is because they only did running. I’m sure majority of those people let their diet slip because they are starving to feed their body from the massive calories they burn.

    I do a good mix of both but I know one of the main reasons that keeps me running is so I can eat and enjoy the things I could never simply enjoy with only working out (well I could but I would look like a house). I know that’s not the right thing to do, but I know when I focus more on the weights, I tend to focus more on diet which I tend to let go of the more when I run. I just wanted to bring that up since I’m sure I’m not the only runner that “will run for food”. LOL

    Basically I don’t think anyone who is “only running” will turn into some of thos examples above, it depends what your fueling your body with, if your using proper form, tightening your core while running, etc. Yes, stregth training helps any runner but it depends how serious of a runner you are, the phase your in, etc… as your body is more prone to injury when you are in your best shape with running. In reality, we can go discuss how stretching helps and also how it is a leader in injuries, same for stregth training, same for running. There are many pieces to the puzzle but I feel like the article left out some key items. 🙁

    • Bonnie Pfiester

      I agree with you on much if what you said.However, if you train only using one modality, your body will become very efficient to overcome the modality. If that modality is just to run, your body will sacrifice lean mass for fat. Another words, your body doesn’t need lean mass to run 26 miles but does need a lot of energy (fat) – so the biological addaptation for this would be for your body to drop lean mass, which weighs more and yields less energy, in lue of fat, which weighs less and gives you twice as much energy per graham). You are right, diet does help a LOT, but many rely on training alone to deliver results. This is just a touch on this subject – looks like I’ll have to write a LOT more! 🙂 THANKS FOR WRITING!!! Keep up the great work!!

  • Mike Ransfield

    Feeling good and looking good is what everyone’s after…. Well aren’t they!? 🙂 a combination of resistance training and cardiovascular exercise, (running) with a nutrition plan high in protien, high in fiber will take you there!! 🙂 My Pt clients are prime examples! Call me if you need a hand am only too happy to help ph 0410 594 982

  • Matt White

    My wife and I try to do a mix of cardio and weights. I have noticed that I can maintain my weight with a healthy diet alone, but I need the excercise to keep my body in good shape. Thanks for the post!

  • Phil


    I do understand what you are saying, but feel that you have been more negative on running than needed. Of all the pictures you showed, I don’t know any running friends that look like that. I am an ultrarunner and ironman. I just completed a 100 mile run last weekend. I do workout with friends from time to time doing CrossFit work outs and due to my cardio, I usually end up being one of the first to finish the workout. The reason I do the CrossFit from time to time is that I have been injured more from those workouts than any time of running injuries.

    Have or would you consider doing an article on proper running technique to prevent your readers from injury while running? I do believe what you saying about being fit and agree with that, but running by itself has changed my life!

    Thank you

    • Bonnie Pfiester

      Oh Phil, I’m sorry. I tried to wrap the message up in a nice positive package, as I’m a runner too and LOVE running – as well as the benefits of running. However, since we are in the industry, we’ve seen people fall into a trap of doing nothing but run – and have watched how it affects the body.

      We have a very accurate machine that tracks body fat mass and muscle mass, and have watched the numbers decline when people only did running, and watched the numbers drastically improve when they added in resistance. I’m not saying that running is bad, I’m just encouraging people to add resistance training too. 🙂

      Of course I’m not saying EVERYONE will eventually look horrible if all they do is run – their aesthetics depends on genetics and all kinds of stuff, but runners do need to be careful not too lose muscle mass to prevent some of the negative side affects.

      Thanks so much for your input!! I appreciate your feedback 🙂

  • danirae2b

    Great article Bonnie.I love the part about skinny fat,I talk to so many people who just run or walk and believe that’s all they should be doing.I am a true believer in strength training.

  • Diana

    I want to say when a person is born, most are not gifted with muscle I am a mother of 5, out of my 5 children only 1 had any muscle which was my youngest who is now 1 ( he received the nick name wiggle worm because it was very noticeable that he loved to move around in the womb as my stomach appeared to go left to right ) I think that as a person grow’s into adult hood, without realizing it, they are constantly moving (even when asleep) slowly and steadily gaining muscle , I am not trying to retract from what you are saying as I think it is wonderful to suggest weight training especially for women to prevent bone decay and strengthen, but muscle is not a gift at birth you gain it over time, then lose it with a short period of inactivity ( more appropriately lack of activity you did as a child and teen as many adult’s do not crawl or lift themselves up from the floor repeatedly, or move around at a fast pace etc) , I myself started interacting with my children at play time the way they interact with they’re surroundings getting down on all four’s at eye level and crawling around within a week my buttocks toned up, my legs and arms lost that flabby look,and my children love that I am at there level ( maybe because they love gaining up on me lol or because I look funny who know’s ) The whole point i am saying is you do not need weight’s to gain muscle however to protect against osteoporosis it is a necessary , nor do you have muscle at birth unless you were very active in the womb. just my thoughts

