Yes, women should run…but along with other things.

by Jen on April 23, 2013

Hello and happy Tuesday. I am excited that you liked the side crow video tutorial. They’re fun for me to do and I’m glad they’re actually beneficial to you. I’ll keep doing these pose breakdowns. It won’t be all arm balances and inversions…I will cover some of the more mainstream poses and variations for those as well. So much fun!

I have really been enjoying the variety of topics that I’ve been blogging about lately and it’s been so nice to see all of you receptive to all different types of posts. Thank you for that. With that said, today’s post is going to be a little all over the place so here we go!

FOOD

After a long winter hiatus, I am loving salads again (which I’m sure you’ve noticed). I always try to do green + fruit + nut + cheese + protein and then whatever veggies I’m feeling. This salad is one of my favorite combos with chickpeas and hardboiled egg (protein), glazed pecans (nut), dried cranberries and mandrain oranges (fruit), feta (cheese) and then beets and artichokes for my extra veggies. Balsamic is always my go-to dressing.

I decided that I needed a little variety from chicken breasts so I bought a pork tenderloin at Trader Joe’s yesterday. I can’t even remember the last time I had it…it used to be a pretty regular dinner choice. The pork was marinaded with peppercorns and garlic. I browned it on all sides in the skillet and then finished it in the oven. On the side I served shredded balsamic brussels sprouts and mashed sweet potatoes.

Several of you asked for the brussels sprouts recipe on Instagram. I didn’t really use a recipe but here is how I prepped them. I used a bag of shredded brussels sprouts from Trader Joe’s. I’ve shredded them before on my own by just cutting off stems and removing outer leaves and then chopping the sprouts. I added the shredded brussels sprouts to the pan that I seared the pork tenderloin in so they would have a little seasoning (this isn’t required obviously). I sauteed them in a little olive oil for about 5-8 minutes before adding about 1/2 cup chicken broth and covering them to continue cooking for about 10 minutes. Once they were soft I uncovered them and stirred in some balsamic vinegar and salt to taste. They were so good. I think I ate 3/4 of the bag on my own.

FUN

I got a special treat in the mail last week. Erin from Erin McDermott Jewelry (I have blogged about her fabulousness so many times – read her story here.) offered to send me her Luxe Box. It’s a one-year subscription where she sends you a new piece of jewelry each month. She asked whether I wanted to come to her studio to select my first piece or have her surprise me…I said surprise me!

I was thrilled to open my box and see this beautiful necklace. How perfect will this be for summer outfits? She includes a little inspirational quote with each box. Mine said, “Kiss your life. Accept it. Just as it is. Today. Now. So that those moments of happiness you’re waiting for don’t pass you by.” 

Erin’s jewelry was featured in the May 2013 issue of Real Simple. She is so creative and truly has a gift. Erin custom-made my “Om Nama Shivaya” disc necklace that I am wearing in the photo above and I get asked about it all the time.  And I gave my grandmother an “I love you to the moon” disc necklace for Christmas.

Can’t wait to get my May box! If you have a mom who loves jewelry I think this would be a great gift idea.

RUNNING

Praise god. Running is finally starting to feel good again and I’m 100% certain that’s a direct correlation to getting back on my mat.

I have had quite a few people ask my opinion on a blog post that is circulating titled, “Why Women Shouldn’t Run.” I am not even about to dissect this article piece by piece but let me give you my two cents on it. I would never make a blanket statement like women shouldn’t run. There are some great points in this post but I am not a fan of totally eliminating anything from your life – ever. I am the first to tell any client – male or female – that running and cardio alone is NOT going to change the shape of your body. It pains me to see girls get on the elliptical for an hour every day and then leave the gym and go home. That is not going to change the way you look. If you really want to see results you must add in some strength training and training in different cardio zones. This is where adding in some high intensity intervals can come into play.

Think about your average crowd at a marathon or half-marathon. Some of these runners are “skinny fat.” I know that sounds a little mean but it’s true. Now, think about the body of a distance runner versus a sprinter. Different, right? Sprinters are usually much leaner and much more muscular than marathoners. This is due to the fact that they do more interval training at high intensity levels (because that’s their sport) and they do more strength work to build the explosive power and speed their sport requires.

I’m not telling anyone not to run long distances or not to run at all. I’m just planting the seed that it takes more than running and cardio to see results. A clean diet, strength training and some high intensity work will get you a lot farther than logging millions of hours on the elliptical or miles on the road.

