Benefits of Running

Running as Fat Burning Cardio

1.  Using Interval Training

There is more than one way to lose body fat, and I mean fat, not weight; diets, gym, walking, running… But today, we’ll focus on one type of training, particularly the interval training applied on running. There’re two ways to do cardio with running: HIIT (or high-intensity interval training), regular aerobic (start running and don’t stop) and also, my favorite the regular interval training.  I like the regular interval training because of the ability to hold the same and higher intensity for a long time than other two with less effort.

There are a few reasons why you should do intervals instead of a steady running (or any non-cardio for fat burning). I can’t describe all of them, but let’s just mention some of the benefits:

  • Intervals increase the release of fat from the fat cells;
  • depletion of muscle glycogen,
  • improves VO2 Max (the oxygen used to burn fat);
  • increases LT (Lactate Threshold),
  • improves your Cardio Vascular system,
  • increases HGH release,
  • for conditioning!

2. Biochemistry of Interval Training

You may have heard that fat is where the slow energy comes from and glycogen is where the fast energy comes from. That is also applicable to Interval Training here. First, you’ll need to get into the glycogen depleted state, where the fat burning is possible. Most strategies that aim to burn fat usually get into the depletion mode, but don’t push towards the fat burning stage. That’s the problem here, you’ll need to be out of fast energy to burn the slow energy more efficiently. You get that with interval training:

  • you run to burn the fast energy,
  • then walk to burn the slow energy.. and repeat!

3. Eating for Fat Burning

Running as a fat burning cardio needs to be backed up by good eating habits! Getting into the glycogen depleted state and staying there to burn fat can be harder if you don’t eat the right way. The rules are simple. You don’t get crazy with carbs while wanting to get into carb depleted state. Also, try running before you eat or when you wake up because you’ll be in that naturally depleted state. I use intermittent fasting and this is how I do it:

  • Monday: I go on a run in the morning, then after that, I eat for only 8 hours;
  • Tuesday: run, then eat for 6 hours;
  • Wednesday: run, then eat for a few hours, or just skip eating for that day;
  • Thursday: run, eat for 6 hours;
  • Friday: run, eat for 8 hours;
  • Saturdays and Sundays are off – eat when and whatever you want and rest my legs.

This way you get the goal you want but you don’t risk getting hormones messed up. But this is my way and you should create your own!

p.s. this program of eating this way is just a guideline, I don’t do this every single day, every week. But I try my best.

4. My Personal Program for Running

1 Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Running (min) 17.5 15.0 12.5 10.0 7.5
Walking (min) 2.5 5.0 7.5 10.0 12.5
Start Running (min) 5 5 5 5 5
Intervals Walking (min) 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5
Running (min) 2.5 2.0 1.5 1.0 0.5
x 5 5 5 5 5
Total (min) 20 20 20 20 20
AVG speed (km/h) 9.13 8.25 7.38 6.50 5.63

Now let me explain. On Monday I run the most and it goes like this: I start with a warm-up of 5 minutes of running to get into that extra glycogen depleted state. Then, I do intervals where I walk for 30 seconds and run for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Because it’s the first week, I’ll do this for five times in total, and on the second I’ll add one more cycle and each next week add another cycle. That gives me 17,5 minutes of total running and 2.5 minutes of walking. During the week on intervals, I take 30 seconds from running and add up to walking, like on Tuesday the interval is one minute walk followed by 2 minutes of running and so on… On Thursday and Friday, I basically walk more than run, that’s because it’s time to burn fat, not deplete glycogen. If I continue to do so, I’ll maybe even get in the muscle breakdown state, which is not good.

This is my strategy when I use running as a fat burning cardio and activity so it may not be so applicable to you, but I challenge you to customize it however you want, keeping in mind the glycogen depletion, the slow energy burning days, interval cycles and eating for fat burning.

If you’re a beginner, then you should probably start with only Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And with time you can add Tuesday or Thursday. When you need that final shred, go all 5 days! 

Also, using interval training for conditioning can really help you achieve that fitness conditioning goal you always wanted and of course, more energy in everyday life!

