Why Women Should Not Run

Here’s another article re-edit/rerelease. This one was originally published on EliteFTS.com, and we’re presenting this updated and polished-up version today in case you missed it the first time around.

I’m not sympathetic.

When I look at the fat guy in the gym wasting his time doing forearm curls to lose weight, I feel no sympathy. When a big tough meathead gets stapled to the bench by 365 pounds—after trying and failing with 315—I don’t feel any sympathetic pangs there, either. Even when I see a girl spend a half hour bouncing back and forth between the yes-no machines—the adductor and abductor units—only to have trouble walking the next day, I can’t muster even an iota of pathos.

Nobody told these people to do these things.

Then, however, I watch my friend Jessica running on the treadmill—day after day, year after year—like a madwoman, and going nowhere. Her body seems to get softer with every mile, and the softer she gets, the more she runs. For her, I feel sympathy, because the world has convinced her that running is the way to stay “slim and toned.”

There’s a Jessica in every gym. Spotting them is easy. They’re the women who run for an hour or more every day on the treadmill, setting new distance and/or time goals every week and month. Maybe they’re just interested in their treadmill workouts, maybe they’re training for their fifth fund-raising marathon, or maybe they’re even competing against runners in Finland via some Nike device. Doesn’t matter to me, because years of seeing my friend on the treadmill has exposed the results, which I’m not going to sugarcoat:

She’s still fat. Actually, she’s gotten fatter.

I’ve tried to rescue her from the clutches of cardio in the past, but my efforts didn’t work until a month ago, when she called to tell me that a blood test had confirmed her doctor’s suspicion: She had hypothyroidism, meaning her body no longer made enough thyroid hormone.

Her metabolism had slowed to a snail’s pace, and the fat was accumulating. This was her body rebelling. When Jessica asked for my advice, I told her to do two things: To schedule a second test for two weeks later, and to stop all the goddamned running until then.

Run Like Hell

I’m not here to pick on women or make fun of them. There are men out there who do the same thing, thinking cardio will wipe away the effects of their regular weekend beer binges. It’s more of a problem with women, though, and I’m targeting them for three very good reasons:

1.  They’re often intensely recruited for fund-raisers like Team-In-Training, lured by the promises of slim, trim bodies and good health resulting from the months of cardio training leading to marathons—in addition to doing something for charity.

2.  Some physique coaches prescribe 20-plus hours per week of pre-contest cardio for women, which essentially amounts to a part-time job.

3.  Steady-state activities like this devastate the female metabolism. This happens with men, too, but in different ways.

treadmill women

I hate a lot of things about the fitness industry, but over-prescribed cardio would have to be at the very top of my list. I’m not talking about walking here, nor am I referring to appropriate HIIT cardio. This is about running, cycling, stair-climbing, or elliptical cardio done for hours at or above 65 percent of your max heart rate. The anaerobic threshold factors into this, obviously, but I’m painting gym cardio in very broad strokes here so everyone will understand what I’m railing against.

Science Wants You to Stop Running

Trashing steady-state cardio isn’t exactly a novel idea, and the better physique gurus figured at least a portion of this out years ago, when they started applying the no-steady-state-cardio rule to contest preparation. They failed, however, to point out the most detrimental effect of this type of training—one that applies specifically to women:

Studies—both clinical and observational—make a compelling case that too much cardio can impair the production of the thyroid hormone T3, its effectiveness and metabolism[1-11], particularly when accompanied by caloric restriction, an all too common practice. This is why many first or second-time figure and bikini competitors explode in weight when they return to their normal diets, and it’s why the Jessicas of the world can run for hours every week with negative results.

T3 is the body’s preeminent regulator of metabolism, by the way it throttles the efficiency of cells[12-19]. It also acts in various ways to increase heat production[20-21]. As I pointed out in previous articles, this is one reason why using static equations to perform calories-in, calories-out weight loss calculations doesn’t work.

When T3 levels are normal, the body burns enough energy to stay warm, and muscles function at moderate efficiency. When there’s too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism), the body goes into a state where weight gain is almost impossible. Too little T3 (hypothyroidism), and the body accumulates body fat with ease, almost regardless of physical activity level. Women inadvertently put themselves into a hypothyroid condition when they perform so much steady-state cardio.

In the quest to lose body fat, T3 levels can offer both success and miserable failure because of the way it influences other fat-regulating hormones[22-31]. Women additionally get all the other negative effects of this, which I’ll cover below. Don’t be surprised here. This is a simple, sensible adaptation of a body that’s equipped to bear the full brunt of reproduction.

We Were Not Designed For This

Think about it this way: Your body is a responsive, adaptive machine that has evolved for survival. If you’re running on a regular basis, your body senses this excessive energy expenditure, and adjusts to compensate. Remember, no matter which way we hope the body works, its endgame is always survival. If you waste energy running, your body will react by slowing your metabolism to conserve energy. Decreasing energy output is biologically savvy for your body. Your body wants to survive longer while you do what it views as a stressful, useless activity. Decreasing T3 production increases efficiency and adjusts your metabolism to preserve energy immediately.


Nothing exemplifies this increasing efficiency better than the way the body starts burning fuel. Training consistently at 65 percent or more of your max heart rate adapts your body to save as much body fat as possible. After regular training, fat cells stop releasing fat the way they once did during moderate-intensity activities[32-33]. Energy from body fat stores also decreases by 30 percent[34-35]. To this end, your body sets into motion a series of reactions that make it difficult for muscle to burn fat at all[36-41]. Instead of burning body fat, your body takes extraordinary measures to retain it.

Still believe cardio is the fast track to fat loss?

That’s not all. You can still lose muscle mass. Too much steady-state cardio actually triggers the loss of muscle[42-45]. This seems to be a twofold mechanism, with heightened and sustained cortisol levels triggering muscle loss[46-56], which upregulates myostatin, a potent destroyer of muscle tissue[57]. Say goodbye to bone density, too, because it declines with that decreasing muscle mass and strength[58-64].