And with that I’m off to workout. I think I’ll throw some 400 meter runs in there! ;)

{ 71 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amber April 23, 2013 at 6:45 pm

I know that strength training is so important but I really suck at fitting it in. I am training for a 50 km ultra right now so I’m running five days a week in the trails plus going to hot yoga 2-3 times per week. Plus I work full-time! I find my yoga workouts to be pretty strength focused (I do a lot of flow) but maybe it’s not enough?? Would you recommend dropping one day of running and adding strength training instead? Thanks Jen! :)

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2 Jen April 23, 2013 at 10:08 pm

i would either cut a day or yoga or running and add a day of strength training. i think it will help you so much. stronger muscles will carry you further in your ultra!

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3 Amber April 24, 2013 at 4:18 pm

That is great advice. Dropping yoga on Friday’s and adding in a lunchtime bootcamp class starting this week. Might drop a day of running down the road too as it’s really fatiguing my legs and you’re right, strength training will really help in the long run. Thanks Jen!

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4 Courtney April 23, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Totally agree about a clean diet, lifting, and HIIT…it is the winning combination for me and has helped me to lose 90 pounds. I’m doing my first 10K soon, so I am doing less lifting and HIIT and focusing more on my endurance for the next few weeks, not sure if that’s a good plan, do you have any advice?

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5 jennyv April 23, 2013 at 6:45 pm

My WOD today was 3 RFT:
400m
20 toes to bar
7 push-jerks

I LOVED it but it’s so hard for the runner in me to just end the workout there — I’ve ran a few halfs and one full marathon and it just seems so short! That said, I’ve seen many women get super-fit through crossfit and similar workout styles. Now, to retrain my mind!

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6 Jen April 23, 2013 at 10:10 pm

girl, i struggle with the same thing all the time. crossfit plays with my mind like crazy. my workout to day was…
12 pull ups
400 m run
12 handstand push ups

and i had to make myself stop at that. i love how efficient crossfit is and that you can get so much done in a short time but i still need the longer workouts sometimes!

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7 Brittany @ FreckledNettles April 23, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Finally! The sprouts recipe that I have been anticipating.

Anyway, I participating in my first race soon. I am really nervous! Your blog is really helping me prepare mentally, and I want to thank you.

Looking forward to more posts.

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8 Jen April 23, 2013 at 10:11 pm

you will rock it! just finishing your first race is a huge accomplishment. good luck!

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9 Carolyn April 23, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Thanks for addressing that blog post. I read some of it today at work, and wasn’t thrilled with the tone. I know it’s true–the underlying idea that cardio alone doesn’t get you results–but I felt like the piece was a little condescending, which may turn away people who are genuinely interested in living well and getting healthier but who may be newer to fitness.

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10 Jen April 23, 2013 at 7:37 pm

I thought it was condescending, too. So often, I have to convince a new client that the gym is a supportive place, and no one is judging them. I really worry that articles like that will just talk people out of trying anything, especially since cardio is easier/less intimidating for a newbie than navigating the weight room.

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11 Jen April 23, 2013 at 10:12 pm

carolyn and jen – i totally agree with both of you. it was condescending and these types of “this is good” and “that is bad” do not work for general populations. cardio is a good thing! and something is better than nothing…especially for newbies that are just getting comfortable in the gym.

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12 Jen April 23, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Thanks for addressing that article. I’m a trainer and avid runner, and it bothered me because he almost made it sound like running was worse than doing nothing! It is absolutely essential to emphasize resistance training, but still… any movement is better than none. Great post.

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13 Jen April 23, 2013 at 10:13 pm

thank you. i totally agree with you.

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14 Krystina April 23, 2013 at 8:23 pm

I think you also need to realize that not everyone wants to change their body composition, get ‘cut’, or lose weight; some people simply love to run. There is nothing wrong with someone using running as their primary exercise if that makes them happy. I think that in the HLB/fitness blogging world, it’s easy to get caught up in the mentality that you HAVE to shed fat and get as lean as possible, but that’s not everyone’s goal. Some just want to get out in the morning for a run to clear their head and that’s that. They shouldn’t be shamed (called “skinny fat” – hate that term) or told that they shouldn’t be doing it or should be adding other things or else it’s useless. We should be encouraging people to be comfortable moving and exercising in ways that they enjoy, not turning them off to it or telling them what they’re doing isn’t good enough.

re: that article. Like women need more misogynistic men telling us what to do.