    • Bonnie Pfiester

      Yes, you don’t need weighs to gain muscle, and how much muscle you have definitely has to do with genetics and activity, but maintaining and/or gaining muscle rarely happens without purposeful exercise. Many studies have shown that people lose muscle mass as they age (that’s just factual info) but the deterioration normally is noticeable after 40/50 years of age – and it gets worse from there.

      I’m not saying people are born muscle bound by all means – I’m just saying when muscle is neglected over time, you lose it – especially as you age. Hope that helps! Thanks so much for reading and posting!! Keep staying active and have fun with yur kids!!!! Sounds like you are a fun mom!!! 🙂

  • Christine

    Loved your blog and it is absolutely true. I strength train 3x week and it has been my passion for the past two years. I began to run this past May as well and finished my first half marathon in October. I will soon begin training for another half this May. I noticed the combination of ST with running and of course a very healthy diet is like dynamite! I feel great, and have been told I look like I’m in my 30s (I will be 50 next week). My doctor is amazed at how healthy I am, and I have the bone density of someone in their 20’s (this is also quite amazing since I had a hysterectomy in 2003 and am on absolutely no medications). So to your point, if I can do this, anyone can do this. The benefits are immeasurable. Thank you for posting your blog! I can’t wait to read more of them.

  • Sim

    I have recently started running with my dog – mainly on grass. I have a 5 kg ketterbell too that I use – 5 sets of 2 minute exercises after my run a few times a week (when its not raining). I have given up meat (eat fish though) – my question is do you think my above mentioned exercise routine plus a possible protein shake will help reduce cellulite? I want to up my protein intake but am afraid of gaining weight. I am naturally muscular (I am a 27 year old woman). Should I increase my ketterbell weight too?
    Thanks for this enlightening article!!

    • Bonnie Pfiester

      It’s not so much WHAT. The weight is, but what you DO with the weight. I’d have to know your routine and know how many gms of protein you were getting to give you a good answer but sounds like you are on the right track!!!

  • Toni @ runninglovingliving

    I am trying to find balance between running and lifting weights!! I love both but when I am training for a 1/2 marathon my time is limited so I usually forsake all other exercise for running which I know is not good 🙁 Thanks for the great post.

    • Bonnie Pfiester

      Even a little weights here and there is helpful, but it’s totoally ok to have periods of time you can’t squeeze it or are sporadic. The key is that you don’t neglect your muscles. Sounds like you are on the right path :)))

  • andy1076

    Wait wait, i run daily and alternate days i do weights on top of it. About a 25 min run at 7% incline at a rate of 5.0 so you are saying i burn a ton of calories in sleep? what should i be doing then if i want just the right balance? 🙂 thank you kindly in advance 🙂

  • leslie0985

    When I started losing weight it came off fast and even faster when I added running. I hit my plateau, increased my miles and still NOTHING. Guess what worked to bust the plateau? Strength training, intervals, weights,…not running more and more and more. Great article and totally true!!

  • TriGirl

    I am a huge believer in cross training. AND, as a cellulite “sufferer” since puberty, I noticed a huge decrease since I started running…which was amazing since I thought I couldn’t do anything about it!

  • Paddy Forge

    Great post! A lot of my clients are women and are shocked when I tell them they need to be lifting weights! The key is a healthy balance of cardio and resistance training to help build the perfect body!

  • Danny McLarty

    Nice job, Bonnie. I’ve had a number of “controversial” youtube videos and blogposts on my website. My thoughts on running (excessive running more so) makes a lot of runners get upset or “turned off” by me. But I believe this is the stuff that runners need to hear and AT LEAST consider.


    • Bonnie Pfiester

      Yes, I expected a little bashing today but only got one meanie! 🙂 it’s not something people want to hear, but they need to hear it. Sounds like u and me r preaching the same message! Love it!! 🙂 thanks for your encouragement!

  • gene @boutdrz

    hahaha….sorry, but….after seeing the picture for #2, my metabolism SPIKED….ahahhaah…..yes, these things apply to me, as i mostly run. but mixing it up with DoBCx every now and then helps. I CAN feel the differences that it has made. And i really like the compressed time, too. and of course, the fact that i can do the workouts just about ANYWHERE is a major bonus…
    keep up the great work!

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