And long term health? Out the window, as well. Your percentage of muscle mass is an independent indicator of health[65]. You’ll lose muscle, lose bone, and lose health. Awesome, right?

When sewn together, these phenomena coordinate a symphony of fat gain for most female competitors after figure contests. After a month—or three—of 20-plus hours of cardio per week, fat burning hits astonishing lows, and fat cells await an onslaught of calories to store[66-72]. The worst thing imaginable in this state would be to eat whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted. The combination of elevated insulin and cortisol would make you fat, and it would also create new fat cells so you could become even fatter[73-80].

Seriously, Cut the Shit

I won’t name names, but I’ve seen amazing displays of gluttony from some small, trim women. Entire pizzas disappear, leaving only the flotsam of toppings that fell during the feeding frenzy. Appetizers, meals, cocktails and desserts—4000 calories worth—vanish at the Cheesecake Factory. There are no leftovers, and there are no crumbs. Some women catch this in time and stop the devastation, but others quickly swell, realizing that this supposed off-season look has become their every-season look.

And guess what they do to fix it? Double sessions of cardio.

female deadlifting barbell with weightsThis “cardio craze” is a form of insanity, and it’s on my hit list. I’m determined to kill it. There are better ways to lose fat, and there are better ways to look good. Your bikini body is not at the end of a marathon, and you won’t find it on a treadmill. In fact, it’s quite the opposite if you’re using steady-state cardio to get there. The show may be over, and the finish line crossed, but the damage to your metabolism has just begun.

Don’t want to stop running? Fine. Then stop complaining about how the fat won’t come off your hips, thighs, and ass. You’re keeping it there.

And as for Jessica, my friend whose dilemma sparked this article? She took my suggestion and cut out the cardio. Two weeks later, her T3 count was normal. Go figure. 


AUTHOR’S NOTE: Below in the comments people are very upset that I didn’t spell out what to do in place of steady-state cardio. That is because this entire website and 80% of my writings focus on how to best lose body fat through training and nutrition. I have provided massive amounts of free and helpful content on this website to help everyone and anyone and it’s impractical that I rewrite the cumulative advice on the site and place it at the end of each new article. Please spend a little time surfing around. I will, however, include a new post on the topic soon. You can also check out my YouTube Channel where I also provide quick tips, one of which is on the right type of cardio. 


 References (click to expand)


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  • Jason Detwiler

    Thanks for the updated version. This has been my go-to article for women who ask me about training and how much they should be running.

  • Rakesh Patel

    One of the hardest concepts to convey to patients I see on a daily basis

  • http://www.facebook.com/helena.kraut.1 Helena Kraut

    I hate running but I have no choice. I am going to be in the police academy and they will make me run several (up to 8 or 9) miles a day in one hit. I was booted out of one academy in another state because (and only because) i could not keep up with the 20-somethings — I am twice their age (and female) but nevermind that – I had them in all the other classes by the ruff… I hated running as a kid and still do. I make up for it in strength and academics, not to mention on the gun range. Now i have to go thru this again – piece by piece, I force myself to make it up to several miles. It hurts, it wears, and other than fulfilling the “Cooper Standards” it doesn’t do a damn thing for me. WTF.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jdelong Joshua DeLong

      This article is geared towards people who are under the mentality that they need to run to lose weight. There is a difference between sport specific training and running to change body composition. What you are doing is training to meet a specific sport requirement so the only way to learn to run faster and longer is to run.

      • http://www.facebook.com/helena.kraut.1 Helena Kraut

        True – but when i attended that academy I noticed within the first 8 weeks all of the males starting to lose their muscle, because the PT instructors were not adequately trained to do the right thing and made up the daily regimen as they saw fit…no weights, or very little weights, and they crammed HIIT into it after week 5 as they went along…tons of injuries,, and everyone dreaded the running as it was mixed in at random with the other stuff….bad combo together with the food they served…. and I guess I was a casualty, collateral damage of bad PT planning…believe me, even if this running was goal oriented , none of the recruits will ever pick up running as a hobby after graduation, it sucked so bad….

  • http://www.facebook.com/evan.peterson113 Evan Peterson

    Great article!

  • PaleoVo

    So if we are training to run several “mud-runs”…we should use HIIT or sprints? I hate running, but they put the obstacles so far apart I have to run from one to the next!

    • khr

      that really depends on your goal. are you looking to finish or to place?
      if its to place/be competative youre going to need generally double the aerobic base of what youre competing in to do very very well. so a 10mile race, you should be able to run 20miles at lower than race intensity.

      if its for fun/be supportive to others, if its a 10mile race, getting up to a 10mile base is probably a good idea. i ran a half marathon with a friend, a very hard one, mostly hills. i hit 10miles maybe twice leading up to the race, the rest was just hill repeats at 70-80%, extra squatting. lost a few pounds but none off my squat.
      the thing with HIIT is, improving your cardio level is no the same at improving your running ability, the act of running well is still a skill. so consider that.

  • N8

    sure I like the message of this article. First, the running you address is typically the (long slow distance) LSD type, which isn’t the same as the type
    of running promoted by those doing CrossFit Endurance. Second, CF metcons are mostly
    cardio workouts with weights–when you look at the energy systems used during constant efforts that go beyond 2 minutes. So the argument
    that over-prescribed cardio isn’t beneficial isn’t really accurate. The
    difference between CF WODs and LSD running is INTENSITY. The reason
    people that run LSD all the time aren’t getting leaner/better is b/c
    they don’t introduce intensity into their workouts. This article should
    address that aspect instead of pointing a finger at running as the
    culprit. Both men and women SHOULD run. Not LSD, but with INTENSITY!