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15 Hedi April 23, 2013 at 8:34 pm

I agree! I also think there is a big difference between a sprinter and long distance athlete, thus different built. Just like a swimmer and soccer player will have different bodies but each person is fit. When i see a crowd of half marathoners/marathoners I dont see these “skinny-fat” people. I see people who are acheiving a goal no matter what shape or size!

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16 Krystina April 23, 2013 at 9:32 pm

I agree. I’m actually pretty surprised to see a judgmental tone from Jen (it might not be her intention, but that’s how it came across for me). I would never look at a marathoner and think “wow, he/she is skinny fat”. That’s just rude. Jen has a great, tone body, but that is what she wants. Not everyone wants that and I would hate for people to get discouraged because she, or anyone else is comparing bodies and/or telling people that whatever they’re doing isn’t enough.

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17 Jen April 23, 2013 at 10:02 pm

hey guys – let me try to clear this up a bit.

1) my intention certainly was not to judge anyone. my blog, my yoga classes, my crossfit classes = NO JUDGEMENT ZONE. and i am so on board with the idea that something is better than nothing….forever and all time.

2) i TOTALLY 100% agree that running brings stress relief and a sense of achievement and i’m all over that. running is still my #1 exercise therapy when i don’t know what else to do with myself because i’m so stressed or emotional. it feels really good. i will never stop doing it.

3) overall, this is more directed towards those who DO want to lose weight/tone up and are stuck in the cardio trap. it’s not gonna make change happen and i will never change my stance on that.

4) i get that the word skinny fat has negative connotations but it’s a real thing and a medical issue. you might look lean but it means that you have not enough muscle and too much fat and this can commonly be carried more around the belly region. these body types often have a normal BMI but high body fat, cholesterol, blood sugar, etc. these are health issues that should be addressed.

5) i get that not everyone wants to be “ripped” but i am a personal trainer and health enthusiast. i will forever preach the benefits of strength training as a means to longevity and maintaining a healthy, strong body as you age. please read this article from mayo clinic that is just an intro on why women should strength train: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/strength-training/HQ01710.

I LOVE ALL OF YOU! i want to ruffle your feathers a bit. i want you to think. i want you to do what feels good but keep growing, becoming stronger and the best you can be. you have to be happy with you. that’s what counts most at the end of the day.

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18 Cathleen April 24, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Gah, normally I love your blog, but I was SO disappointed to see the term “skinny fat” used here! Your defense of using this term is that “it’s a statistical and medical thing.” Sure it is… but the scientific term is “normal weight obesity.”

‘Skinny fat,’ on the other hand, is a phrase I’ve unfortunately come to associate as being used purely by snotty body builders/crossfitters and judgmental personal trainers. I don’t thing you fit into this camp just because you used the term, but… it did make me do a double take. I don’t know why, but that phrase makes my skin absolutely CRAWL. Call it by it’s scientific name, otherwise, it just ends up having a connotation of really icky-sounding body judgment.

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19 Erin May 9, 2013 at 11:43 am

I know this is a few days late/dollars short but the “skinny fat” comment has been bothering me too–I got all worked up about it on my long run last weekend (ironically, or something). The following “I know that sounds a little mean but it’s true” makes the remark seem so catty and definitely doesn’t lend itself to the idea that you’re using a medical term. If you’re worried about legitimate health concerns of a cardo-only exercise regimen, it’s easy enough to make that point with actual medical terms.

I’d like to echo others’ comments here in saying that I normally love your blog; your yoga pose tutorials have been extremely helpful to me and next time I comment it will be on something positive! But I’m a little disappointed that after reading these comments, you couldn’t admit that the “skinny fat” qualifier is inherently judgmental and that there may have been a better way to make your point.

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20 Allie April 24, 2013 at 9:51 am

Krystina – I couldn’t agree more! I was immediately turned off after reading that comment! Whether or not there are medical implications of a person who has more or less adipose tissue around there mid-section, etc., is of no concern in this instance. Calling someone “skinny-fat” along with whatever connotations it carries is, quite simply, rude.

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21 Linda April 24, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Skinny Fat is a serious problem. Unfortunately, we’ve all gotten too sensitive and politically correct. No one calls a spade a spade anymore. We say someone is “overweight” not “fat”. Look at our obesity epidemic and skyrocketing costs to healthcare because of it.
What I love about Jen’s blog is that she passes along so much great information in regards to health and fitness. She is extremely knowledgeable and the last thing I interpreted from this post was her being insensitive or judgmental. Jen, you are spot on in regards to strength training and running. I was a runner for years. I took up strength training two years ago and everything has improved, especially my running. In addition, I’m in the best shape ever.

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22 Whitney April 23, 2013 at 8:34 pm

What does skinnyfat mean? Haven’t heard that one before and I’ve ran numerous half and full marathons.

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23 Jen April 23, 2013 at 10:16 pm

see above comment for an explanation whitney. i am not blanket statementing that to everyone, please know that. it’s a statistical and medical thing.

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24 She Rocks Fitness April 23, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Yeah to enjoying running again! I love that necklace and anything turquoise, especially during summer. It always goes well with a tan. ;) Erin is good friends with one of my college teammates. Very very small world. Love her jewelry and need to reach out to her again. Happy Running!

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25 Jen April 23, 2013 at 10:17 pm

you totally should connect with erin. she is so awesome!

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26 Tracey April 23, 2013 at 8:50 pm

I am an occasional reader and I have to say your comments about running bothered me. I agree with Krystina’s comments above. Running is more than achieving a certain body type or look- it’s unfortunate you don’t realize that. And the fact that you are running or cheering on runners at half and full marathons and assessing body types is further proof that you don’t get it.

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27 Jen April 23, 2013 at 10:20 pm

hi tracey – thanks for the comment. please see my response to krystina’s comment above for more insight on where i was coming from with this post.

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28 Sara April 23, 2013 at 9:24 pm

What are your thoughts on barre classes as a way to strengthen/lengthen/tone as another way to switch up a work out?

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29 Jen April 23, 2013 at 10:23 pm

i can’t really give you any feedback on that because i haven’t tried them. i am so ungraceful and uncoordinated and am pretty terrified to go. that said, i have heard really great things about these classes!

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30 Virginia April 23, 2013 at 9:30 pm

I don’t think Jen meant anything by skinny fat or that there is anything wrong with just running. I know tons of women who think that they are going to get lean by doing cardio only and who get frustrated with the results. I run because I enjoy it, go to spin class to build my cardio to help with my running and because it’s a good HIIT workout that doesn’t strain my legs, and workout with weights (and go to body pump!) to look fit and toned. I wish someone had told ME sooner that endless time spent on cardio wasn’t going to make me for and toned (which is what I want).

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31 Krystina April 23, 2013 at 9:38 pm

I don’t think you understand what I was trying to convey. You are doing certain workouts to achieve the body you want, but that isn’t always a goal for everyone. People don’t always exercise to lose weight or achieve a certain body. People exercise to relieve stress, to have “me” time, clear their head, because it makes them happy, etc. People run not only for those reasons, but because it is something that genuinely makes them happy. They don’t care about how toned they are, they just want to run, whether competitively or just around the bock. I think it’s wrong to ignore that aspect of exercise and focus on the superficial. Even if a distance runner is “skinny fat”, who cares? If they’re doing something they love and have no issues with their body, why should someone judge what they’re doing and say they should be doing something else?

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32 Jen April 23, 2013 at 10:24 pm

please see my response to your comment above for more background on where i was coming from with the whole post!

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33 Rachel @ For the Love of Chocolate April 23, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Jen, great points about that article. I read it too, and while I am not a runner and do not enjoy running at all, I still found it to be a bit off-putting. There seems to be this bashing in the fitness community lately against one form of exercise or another (whether it is CrossFit, running, Zumba, etc.). People should run if they enjoy it, but they should also be aware that if they’re trying to change their body composition different intensities of cardio and strength training together is the key! Ultimately, people have different goals with exercise and their body, so like you said…blanket statements shouldn’t be made.

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34 Jen April 23, 2013 at 10:25 pm

hi rachel – i agree about the debate over one thing over another. i love it all but i agree with you on the “if” they want to change their bodies. i totally get the different goals thing.

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35 erin April 23, 2013 at 10:18 pm

you are so sweet!! love!!

