Jogging, or Yogging… it might be a soft “j”

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_______Remixed re-blog from a while ago________

I recently watched a documentary by Nova about 12 couch potatoes who trained 9 months to run a marathon. Surprisingly, the flick was fair, reiterating what us physical cultural folks have spewed for a bit now.

No, jogging is not a good fat loss tool, says the film. The only person of the 12 to drop a considerable amount of weight also worked hard on her eating habits and did a comprehensive weight training program. She also stalled after the first 4 months and didn’t drop another pound. I believe it was Alwyn Cosgrove who said fat people run marathons all the time.

No, running (at least modern traditional heel-toe style) is not really good for the joints. One person had to drop out for pain reasons, and several others suffered pretty hard during the training.

These 12 folks were all coached by high ranking marathon competitors, by the way. They weren’t just huffing it on their own. They all finished (except for the pain drop out), even if many of their times were considerably beyond the 6 hour point, and no matter how miserable they seemed crossing that finish line, it was, truly, still inspiring.

For my little brain, this brought up 2 questions…

1) Now what? What do they do next?


2) Why are marathons, which don’t pack the greatest fitness punch, so popular as a bench mark?

If ya dig yogging, by all means, yog like crazy! Get into your embodiment zone phase and enjoy the freedom of movement. You’re big boys and girls and don’t need my approval or permission. Do your thang and love every minute. BUT as a magic fitness bullet, as the fat goo destroyer, as the go-to for beginners to kick start their movement journey, there might be some more doors to open, another option or 2 (or 1,000,000,000,000) that might be worth at least sniffing a little.

So, Nova, try this for your next experimental documentary:

Take 12 couch potatoes and take a year to train them to clean and jerk their bodyweight (maybe a bigger ratio for men). I bet body composition would change more dramatically (and for the better) then the marathon runners, and they’d have to learn more movement skills along the way. And that’s just one possibility.

Just a thought…

crossing on log

daria 3


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Showing 10 comments
  • Brian Lee

    I agree with the line about fat people doing marathons all the time. I’m an overweight fellow, and have been for years. I have a horrible diet, and that may indeed be why I am on the larger side of things. Still, I have to attest to fact that I am very very active. I don’t find it quite as challenging, as the average person might think after seeing how large I am, to do things like jogging, zumba, or spinning (these three are my favourite go-to’s for cardio). Do I still breathe harder because of my size? Yes. Am I ever in pain because of my size? No. My body is a lot tougher than others realize.
    So, I’m not the poster child for fitness, but I am active. I do jog. I’ve done it for the last 10 years. I love it. That moment, the “runner’s high”, is what I live for. Unfortunately, jogging and running alone will not provide people with enough output to scale down the weight. It’s got to be a holistic approach for that to happen. I should know. I’ve been at it all these years and I’m still weighing it at a steady 275lbs.
    Still, I love jogging and I wouldn’t trade that sensation for the world!

    • Chip

      One thing you’ll never find in a post of mine is a judgment call on weight or bodyfat percentage. Activity, and enjoyment of movement trumps any bodyweight ideals or perceptions and only someone blind to the beauty of strength and/or consumed with a shallow ideal of what is amazing wouldn’t understand that.

      And by all means, jog if ya love it. Move in all ways you enjoy. I applaud those who find what they dig, as long as it truly is what they dig.

  • Daniel

    Fun article but a couple things to point out: 1) yogging actually is not dangerous to the joints…research has demonstrated a number of times that distance running, done correctly, does not result in arthritic changes; 2) yogging or any form of distance running has a high injury rate, mainly do to poor training technique – the “tooitis” syndrome of too much too soon too fast too hilly, etc. without giving the body time to adapt; and 3) heel strike running is no more harmful than flat foot or fore foot running – there is no research to support either type of landing as a safer alternative…all landing techniques have their inherent injury risk. As you have mentioned though, to lose weight requires multipe components: cardio (running perhaps), diet (and discipline) and of course strength training. Thanks…love your videos.

    • Chip

      We’re in conflicting research mode then, since research has ALSO show that there are more injuries from jogging than almost any other sport, and that the injuries rate increased considerably as the shoes got softer.