    • StrongFirstKB

      His article is not about running. Running is just a fine example, because lets face it, we have all seen the husky girl decked out in Nike apparel who runs 20 miles a week but still struggles with weight. Her intensity may be high, and is running a “long distance” (long distance is very subjective and depends on the person).. He is referring to Steady State Cardio… where trainers are prescribing 2 a day 1 hour sessions on the stepmill, putting a student/athlete at 65% or higher of their HR. If you try to train 100%, and max out every workout you will fail. He mentions as well the effects it will have hormonally in terms of stress as well. Causing your body to go fight or flight.. increasing cortisol, decreasing T3, and the release of myostatin. Your “WODs” (which have their own list of ridiculous issues) are more HIIT style, which he does not say are incorrect and not what he is referring to.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Geoffrey-Longo/1554642747 Geoffrey Longo

        If you are doing cardio for 30 mins, then your intensity is NOT high. Sprinting is high intensity, steady state, is very low.

    • Jen

      while men and women should both run, they both need to change it up constantly. you can’t run at 65% of your max heart rate constantly throughout every cardio work out you do. you should be changing up the intensity and always remember that when you are working above 80% of your max heart rate which is 220-your age, you should clear with your physician that your are healthy for that.

      as a side note, he is not talking about the people who do LSD because im pretty sure he is talking about the women who get on the treadmill or the elliptical and they ramp up the intensity and speed and then just keep it there and are always working at a steady state of 65-70% of their target heart rate. So in the end their bodies know what to expect and adapt to that energy expenditure

    • ian

      I would argue that CrossFit WODs differ from “LSD” not only in intensity but in being intermittently applied; essentially making it another form of high intensity intermittent training–albeit more unique, perhaps. This is also an important distinction, I think, considering how much research has already proven that HIIT cardio-based exercise is always less damaging than “LSD.”

    • http://twitter.com/EclecticKitchen Michelle Norris

      Is it just me or doesn’t everyone understand the difference between jogging, running & sprinting? It’s clear to me that jogging & running are not good things and relate to “steady-state” cardio and that sprinting is something we are adapted to and should do in terms and in part of High Intensity Interval Sprints along with Resistance Training. I don’t know but this just makes sense to me and when Kiefer speaks of running, this is what I envision he means.

  • Geena

    If cardio is out, what is the best type of workout to lose weight?

    • Matt


    • Autumn

      He said steady state cardio is out, there are other ways of doing cardio other than steady state… he mentions HIIT for example. But steady state cardio alone IS OUT!

      • http://www.facebook.com/jrsmith001 Jr Smith

        tabata…simple as that. And there are many, many variations of tabata that can really kick the metabolism into high gear along with the strength training…just load up on quality branch chain amino acids!

        • http://www.facebook.com/dyksman Ryan Dyksman

          Tabata isn’t a good idea if you don’t have a sufficiently built aerobic base. You’ll end up not burning hardly any fat. Essentially doing the exact same thing too much steady-state cardio will do.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joe.wuebben Joe Wuebben

            But at least you’ll only be wasting four minutes of your time with Tabata!

      • nash4343

        What is HIIT?

        • http://www.facebook.com/Makeeda Esli Ortiz

          hight intensity interval training

        • @BoredNerdy

          What Esli said, if you need more detail, Google is your friend. =)

    • Jason Detwiler

      You’ll get a better answer if you ask “how do I lose body fat.”

      • jas

        So what is a good way to lose body fat?

        • Guest

          L-I-F-T…EAT.. & add in H-I-I-T when/if needed.

    • http://twitter.com/Drjjgregor J. J. Gregor

      Cardio below 65%, then HIIT would be where I would start but that is me…

    • Ian

      I agree 100% with Jason. Fat is what you want to lose, not unspecified “weight,” per se… correct?

      In any event… don’t work out to lose fat. Work out to strengthen your musculature or to perform better for some purpose. To lose fat, focus on your diet. It all boils down to how and when you’re eating certain types of food.

      • Alex S.

        Agreed. In my health classes there are plenty of charts that exemplify that between working out alone, or diet alone, diet alone can be 2-5 times more beneficial than working out. Combining the two is only a fraction better than an altered diet alone regimen.

      • Mark

        That’s funny you say this, because regardless of what I eat, I stay the same weight. But, when I do ab workouts combined with cardio, I lose weight.

        • IamDefiler

          Doing more than 20 min. of cardio will actually do more harm by reducing mucscle. You might be losing weight there which is what you don’t want. You should be more worried about losing fat.

          Think of it this way. If you weighed the same weight as you do now BUT you looked friggin awesome in the mirror and felt great, would what you weigh really matter? Stay off the scale (at least on a daily basis), start lifting and change your diet to match your goals.

      • renee015

        Nicely stated!

    • http://www.facebook.com/fairbarn Sara Fairbarn

      weight lifting helps. Squats for example are better than running because after your workout is complete, your body is still burning calories to repair the muscles and all other goodness that comes from working out, where as when you run the calories are being burnt as you’re running, not as much when you’re finished your cardio exercise. I’m not a professional by anymeans, I have just read a lot about the subject after running for 6 months in college, I was slimming but I was still mushy. I put the bulk back on but now since I’ve been home I have been doing weight workouts and cardio only once a week (for the past 2 months) and I have slimmed down my legs, i have have abs abd im down 8 healthy lb’s (Ive also watched what I have been eating but still let myself have “cheat meals” once or twice a week). I also follow a lot of fitness models on instagram who bost workouts and diet tips and fill you with information!

      • http://www.facebook.com/dana.a.wilkerson Dana Allen Wilkerson

        Just curious, who do you follow on Instagram? :)

    • Jean

      Sprints! Its harsh but its much better and effective. Studies have shown that its also is the most effect to help with insulin level if you do it only for 30s on and 10 off 3 times.

      • http://www.facebook.com/genevieve.m.casey Genevieve McBrayer Casey

        Can you explain please what you mean by 30s on and 10 off 3 times? I don’t know the lingo and would love to have more effective workouts.