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36 Carly April 23, 2013 at 11:07 pm

I am not much of a runner (however, I do go through my wishful “phases” where I convince myself I can be a distance runner or a triathlon competitor), but I loved your take on the original article. I’ve always hated logging hours of cardio, so I am happy to hear it’s okay to mix it up! The original is a good read, but the title is a little harsh! Thanks for sharing your p.o.v., I really enjoyed this post! -Carly

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37 Ali April 23, 2013 at 11:10 pm

OK, my thoughts… I actually think the article is kind of brilliant. I think the title is there to kind of shock you into reading it to see just what sort of outrageous claims are going to be made. While I would never agree to cutting out running altogether, I have definitely seen both friends and colleagues complain about the amount of running that they’re doing without achieving any significantly noticeable results in terms of their appearance. This article gets at the heart of that and at the heart of the issue for those women who WANT TO change their body type and have met with little success. It’s the tough love, militant-style of saying it like it is. I think if we aren’t on the defensive right away that we can actually uncover a lot of valid and meaningful advice here. Sure, if losing a bit of extra softness isn’t your goal, well fine… this article may rub you the wrong way. However I am willing to bet that the majority of women out there would prefer to have firm, toned legs and stomach areas as opposed to that extra little sealant of flab or softness, regardless of natural body type/predispositions.

Great post Jen!

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38 Courtney April 23, 2013 at 11:19 pm

Totally agree about a clean diet, lifting, and HIIT…it is the winning combination for me and has helped me to lose 90 pounds. I’m doing my first 10K soon, so I am doing less lifting and HIIT and focusing more on my endurance for the next few weeks, not sure if that’s a good plan, do you have any advice?

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39 Ashlee April 24, 2013 at 12:32 am

bodypump has changed my body and made me a better runner. I agree 100% with your comments.

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40 Julia April 24, 2013 at 2:02 am

I want to respond to the original article as PhD scientist and as someone in recovery from eating disorders.

The science perspective: This article basically cites 10 papers, from moderately reputable journals, that say that extreme levels of exercise can change hormone levels. Hormones do not necessarily have the same effects in everyone, and it’s unclear whether the effects reported apply to non-extreme exercisers (i.e., almost everyone). There are many epidemiological studies demonstrating that runners have lower BMI than non-runners, and those studies are not addressed. In other words, Dr. Kiefer does not substantiate his claims with data. This is probably why he writes for “Dangerously Hardcore,” which is not exactly my go-to for accurate information. C’mon.

The eating disorder perspective: Even if this article were scientifically sound, the tone is smug and doesn’t read as if it’s intended to help anyone. This kind of silent judgement and obsession with weight and appearance is exactly why I can not and will not join a gym.

Jen, none of this is directed at you, except to the extent that you give this scientifically sub-par article more credence by linking to it. I’d be interested to know about how your gym deals with eating disordered members.

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41 Jess April 24, 2013 at 3:56 am

I know you’ve replied to some of the critical comments above, but I had to add that distance runners ARE lean. Very lean. Professional/elite distance runners are often in the single digits when it comes to BF% – yes, they have less muscle mass than sprinters but that’s because they are proportionately lighter. Excess mass of any kind (including muscle) is of no benefit to a distance runner. That does not mean they are ‘skinny fat,’ it means that they have the appropriate amount of lean muscle required to excel in their sport. I am tired of seeing that comparison used as an argument for strength training and HIIT. Elites strength train as well as run – I agree that just running is not great for body composition, but distance runners that incorporate strength training will not end up ‘skinny fat.’

Also, it surprises me to hear this perspective from you because you run (and not just HIITs), and you have mentioned several times wanting to run another marathon. Were you skinny fat when marathon training? Um, no – you were as lean as you always are, so in effect your appearance contradicts the nature of the argument against distance running as a means of enhancing one’s physique, so long as it is accompanied by strength training.

I do really enjoy your blog usually, but even though that article has *some* truth to it, I would never engage with it as a reliable source of information.

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42 sally April 24, 2013 at 10:12 am

I could be wrong about this but I really don’t think Jen or the original article for that matter are talking about elite/professional runners… They are talking about girls like me, who picked up running as their only form of exercise and despite training for a couple half’s a year do not have healthy bodies. I have no problem identifying as a (former) skinny-fat person because that’s just the truth. I am sure I looked healthy, was shedding calories, and was in better condition than if I was not running – but if any stats were taken on my body during that time I am sure they would not have come out well. Ever since I started incorporating Body Pump and strength training my body has felt and preformed better.

I understand why people getting upset and saying “I run for me, not skinny”, but what I took from this is if you are interested in creating a healthy body, you can’t just expect the elliptical or treadmill to do that for you.

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43 Jess April 25, 2013 at 1:08 pm

I agree that the general point of the post was correct – you do need strength training to enhance both your running and your physique. I started doing Body Pump around the same time I began running, so I’ve never experienced the ‘cardio trap’ issue in terms of running (even when I did cardio at the gym I also did some haphazard strength training…that said I eat too much so I still have excess bodyfat, but that’s another story!) However, I still suggest that the execution and phraseology of this post was, sadly, poor. This part stands out in particular and it’s the one I take most issue with:

Now, think about the body of a distance runner versus a sprinter. Different, right? Sprinters are usually much leaner and much more muscular than marathoners. This is due to the fact that they do more interval training at high intensity levels (because that’s their sport) and they do more strength work to build the explosive power and speed their sport requires.

No. Sorry, just no. There was no mention of the calibre of the runners in question, but a blanket statement that ‘sprinters are much leaner than marathoners’ is not true. As I said above, muscle mass proportionate to weight is often the same between the two, only marathoners have less net weight, both muscle and fat. Also, I’m sorry but there are some bulky sprinters around too – in the end it all comes down to what you eat IMO. I have friends who run marathons and JUST run. They have excellent bodies and are not skinnyfat (why oh why do we have to shame people this way when they’ve made the damn effort to run a marathon?) because they watch their diet like hawks. They live on lean protein and base starches around their runs. Not everyone fits the mould, and that’s why the article Jen referenced really, really irritates me (among other reasons…)

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44 Claire April 24, 2013 at 7:46 am

Loved Allllll of this post! I hate that some people comment just to argue about what you’re saying and be negative. If ya don’t like it, don’t read, and be on your way!

keep being real, Jen, you rock my socks.

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45 zoey April 24, 2013 at 9:28 am

Jen, enjoyed reading your perspective….and the actual blog post itself.
fyi, rebuttal to your referenced article,
http://www.runnersworld.com/health/how-does-endurance-training-affect-your-thyroid-and-vice-versa
I enjoy reading a lot of different perspectives, it’s merely a reminder that one has to find their own individual answers for their own body. I think it’s interesting that there was no talk about pace. How fast one runs on a regular basis and to what extent they use interval training etc. I think he was just talking about slow runners. Joggers?….. It’s been my experience that serious runners who vary their running workouts, don’t suffer from any of the issues sited. I run about 35-38miles a week based on my Garmin and it works out to be only 6.5 hours. Who can run for 20 hrs?!

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46 Angie April 24, 2013 at 9:38 am

I ordered two necklaces from Erin last week (thanks to you and your blog). I love your disc necklace and ordered one, plus another! I cannot wait to get them. She shipped them yesterday. Thank you for introducing me to her beautiful jewelry!

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47 Brittany (healthy slice if life) April 24, 2013 at 9:59 am

Whew, I was just going to comment how much I liked hearing your perspective and how much I’ve enjoyed doing workouts you’ve posted lately. I also wanted to ask for more crossfit style workouts that I could do since I don’t have the ability to try real crossfit (no childcare- boo).

As a former health coach, I had to explain the medical definition of skinny fat many times and most people found it really interesting that it was even possible. I’m sorry it bothered people, but I totally understand where you were coming from. Great post!

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48 Erica { EricaDHouse.com } April 24, 2013 at 10:40 am

I am SO glad you addressed that article as I’ve had many people ask me about it. I give a similar response. I used to be the skinny fat girl – I ate total crap diet food and did nothing but the elliptical 5-6 days a week and have virtually zero muscle tone anywhere aside from my lower body. I love running because it is therapy for me and makes me really, really happy to be outside, but I know for the body type *I* want I have to supplement it with 2-3 strength training sessions a week and barre/yoga work.

I’m sure you didn’t expect the response you received to this. I <3 you.

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49 jsg April 24, 2013 at 10:55 am

I so appreciate you and your balance.

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50 Elizabeth April 24, 2013 at 11:44 am

Love, love, love your attitude/response to that article! I shared essentially the exact same sentiments with a friend last week after we read the article.
For what it’s worth- I did not get an ounce of judgement from your post- you just spoke the truth.
I lift, HIIT and Crossfit for my body; I run for my heart/soul. :)

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51 Ja @Ja on the RUN April 24, 2013 at 11:59 am

I’ve read that article. I find it very misleading. It’s totally skewed. Good information presented incorrectly. I went to Med school and I learned that Thyroid hormone goes up (not down) during exercise . You can’t become hypothyroid from running. The girl in the article must be hypothyroid already before hand that’s why no matter how she exercises/runs, she will still gain weight. There are px drugs that she could take to balance her hormones. Definitely, it’s not the running that caused her hypothyroidisn. The writer presented it incorrectly!

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52 mel April 24, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Jen, love this post! I can speak as someone who is comfortable using the term “skinny fat” because I have long been a runner but have only just discovered the benefits of strength training! Finally I have some muscle on my small frame and it feels great! I don’t take offense to it at all…sometimes people are just too sensitive or get caught up with what’s “politically correct” on HLBs…I’ve always admired your attitude and look forward to each and every post.
Sometimes we need a little controversy to (as you put it) ruffle our feathers!

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53 Anne April 24, 2013 at 1:34 pm

We are all looking for the perfect balance/ratio for our life/body/mind/health. I found mine after minimum 5-6 years of trying things. Now it’s about 50%power yoga, 25% running and 25%strength. Each person, with personal experience and knowledge will find their perfect balance that make them happy and healthy! (And thanks Jen, thanks to you, the 25% strength is inspired by you !)

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54 Anne April 24, 2013 at 1:35 pm

We are all looking for the perfect balance/ratio for our life/body/mind/health. I found mine after minimum 5-6 years of trying things. Now it’s about 50%power yoga, 25% running and 25%strength. Each person, with personal experience and knowledge will find their perfect balance that make them happy and healthy! (And thanks Jen, the 25% strength is partly inspired by you !)

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55 Erika April 24, 2013 at 3:22 pm

I saw way more tone and definition in my body once I upped my strength training and decreased all the cardio – I still do cardio but not nearly as often as I use to. I also notice that I actually sweat more and breath harder sometimes when I’m doing weights than I do with running so to me that seems like I’m getting a better, more focused workout.

Curious – what’s your take on power walking vs. jogging/running?

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56 Laura April 24, 2013 at 4:20 pm

Great post! I’m an avid runner (and triathlete) but also have degrees in Exercise Science and Nutrition (and am currently in a dietetic internship working on becoming a Registered Dietitian) and couldn’t agree more. I also worked as a personal trainer in the past and LOVE strength training. I love the way my body looks and feels when I’m able to do more strength work…but since I also absolutely love running (and swimming and biking), I find it hard to work it in as much as I’d like. I always cringe when I hear people trying to lose weight to do more cardio (or, worse, CUT OUT strength training). Bottom line: to each his/her own for fun and stress relief, but for toning and fat loss, strength training HAS to be part of the picture.

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57 Megan April 24, 2013 at 6:04 pm

I’m one of those people that it pains you to see, because I spend an hour doing cardio at the gym (hiding in the dark theater room) and then go home to lift weights, do push-ups, sit-ups, etc. because I fear being judged by everyone else there. Based on the article you cite, and your own observations, I guess I know now that my fear isn’t unreasonable.

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58 Sara April 24, 2013 at 8:12 pm

I am a runner who also does spinning and other cardio cross training like hiking and tennis. I have to say I’m most definitely not “skinny fat”. I have excellent cardiovascular health, and while I am not super ripped looking, I have well defined muscles including visible abs. I do think most runners include interval training in their routines as well as some weight training, it is just not our main focus. I tend to think of “skinny fat” as skinny people who don’t eat healthy foods and don’t work out

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59 Brandy April 24, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Hi Jen,
I understand your running comment completely. I am a runner that struggles with strength training. I know it works, but don’t love it. So my question is, how do u feel about low weight high rep strength training…or even body weight resistance training. Will it help shape muscles just as well as heavy weights? The reason I’m asking is b/c I pretty short (4’11”). I can get stalking quickly, and constantly have to maintain cardio to keep weight at bay. Developing longer, lean muscles is challenging for me…especially in my lower body. This is one reason weight training scares me. Your advice would be appreciated! Thanks!

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60 Katherine April 24, 2013 at 10:46 pm

What a beautiful necklace!

http://therealfoodrunner.blogspot.com

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61 Lauren April 24, 2013 at 11:48 pm

Been a reader for a while and was really surprised to see all the negative comments. I didn’t really think anything of what you wrote. You were responding to the article covering the topics that it addresses. I also didn’t know people had such strong feelings about the term “skinny fat.” I think the real issue is that this article talks about the minority rather than the majority. I just don’t think most people are running for hours so they can look good. People who run for hours usually do it for the high, the feel good sensation, to burn off stress and because ultimately they love it. I think the article has some really good data. And yes any time your body believes it is stressed (physical, mental, emotional) it can hold onto extra fat be it via increased cortisol levels or if you are over exercising and under fueling by down regulating your thyroid. However, I mostly think it points out how misunderstood the author is of the people he is observing in the gym, on the road, where ever. I think most of these people aren’t doing lots of cardio to look good as I said earlier.