      • Warren

        Hmmmm… It doesn’t seem like you’re in conflicting research mode to me. Daniel said…

        “1) yogging actually is not dangerous to the joints…research has demonstrated a number of times that distance running, done correctly, does not result in arthritic changes;”

        and you said…

        “research has ALSO show that there are more injuries from jogging than almost any other sport, and that the injuries rate increased considerably as the shoes got softer.”

        Those two points don’t conflict. What Daniel says is true. “Yogging” is not inherently bad for the joints. And what you say is true also – “Yogging” can cause injuries. The mistake you are making is simply a matter of statistics. Those “Yogging” injury rates that you are referencing include soft tissue injuries as well.

        What I have noticed is that most people start “Yogging” without any training. They simply go buy a pair of shoes that are too soft and take off. Perhaps the “Yogging” injury rate would go down if more people were trained to “Yog” with the same emphasis on foundational knowledge that people learn at Bodytribe?

        (p.s. I am not a Bodytribe member. Just came across this discussion on the interweb and found it interesting.)

  • Deb

    I cannot yog or run and will probably never do so again. I’m OK with that.

    Rachel Cosgrove wrote her definitive take a couple years ago in

    I’m OK with those who LOVE to run and do so out of that love. But to use running to kick start a weight loss program? Is more often than not ending in joint replacement surgery down the line.

  • John

    Thanks for the only insightful blog on fitness I have come across. Though running a marathon will not work miracles on your body and I question whether it is a healthy endeavor; running with proper form should be part of a balanced fitness regime. People seem to over emphasize cardio or weights or yoga. The key is balance and where you find that magic spot is up to you because everybody is built differently and has different goals. There is no magic program or pill. You have to do the work. However if someone has a goal to run a marathon or compete in power lifting, there will be more emphasis on cardio training for the marathon runner and more emphasis on barbell work for the power lifter. But, both should not ignore the opposite. That is to say, the marathoner should spend some time under a barbell and vise a versa for the power lifter if there is an interest in longevity in their sport and for their life.
    This is a interesting study on longevity by the New York Times,

    • Chip

      Yes, holistic wellness integrates all forms of movement, but since all movement goals (VO2, metcon, max strength, body composition) are all symptoms of force development (which is the definition of strength… the ability to generate force) then all goals are strength goals. We call it the spectrum of strength, which is the spectrum of the ability to generate force in different levels for different amounts of time. “Cardio” is part of this scale as well, in other words cardio is a form of strength. But cardio is also an overused term… cardio simply means the heart and lungs are involved. Find me an activity where they’re not. Cardio in not synonymous with aerobic, and just about everything we do will need the participation of the heart and lungs, even max effort lifting (as the gasping after a max squat will show ya).

      So in terms of force development, we should, indeed as you’re saying, participate in many variations for longevity and completeness. We cycle through many levels of force development here at Bodytribe for that very reason. There are many, MANY varieties, and jogging is only one. It’s a like or dislike scenario there. Yes a little might help, a lot is only good if ya dig it.

  • al fontova

    Gawd damn, I love to run though, pull up the shoes (pretty cushiony), open the door, feel the heat/cold, rain/sunshine, and go! It’s so free, simple, and basic. To see the tree’s fly by as go, to feel the earth move under your feet. Just heaven.

  • Kevin Morgan aka FitOldDog

    Hi, great post! Don’t do marathons for health and weight loss, do them because you enjoy the sport. That goes for any sport, in fact. You’re right, jogging (whatever that is, slow running?) alone won’t get you in shape, and it is a great way to induce injuries. A good place to begin for weight loss is to remove much of the carbs from your diet, bit by bit (all changes slowly, using the 10% rule for Jin and Jout). Then find an active sport that you really enjoy DOING (not watching), and by the way, the weight room is a great one – I love it during winter strength training. The next trick is to explore your body for problems, which is what I blog about all the time, and set yourself some steady goals. For instance, walking can be a great place to start. Then it all comes down to life style, with exercise and informed (and enjoyable) nutrition being all you’ll really need unless you have some serious genetic challenge, which most of us do not. The weight room, with due instruction on use of machines and free weights (which I much prefer), is not a bad place to go because the mirrors provide great feedback. Nice blog. Thanks. -k (FitOldDog)

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