        My history: I lost a 36 lbs (from size 16 to size 8) 2 years ago by running and diet (paleo) Unfortunately, I couldn’t sustain the paleo thing and eventually had some health issues (allergies, 3 week long cold, intermittent back and knee problems) prevent running for a while. Gradually over the last year about 25 lbs have crept back. (back to 12/14) I really enjoy running when I can breathe and am not in pain -I like to see my body respond to training by improved time/ distance.
        Currently trying to mix running (usually interval run walk run walk) and weights with portion control and limiting carbs- (not paleo I can’t keep that up) but weight is not coming off. I had thiroid problems even in my 20′s before i gained the weight. Am 43 and have been menopausal since 38. My blood work (other than thyroid) always come back fine. (no PCOS, no insulin resistance issues)

        • Jacob Lewis

          I’m guessing it’s 30 seconds of full speed, 10 seconds of rest. Repeat 3 times. This is the HIIT training, High-Intensity Interval Training. There are many different forms of it with both weights and bodyweight/running. I’d suggest more research for yourself to figure out what you think is your best option. They can be quite the fun workouts and be very effective.

          • Random

            I believe its 30seconds and 10 MIN off…… sounds like wind sprints to me but then again…. I’m not the original poster

    • http://twitter.com/sabineweijers CrossFit CatCave

      Lift heavy stuff. Jump, pull, push, sprint, climb! (yes, i”m a woman)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=641083204 Lily Torres

      I was going to say the same thing. HIIT, lifting, and of course proper nutrition,(which for some of us is a battle. I struggle with nutrition, because I know absolutely nothing about nutrition, so I need to work on that portion) But, also add lots of compound movements and bodyweight exercises to your fitness routine. Short bursts of cardio is ok and have better results. I hope DH Kiefer will be able to reply, I’d like to read his response. :)
      By the way, Jump rope is probably better than running if also done in bursts.

      • http://USImmigrationTest.org/ NewUSCitizen

        Girl scout cookies and heavy lifting.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jawilk2 Jason Wilkins

      A very insightful article though it would be appreciated if you could mask your contempt. Remember that the people you are speaking about are human being and like Geena said, you forgot the most important thing.

      Pssshh…Come back when you have sympathy for your fellow man and fellow woman. Clearly, you are just interested in telling them what they are doing wrong rather than actually helping them

      • Sarah

        I agree with this – I run because I love to run. I know nothing about weight loss because I dont care as long as I feel fit and healthy. I probably would have read this article in more detail if contempt hadnt been dripping from every paragraph, instead I just thought – “I dont need to be insulted this morning” and am skipping on

        • Tricia Rodriguez


      • Natalie

        would have to agree completely. I’ve always been a small girl with a high metabolism and running for me isn’t about the weight loss or staying toned and trim. It’s more of a therapeutic release. I understand the health issues that could seemingly arise from running, but there are a lot of psychological/mental benefits that running poses. I don’t doubt what you’ve posted, but would it hurt to address possible benefits because there are some whether you want to believe it or not.

        • oletex98

          I think a point he may have tried but failed to make was to mix it up a little bit. I run once or twice a week. The rest of the time I do 30 minutes of intense weight lifting circuits and an ab workout. A lot of it is derived from P90X and Cross fit. I have lost almost 20 pounds since January and I eat pretty much what I want. Even though I run only once or twice a week, my stamina is up every time. Also running constantly is hard on your joints, you need to lift and do strength training to protect your body from the pounding.

      • Anna

        I agree with this as well. The article could be useful in
        my case, as I’ve just started running to try to increase my endurance,
        but I found it very frustrating that the article just went on about how
        bad it is and why, rather than explaining how good other cardio
        exercises are and why. That is my pet peeve — when people just rag on
        something and don’t suggest or explain an alternative solution. It may
        be obvious to the people who already know this stuff, but things always
        seem obvious when you already know the answers…

        • andrew

          Doing things that are active that you also enjoy is the best way to increase endurance. Sports like basketball, soccer etc. can be fun to do with your friends while also getting you into the shape you want to be in. Cardio isn’t just developed from long distance running. Sprints and short periods of intense work can be effective for building up your cardio as well. Hope this helps :)

          • Anna

            Thank you Andrew! That is very useful advice. :)

        • TC

          Hiit is a very effective alternative to hours of steady state cardio. Example: on the treadmill 2 minutes at a hard pace, 1 minute walk do this for 20 minutes. You do less, burn more calories and it keeps your body guessing so that it never gets used to it. For other examples of HIIT, just google it and there are tons of things you can do with all kinds of equipement. :) Hope that helped you!

      • David

        If you don’t like the “contempt” in his article, don’t read his stuff (and I’m not trying to be rude). There’s to much fluff and beating around the bush in our world as is. Get to the point and tell it as it is. If they don’t like it, let them do their own thing, or write their own article the way they want it to be written.

        • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.n.sing Anthony Ngu Guan Sing

          i can see the contempt in this and science of it but he doesn’t tell what is the alternative, all he is doing is telling people what they are doing wrong, not how we should be doing things instead.

        • Brooklynn

          I agree. There is too much fluff and it’d be nice to have someone get to the point. Which is why this article isn’t very good. There’s NO POINT… Ok, so running is no good. What are the alternatives? What does he recommend?? What was the point of telling everyone contemptuously that they are wasting their time if you don’t have the correct answer? Or even a suggestion?

        • Royce Hawley

          Yeah, people. How dare you provide feedback in the section of the page designed for you to do so! Shame on you!

      • http://www.facebook.com/sandra.g.baumann Sandra Fischer Baumann

        I agree! That was about as anti-runner as I’ve ever read!

      • Josilyn

        First of all, I love to run and think it is almost like a drug to me, affecting my mental well-being much more than my physical. Secondly, I found the article insightful in some areas but not surprising. Thirdly, I appreciate the candid nature of the writer. Just like anyone has the right to love extensive cardio, anyone has the right to hate it. I wish people would stop being so flipping sensitive. If you like what you like and feel good about it, why do you care what other people say or think?

        • josilyn

          Oh, and as for the content of the article, I think the applicable group would be tiny at best. The only absolute about science is it is never absolute. And seriously, how many people can honestly say they do anywhere near 20 hours of extreme cardio every week?

          • janice

            I do 25 hours sometimes more per week during half marathon training.

        • oletex98

          See my response to Natalie. Swim, bike, do other shit besides running.

      • Olli

        By insightful don`t you mean misleading or bogus?

        Just a quick glance through the references reveals that this article has very little to do with reality. Quite frankly the references don`t have anything to do with the statements in this article. Here`s just a few examples:

        “After regular training, fat cells stop releasing fat the way they once did during moderate-intensity activities[32-33].”

        First of all, both of these studies stydy the effects of training intensity on fat metabolism during a single training session. And second, both of the studies showed that increased work rate (just like in HIIT) actually slowed fat oxidation during exercise. Reading other studies we can learn that HIIT is still an effective way to promote weight loss but not in any way for the reasons stated in this article.

        “Energy from body fat stores also decreases by 30 percent[34-35].”

        The first study is again about the same subject, higher intensity means lower fat oxidation DURING a SINGLE training session. This has nothing to do with the above statement. The second study is pretty close, but still no cigar. In this study after 12 weeks of endurance training overall total fat oxidation during exercise was INCREASED for a whopping 41%. That`s quite a lot more than a 30% decrease. The decrease where I believe the writer is referring to here is propably what was observed during the last 30min of the 120min excercise.

        “To this end, your body sets into motion a series of reactions that make it difficult for muscle to burn fat at all[36-41].”

        This one is my favourite. [36-40] are over 30 years old rat studies with the focus mainly on glucose metabolism and they absolutely nothing to do with adaptations to endurance training or hampered ability to burn fat whatsoever. And 41 is about… you guessed it: The effect of training intensity on fat oxidation and it concludes that fat oxidation is reduced with higher training intensities.

        I`m not saying that running would be the optimal way to lose weight. I`m just telling you that you shouldn`t believe this article. The author has just written whatever he wanted and sprinkled on some scientific references to make it look like science and therefore true.

        For the record I receive absolutely no income in revealing phoney fitness experts on the internets.

        • Mel

          Agreed, if I turned in a paper where nearly all my references were over 10 years old, I’d be asked to redo the assignment.

    • Jennifer

      No matter what exercise you do you need to make sure that you are getting enough calories from healthy food to keep your body healthy.

      His own references make the point quite well.

      Reference #6

      ” Exercise quantity (0 vs. 1,300 kcal/day) and intensity (40 vs. 70% of aerobic capacity) did not affect any thyroid hormone (all P > 0.10). That is, low-T3 syndrome was induced by the energy cost of exercise and was prevented in exercising women by increasing dietary energy intake. ”

      Am J Physiol. 1993 May;264(5 Pt 2):R924-30.
      Induction and prevention of low-T3 syndrome in exercising women.
      Loucks AB, Callister R.
      Reference #1

      “In response to the moderate training phase, the fT3 in the (–) responder rowers returned towards BL levels (20WK compared to BL, P>0.05).”

      “The TSH concentration changes of the subjects were very similar to that of fT3. The TSH of the (–) responder rowers decreased significantly (P0.05)”

    • GoGo

      Cardio isn’t out, it is a necessity to losing weight. It should totally be a part of your workouts, but it should be at your target heart rate – find out what yours is and get a heart rate monitor to stay on track. Also be sure to include a healthy diet and strength training to build muscle – which helps you burn fat…

    • Under 20 Workout

      Absolutely, straight cardio/ running is out. Those of us who study this have known for years. I’ve been preaching it and most people are realizing this now.
      Geena, don’t focus on weight loss focus on FAT loss. Many of our members lose weight but most lose inches and sizes. Jessica, just emailed me today saying she went from a size 16 to a size 8 over several months. SHE ONLY LOST 5 POUNDS. She looks and feels incredible. Our workout is 20 minutes of high intensity interval training per workout. HIIT is the best type of workout. The Under 20 Workout

    • http://www.facebook.com/meltyhowlite Melty Decimus Howlite

      afterburn effect. high burst. rest 1 min. burst again.

    • D

      don’t do long cardio sessions, instead do weight, resistant or functional training which is short bursts of energy use. get the heart rate high and then rest and repeat, the workout shouldn’t be too long, 45mins to a hour. then after the workout a light walk on the treadmill or cycle on low resistance for 20mins or less and that will help with fatloss

    • Destiney

      He didn’t say it was out, he said overdoing it is out. From what I understand exercise with a balanced diet cardio included is great! Don’t eat loads of crap and expect the treadmill to fix it, the over exertion may cause a lower metabolism and may make your body hold on to fats. 40 minutes on an elliptical great! 3 hours? not so great.

  • khr

    as some people have pointed out below, how does a female who needs extended aerobic conditioning for job/sport balance that with also trying to keep a strong, low bf%, fit , healthy body?

    • DHKiefer

      I would look into Joel Jamieson’s work and consider using his BioForce HRV system. You can train at the capacity you need to, yet monitor the stress it’s causing on the body to adjust your training volume as necessary, so you’re always getting a benefit from your session.

  • Vixter

    So all those Olympians and world champion runners are just wasting their time then?!

    • Matt

      No, because that’s what they are training for. 99.9% of people aren’t running to be in the Olympics.

      • http://runningaddiction.me/ Alex Bridgeforth

        But what if I’m training to run a 100mi race? No steady-state running?

        • DHKiefer

          Actually, I think this is an interesting question. With a correctly structured training program and diet, I would say that you will still have to do steady-state running, but, if coupled with proper HIIT training, not nearly as much as you might think.

          • Eli Cleveland

            So you don’t know?