5. Tracking the Progress You’ve Made

When I say that you should track your progress I don’t mean to measure your waistline or your weight. That’s all great, but I don’t want you to focus that much on a small and maybe random changes and get discouraged. Although, if you know how to do a statistical study of those changes and really understand the results, you can do that. But, I want to focus more on tracking how much you’ve done for the purpose of achieving your goal(s). You should track how many times you’ve run so far and also how many books you’ve read. The reason for this is simple: when you see how much energy you’ve invested in this, you’ll get more motivated to continue with the process. I speak this from my own experience because when I see that I’ve run for more than 15 times, I think another 5 will be easy. Also, if I’ve read more than 3 books or pdfs, then another one will be even easier.

The more invested you get the end results will be greater! Think as an investor, not as a speculator!

6. The TimeFrame

Probably the most crucial thing for losing weight is the timeframe. There is a difference between trying to lose 5kg of pure fat in just two weeks and trying to lose the same amount in ten weeks. In the first case, you’re most likely to fail or injure yourself and in the second you’re most likely to succeed. It’s cool to create a goal like: I’m going to get fit for the summer…, but creating those types of goals can be a double-edged sword because of the possibility of failing and getting disappointed that leads to quitting. Another thing to watch for is avoiding getting mentally and emotionally exhausted.  That also leads towards failure.

If you ask me the best timeframe is the one and five years. You want to lower the range of your body fat percentage every year, but get the perfect body after five years. The reason for this is simply put: YOU WANT TO “GET USED TO” BEING FIT! If you have on average 30% of body fat in winter and 25% in summer, then you “don’t know” how to be a 15%-er. And as they say, easy come easy go! You want it to come and stay there for life.  Of course, there is an opposite side that tells you that if your goal is to lose fat in a year, it’s ok to relax NOW! You should avoid this type of actions/thoughts and try to get closer to your goals every single day. In the end, you’ll be rewarded when you’re worth the reward. So if it takes you to have that lean body in five years, you should be willing to wait for those five years!

7. Trust the Process

Some people run once a year and some say they run more than that. The point here is that there is a process behind getting into a habit of running regularly. I said that the timeframe should be around five years, but you start with one year first. Shortly, I’ll describe the example:

  1. year – you get all hyped up with “I’ll get ripped in a few months, only if I run a few times per week”, and then you ran only up to five times.. and quit;
  2. year – oooh this year will be the one! I’ll run like crazy….(gasps..) maybe next year.
  3. year – now you decide to educate yourself and you create a program that will get you somewhere. You start to see changes but also, your legs start to hurt.. you lack flexibility.
  4. year – you start implementing the knowledge you’ve got, you get more flexible, stronger stabilizing muscles and a better habit of running (two to four times per week). This a great year for you, but you’re not there yet. See you next year.
  5. year – finally, after a few weeks or months, you’re there! Achievement unlocked!

The point here is not to quit and simply: trust the process!

8. Warm UP and GO!

I don’t know where are right now in your process, but I can tell that by reading this article, you’re closer to your runner’s body! That’s great and you should continue to educate yourself and invest your time and energy so that you don’t get stuck like other “losers”.

Just another final though; everyone thinks they should warm up! and that’s true, but what they mean by that is to stretch your muscles. Now that’s wrong! If you do static stretches, there’s a good chance that you don’t know what you’re doing. You need to work on your flexibility not static stretching. I usually do warming up routine and then go for a run.

That’s it, now you can ask questions down below if something isn’t clear enough for you. Also, like and share!


  • Using running as fat burning cardio is possible, and even more effective than any other activity!
  • Interval training is good for general conditioning, maintaining the pace and intensity while doing harder activities like running.
  • Nothing comes overnight so trust the process!
  • Don’t believe in random stories and beliefs from so-called “fitness experts” that never come out of the gym.

Bonus: a professional program for running!

Besides this “Running as fat burning cardio,” program, I encourage you to explore some other programs.

Fat Burning Cardio >>>

High Carb Fat Loss >>>

Those 3 will help you get into the mind of a runner, get you more invested in running (first you’ll be spending money to buy, time to read and finally the effort in experimenting) and more skilled in fat burning.


More articles on Fitness: