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Want To Lose Weight? Running vs Strength training

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

Do you believe that running is the most effective way for you to lose weight?

Lady in red leggings ruinnnig down the stairs.
Do you think you need to run to lose weight?

Do you ever feel like a strength workout just isn’t “enough” of a calorie burn?

Many women I speak to come to me with these beliefs.

Most of my clients have spent years yo-yo dieting. Using various fad diets and running regimes, every year, on a mission to “slim” into last year's holiday clothes.

Many of the women I work with have admitted to going out on “guilt runs” to allow them the freedom to enjoy the foods they love.

The majority of women I speak with don't really enjoy running, they just do it as the quickest and easiest way to achieve weight loss.

I personally have put my body and mind through hell and back trying to maintain high-impact, high-intensity workouts in a bid to "lose weight and tone up"!

A lady searching the internet on her computer.

It seems a common theme for many of us to wake up one day, look in the mirror and think “holy sh*t, I need to do something about the way I look”...

...Cue the Google search for “the quickest way to lose weight” or “how to lose weight fast”.

Due to an abundance of articles pointing to running as the biggest calorie burner, it's no surprise that anything short of a 30-minute jog feels like a waste of energy.

The truth is, whilst running is great, if you thoroughly enjoy it, strength training is just as, if not more effective at burning the calories and improving your overall health and wellbeing.

Here I explain the benefits of both methods of exercise alongside some considerations for each.

3 Benefits of running:

  1. Excellent for building cardiovascular fitness, improving heart health, lung capacity, and overall fitness levels.

  2. Offers a high rate of calorie burn, aiding in “weight loss”.

  3. Helps to build lower body strength, improving the strength of joints and ligaments.

Additional notes:

  1. As fitness levels improve, the body becomes more efficient, and the rate of fat burn reduces. This means that to avoid a plateau, running harder, faster, or longer is essential for greater weight loss.

  2. Due to the high-calorie burn, overall “weight loss” from running is likely to include the loss of both fat and muscle which can leave you feeling shapeless.

  3. In the mindset of someone with a weight loss goal, running may be the preferred option of exercise due to its “higher calorie-burning effect” but may not be the most enjoyable option.

3 Benefits of Strength training:

  1. Strengthens the heart and blood vessels.

  2. The more muscle mass you develop, the faster your metabolism will work. Calories are burned both during and after training. This is the key to maintaining lower levels of body fat over time.

  3. Improves posture, balance, joint stability, and full-body strength meaning everyday movements become easier such as lifting, pushing, pulling, bending, etc.

Additional notes:

  1. Women fear strength training will make them appear "bulky". This is a very misconstrued belief. It would actually take a lot of testosterone for you to ever appear this muscular.

  2. Whilst weight training programs appear to take place in the gym, you can actually achieve amazing results from home using just your body weight and minimal equipment.

  3. Due to the low impact and low-intensity nature of strength training workouts, minimal stress is placed on the body and mind, meaning you can achieve greater results with less effort.

In summary

Running requires greater effort over time for continued results, whereas strength workouts require less time and effort and can be adapted in various ways to create progression.

Whilst running may burn more calories in one sitting if you're looking for longer-term results and a "toned" physique then strength training is the solution.

All exercise is good exercise, by combining a mix of both strength and cardiovascular activities, you can build a healthy heart whilst maintaining a healthy weight.

Just remember, with both cardio and strength training, repetitive movements, incorrect form and inadequate rest can cause injury.

Trying to do too much too soon, can negatively impact stress levels, mindset, and motivation.

My advice is to start small, get comfortable doing the basics and build up your confidence and form as your progress.

I am Natalie, The Wellness Mentor.

Fitness coach sitting at a table and smiling.
Hi, I am Natalie.

My mission is to help women feel healthy and balanced, by reducing overwhelm, stress, and the restriction of "diet culture".

I will help you improve your body composition in a healthy and sustainable way so you can feel great all year round, not just for summer. If you are ready to take control of your fitness and health, try out my low impact Online Workouts for FREE here!

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