          • Fred

            He answered, I’m lost as to how you think he doesn’t know? Was he supposed to outline an entire program and diet right here in the comments?

    • Ian

      If you look at the Olympic sprinters, I think you’ll find that they’re in incredible shape. But they’re training very acutely; for speed. Ultramarathoners and the like are almost invariably emaciated for the many reasons Kiefer outlined in this post.

  • DE4

    What I take from this article is that women shouldn’t run at all because they will get hypothyroidism and get fat. In reality, hypothyroidism can be a result of any type of excessive stress, INCLUDING high intensity interval training (seen frequently in Crossfit). There are several other women-specific causes as well, such as a surplus of estrogen. Women can potentially be predisposed to the risk of hypothyroidism without even stepping foot in any type of gym. With regard to stopping “cardio workouts” altogether, that would mean literally getting rid of any workout longer than about 5 minutes. I am not opposed to Crossfit, as it obviously works for many people, but the vast majority of Crossfit workouts are considered cardio workouts; they use high intensity resistance exercise coupled with short resting periods. However, some individuals are not well-suited for these types of exercises for a number of reasons. Now, I am not saying that a 20 hour/week treadmill program is the best workout (that is an insane amount of treadmill work!), I just want to clarify that cardio workouts have been proven time and time again to be extremely beneficial with regards to the cardiovascular proficiency, suppressing the effects of aging, and preventing cardiovascular disease. When I say “cardio”, this means both crossfit workouts AND other types of workouts as well.

    • fel

      «supressing the effects of aging» are you kidding me? Look at marathoners or any endurance athlete youll find they look 50 by age 35…

      • Booker_T_Kilimanjaro

        Actually I’ve found quite the opposite. Can you provide any examples?

      • http://www.facebook.com/cindy.anderson.50 Cindy Anderson

        Perhaps the ones who are out running in the sun all the time without spf on. Or weight trainers who compete and go into the sun tan machines too often. But I have read over and over the anti aging effects of exercise.

        • sarah

          if running/ss cardio has a supposed anti-aging effect it is because it slows the metabolism (ding ding, thyroid) down. thus the body ages slower. EVERYTHING the body does is slower. I know, I gave myself hypothyroidism by undereating (not knowingly) and over-cardioing. I’m trying to claw my way out of it and fix my metabolism, and it’s not been a pleasant experience. if only I could have known what I know now a couple years ago.
          crossfit cardio is well above the 65% heart rate threshold so it is not the same as the type of ss cardio this article is referring to. also, it’s usually done within like 15 minutes. the metcon part of the workout typically falls into the HIIT/tabata umbrella of exercise.

      • http://www.facebook.com/kristin.weinzierl.5 Kristin Weinzierl

        Interesting ‘fact’ you have here. I find the exact opposite. The only ones who ‘age’ are the ones who don’t protect their skin from the sun and wind. It’s not the exercise that takes a toll on the bodies appearance, maybe on their joints, but not their skin!

    • EnlightenedAnimal

      I think you’ve misunderstood. This article isn’t about stopping cardio workouts, it is about stopping long, boring, monotonous workouts. Yeah jogging is okay… if you add in sprint intervals. Cardio workouts are definitely a good thing. Running at your lightest speed on a treadmill for an hour is not. “Cardio” is definitely not a bad thing.

  • Damon Amato

    Would love to hear how Joel Jamieson applies this to his fighters.

    • Jason Detwiler

      He did a video with Kiefer a month or two ago and they discussed this topic. He uses SS Cardio with his fighters to build up their endurance for the time they have to fight. It’s part of the program, but not THE program.

      • Janetmariecarlson

        Damn, see what you started,lol. I don’t run cause its hard on the tits, plus I don’t want my uterus to fall out. I just prefer walking and listening to music. Instead of all these diatribes, just do what feels right for your body and how it responds. Geeze people chill out, there are children out there going to bed hungry every night!! Give as much attention to causes like that as you do whether to run or not, and we might actually accomplish something worthwhile.

  • Tracy

    Please don’t call them the “yes-no” machines

    • Jason Detwiler

      “Good Girl/Bad Girl?”

  • SFG

    Great article… its focus can be seen that Running will make women fat and have hypothyroidism… but the real message is that RUNNING IS NOT HOW YOU LOSE WEIGHT. Running is a sport, and a skill!

  • John

    So, how are people supposed to exercise to get to a healthy weight? Calories in-calories out isn’t right? Am I missing something here? This kind of reeks of being apologetic to fat people when they say they can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

    • Jason Detwiler

      You should probably read the CBL book and a few of the other articles on this blog.

    • Ian

      “Am I missing something here?”

      Yes. As Jason stated, it might be a good idea to sift through some of Kiefer’s other articles and do some research of your own to develop a solid understanding of some of the topics. They’re very interesting; and primarily based in controlled research–which you can easily verify if you want to.

      Calories in-Calories out is not right; you’re correct.

      And you will never exercise your way to fat loss. (Fat loss ultimately boils down to what you’re eating.)

      It seems to me that “Eat less, exercise more,” will not help fat people lose fat any more than the thoughtless paradigm that most skinny people live by of “Eat more, exercise less” will make them fat.

  • http://twitter.com/winetoweights Jennifer

    Those women just don’t know any better, so I’m all about spreading awareness. I discovered the “man’s side” of the gym last February and haven’t looked back. I know there are different ways of working out that work for different people, but I think women weightlifting is the best thing they can do for themselves, both physically and mentally. It changes you inside and out once you realize your potential, which I don’t think you can get that same feeling from spending countless miles running.

  • Kelly

    “Why people who want to lose weight should not jog’ – there fixed the title for you.

    • http://twitter.com/jdreynolds3 John D. Reynolds III

      No typically men can get away with running a little bit more so than women because of higher testosterone levels as well as higher muscle mass overall.

  • Tim Davidson

    I agree with everything in this article as it relates to fat loss/physique/etc, however I have to take issue with one statement….

    “They’re often intensely recruited for fund-raisers like
    Team-In-Training, lured by the promises of slim, trim bodies and good
    health resulting from the months of cardio training leading to
    marathons—in addition to doing something for charity.”.

    Jokingly, You forgot to include century cycle rides, cross country ski trips, hike adventures, and triathlons. And there are other programs you forgot to lump in there too such as Aids LIfe Cycle, Challenge Athletes Foundation, etc.

    But on a more serious note, women (and men) are recruited heavily but they are not always lured by the promises of slim, trim bodies. THEY DO IT FOR CHARITY! (Or at least that’s what I would like to think) I mean really, if you have ever had a connection to a charity like TNT or CAF…you would realize its not at all about losing weight and looking better. Its about joining a community in honor of a cancer patient, or someone stricken with disease, or honoring support for something tragic that has happened in another persons life. Its a support group for that charity….Sure its a selling point to join the program as this article mentions, but it is not always the case to LURE them in with the promise of a better body. There is way WAY WAYYYYY more to it than that.

    Want more proof that they dont always promise a slimmer/trimmer athlete? Case and Point, Team in Training triathlon programs ask for participants height and body weight for wetsuit fitting at the very beginning of the season. They are required to give there current/correct measurements at the time they register, not what they think they will be after a few months of training. Why does TNT do this, because the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has to incur the cost of the wetsuit (roughly $400) if they get it wrong and as a non-profit charity this cuts into the bottom line to pay for charity business and still continue 75% of the charities fundraising goes back to cancer research/support.

  • Shannon

    This article, and the message it holds, would have been fine if it had nothing to do with hypothyroidism. You make hypothyroidism sound like a manifested disease caused by running but in all reality it can have very little to do with it. If you are to make this assumption, provide sited scientific data otherwise omit it. Having one friend who coincidentally ran and developed thyroid issues does not constitute a correlation.
    As a woman with hypothyroidism who lifts weights, I can assure you my disease had more to do with genetic predisposition and child birth and NOTHING to do with my exercise routine.

    • Ian

      I don’t think Kiefer is negating the multifactorial nature of the etiology of hypothyroidism, at all. I think he has simply, and successfully, presented another argument as to unnecessary contributors to its progression.

      • MagicJack

        Two words: bull and shit

    • http://USImmigrationTest.org/ NewUSCitizen


    • sarah

      he wasn’t implying cardio is the only way to develop hypothyroidism, lol. but the typical “eat less and do 1+ hour a day of cardio” model that society teaches and most women ascribe to is one very common way to develop it, not THE ONLY WAY. that’s all he’s sayin.

  • Kim

    “Low-T3 syndrome was induced by the energy cost of exercise and was prevented in exercising women by increasing dietary energy intake.”

    Cited from #6 on the reference list.

  • Sammy

    Ok, so how exactly do we lose the extra fat? And how do we help our stamina? I’d reeeally like to know!

  • Kim

    You can’t say your article is based off of science if you delete comments that counter your argument. That’s not how science works.

  • john

    I cant see who wrote this article. Are they fat?

    • Cass

      See for yourself…

    • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.tamborello Anthony Tamborello

      No, just bulky and incapable of completing any race distance over 400m. He’s a mad, jelly little failed runner.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrsmith001 Jr Smith

    THis is what I have been telling all my clients for years. Thank you for supporting what I have been telling them, especially about T3….

  • Honest Questions

    You refer to hours of running per day. What about someone who runs 30 min a day a few times a week, or even 30-40 min every day? Some of your language suggests running is out completely for women, but then you describe what most women would consider extreme workout schedules. Is your point more that women shouldn’t over-do it with cardio? Can you be more specific about how much running is too much and could cause these kinds of negative results?

    • JussWondering

      The author is not going to have answers for you. He based his conclusion off of the articles he cited above. I would advise you to look at a couple of them so that you can see for yourself that there is much more to the argument than he is making it seem.

      The following article helps explain some of the research on the topic:

      • DHKiefer

        Yes, and the research they use explores changes in T3 levels of 12 hours to a few days, not long term. Do read my research. Several of the reviews cited focus specifically on this condition in women, from this cause.

    • DHKiefer

      From the research, a few times per week at less than 30 minutes should not have as heavy of an impact, but you’re riding a fine line here and there are gaps in the research. So I can’t answer this fully. If you find you can run 2 times per week at this intensity and it has no effect on you whatsoever and you’re happy with how you look, keep doing it. If, however, you’re using this activity to achieve a body that you desire or to increase your health, then ditch it. It’s not helping your cause.

    • renee015

      Running is fine..30 minutes a day is healthy for your heart and your muscles. Muscle mass burns more calories than fat so a combo of strength exercises and running is a terrific combination. Balance it all off with a healthy diet and you are in business!

  • Caroline

    I ran a half-marathon last year and I lost 15 pounds!

    • DHKiefer

      Do you know how much of that was muscle?

      • Britney

        Can you stop replying to these comments? I am a Division 1 Collegiate Track and Field athlete. My metabolism is extremely fast, and no one I know suffers from thyroid problems. I run 50-60 miles a week. Cardio is a great way to lose weight. I do not like this article at all. People have predispositions to hypo or hyper-thyroidism. It’s not caused from the running. That is not sensible at all. Maybe the people who run and who aren’t losing the desired weight should consider a behavioral change. That is the only way to lose weight. I am sure that “Jessica” had a lot of stress and a lot of eating problems. Behavioral changes are the way to go along with cardio and gym workouts. This article actually makes me really angry, and that rarely happens. Oh and I can probably squat more than 95 % of the world’s population, so I still have my muscle mass. Thank you.

        • DHKiefer

          Thank you for your erudite contribution to this conversation. It has helped everyone immensely.

          • 1runner

            You are really pompous!

          • DHKiefer

            No, simply tired of thoughtless responses to my articles.