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62 Colleen April 25, 2013 at 7:51 am

Balance!! I preach this to all my clients. I feel so sad/sorry for the high school and college aged girls wasting precious time on the elliptical. I love that necklace!

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63 Emily @ Maple Miles April 25, 2013 at 8:44 am

I am a new reader and haven’t commented until now, but wanted to let you know how inspiring your blog is to me! I absolutely loved this post and it is perfect for where I am right now. I have been focusing SO much on running and haven’t made time for cross training/strength training. I am going to make a huge effort to get these things back in my life!

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64 Joy April 25, 2013 at 10:22 am

Hi Jen. I loved this post!

I’ve been a runner since high school (I’m now 39) and have always wanted that toned, fit look (you’re a huge inspiration to me for sure). It wasn’t until you wrote a post about how much Body Pump changed your body that I began strength training. Since then, my body has started to transform and I’m on my way to getting the body I’ve always wanted. So I thank you for all the information you share with us. I still run all the time (I love to run and it really helps clear my mind), but adding in strength training and HIIT has made me faster and stronger. And I LOVE feeling stronger.

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65 kristina April 25, 2013 at 12:57 pm

how long did you bake the pork tenderloin in the oven for and at what temperature?

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66 Jess April 25, 2013 at 1:10 pm

It’s not being negative or arguing – it’s called intelligent, adult discussion. Where would the world be if we all just air-kissed each other, never questioned anything and did nothing but give each other virtual high-fives? Everyone is entitled to express a difference of opinion so long as it’s not in a rude and/or aggressive manner.

Please don’t tell me we’re all fat, jealous haterz too?

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67 Nicole M. April 25, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Just wanted to say thank you for this post… :D

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68 Andrea April 25, 2013 at 3:35 pm

I loved loved loved this post. It is exactly what I am needing to hear. I thought that hour long elliptical sessions and running was a workout. That is all I really did for a very long time. I slowly started to get invovled with weights, but only 1 or 2 a week. Then I decided to run a marathon.. so slowly started to not to weights at all, but only cardio. My body was not where I wanted it and I felt like it should be so much better since I was doing so much cardio… lies! Now, I am trying to find a good balance. I have also found a love of yoga! These days I run only 1 a week for about an hour and the other days I will do crossfit/stregnth style workout in the morning so about 30 minutes and then some incline walking afterwards to cool down and in the afternoon I will take a hot yoga class. I also take one complete exercise-free day. I have only been doing this for about 2-3 weeks, but I hope it helps. I lost my period (been gone for awhile) and my doctor says it is from too much exerise, sooooo crossfit/weights/HIIT/yoga is my new focus.. not running anymore. You think this will work?

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69 Julia April 26, 2013 at 8:48 am

I was not going to comment on this, but have thought about it since…so here goes. I enjoy your blog for the most part and you have remained one the seemingly more genuine HLBs. With that said, I was incredibly offended by your statement that runners are “skinny fat.” I think that comment is rude any way you look at it, but your interpretation is just not accurate. I am a runner. I should strength train more, and I know that. However, many things keep me from it. Regardless, I am not “skinny fat” because I only run. I am in great shape and look it. Running has always satisfied me and made me feel better about myself. Yet, since reading your post it has also made me feel inadequate and that is just not right. Perhaps you thought you were being helpful, but you weren’t. I shouldn’t feel bad about myself for running and wondering if the personal trainers at the races I run and at the gym are judging me. We live in world where the obesity rate continues to climb. Yet rather than encouraging people to take of themselves in any way possible, you are knocking them down. Not cool.

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70 Josefine April 26, 2013 at 4:31 pm

I concur, Jen – you need a good mix of weights and cardio to transform your body. But a lot of people that run do it just for the sake of running – they actually like it and don’t really care if it’s the most effective way to a toned body….

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71 Lisa April 29, 2013 at 12:02 pm

I firmly believe had I REALLY focused on strength training from the beginning of my running “career” I would have prevented a lot of the injuries I’ve had! I know my body is imbalanced and weight training helps that!

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