        • http://www.facebook.com/JoshCook84 Josh Cook

          Sounds like you are comparing apples to fat asses. It would be like comparing Rich Froning to the common crossfit goer. The “genetically”gifted need not subscribe or pay attention here, but the average person, can utilize this article and learn a thing or two. The broad general purpose of the article was to, in my humble opinion, add a layer of tools to our belts for a broader scope to help people become what they aspire to be. Kiefer, in his own right, is an expert in this field, and provided ONE piece of a puzzle. Everything should be tailored to an individual. I can’t train like Rich Froning, and he SHOULDN’T train like I do. Cheers!

          • running2lose

            I love this article and it makes sense to me. I was eating 6-8 times a day and losing weight like crazy without exercise. Even told a friend eat 6 small meals you’ll lose weight like me. She gained while I lost.. bahahaha. Went to see doc I had hyperthyroid…They obliterated my thyroid (which I don’t recommend) now I have hypothyroid and have been relentlessly jogging, running, walking with no progress. My heart is that of an athletic heart which are comments from my nurses but I sure do not look athletic!

        • http://www.facebook.com/leah.greene.98 Leah Marie Greene

          I used to run in college as well. I don’t remember one person on the team who had weight issues or thyroid imbalance. Apparently our author hasn’t ever met a competitive runner. But you know, it’s not about competing in something we love, it’s about obsessively hating our bodies and going to any lengths, including RUNNING, because we so badly want to be as small as possible. That’s why we women do anything. Ok, rant over. Gonna go find myself a pizza now and lick the cheese off the cardboard, cause that’s what I do when I’m in denial about how fat I really am. Don’t you?

  • CoolhandLuke

    You can sum this whole entire somewhat of a ridiculous article up with 2 words: muscle confusion.

  • T. Wrightson

    Definitely some valid science in there and we see these ‘cardio bandits’ doing the same thing without result in every gym across the world. The misconception that steady state cardio burns the fat is a strong one. BUT, I think it is really irresponsible to send such a blanket message out with a ‘one siez fits all’ mentality that ignores so many variables. Why cant running be combined with resistance exercise? What about using HIIT? Sprinters are runners…..why are they so lean and muscular? Your black and white account of things is a very short sighted viewpoint when the reality is, the answer isn’t black and white, it is greatly dependant on numerous variables that impact the efficacy and benefit of running vs other forms of exercise.

    • DHKiefer

      If you read the article carefully, you’d see that I explicitly said that I excluded HIIT from the conversation as well as sprinting and short-burst high intensity cardio. Please take the time to read thoroughly before attacking. You will be able to add poignant criticism that way.

      • Eli Cleveland

        Those are all running, right? So your article about “why women should not run” has exceptions to allow for various styles of running?

        • hannalynn32

          His title was a “shock factor” to draw people into reading the article. it is completely mis-leading.

          but thats what i would expect from him.

  • Jes

    I run because I enjoy it, and being in the military, it is expected. Endurance is heavily emphasized. However, I only run for an hour 2-3 times during the week, and I try to do a distance run every other weekend; again as part of a specific military regimen. Am I still causing the amount of damage to my body you discuss above?

    • Jes

      **I also do Crossfit twice a week.

  • Stephanie Hasenei

    Not a fan of this article. I run 5 days a week, 1 hour of cardio, mixed between two machines and at different intervals, free weights and planks (plus dieting). It is the only thing that helped me lose inches and tone my legs and core. High intensity Boot Camp made me gain way too much muscle – I am 5’1 about 112 – and my jeans didn’t fit, CrossFit made me look like Madonna, squats helped tone the butt, but did nothing elsewhere. Every body type and make up is different.

    • http://www.facebook.com/terry.shanahan.7 Terry Shanahan

      Your body composition may be going towards your temporary desired state. However, The key thing to realize is that your hormonal function and overall health very well may suffer over time. Excessive steady state cardio could be fine today, tomorrow, or this entire year. However, it will likely cause improper hormonal response at some point. Just something to realize and think about…

    • Ian

      You just listed your own confounding variable.

      Q: How do you know if the inches lost on your program was due to the cardio or the diet plan (“plus dieting”) you’ve been doing?
      A: You don’t, and you can’t. At least not without testing them in a controlled manner, first.

    • http://profiles.google.com/jaron.c.scott Jaron Scott

      Yeah, agree. Every body type is different and reacts differently to workouts. It makes no sense for him to blast everyone.

  • BeccaD

    I am currently in an Exercise Physiology class and I have learned that long slow distance is actually better for fat burning…assuming you give it the right amount of time. This idea is that you bring more oxygen in and the oxygen is needed to breakdown the fat. I found this article very interesting and is making me think more about my recent plateau. Thanks for the info!

  • Robert

    Weight training,utilizing a circuit, where rest is kept to an absolute minimum, is thee best workout for those wanting to lose fat(not weight), and this has been verified by science for about 30 years now.

  • Robert

    Also, sprinting, short burst intervals is useful. I didnt read the whole thing, did they mention that?

    • http://www.facebook.com/debbie.thrailkill.3 Debbie Thrailkill

      They mentioned HIIT…

  • http://www.iname.com/ Nathan Flatus

    I thought this sounded a lot like my wife who runs almost exclusively for exercise (and has hypothyroid, treated with medication) and hasn’t really seen any weight loss results, so I sent her the link. She did not think it was correct and sent me back this link:


    (plus, she was kind of irritated about it…)

    • DHKiefer

      I don’t make any money by saying people shouldn’t run. Runner’s World’s entire profit model depends on getting more people to run. I think there might be a conflict of interest there. And also a reluctance to include very many citations in their article, and for the ones they do, imply very misleading conclusions about the substance. He also ignored the several reviews that address the issue.

      • Eli Cleveland

        Do you make money from page views? While the article, accurate or not, seems fairly dry, your title is quite dramatic and does not convey the same message as the rest of the piece. From what I gather (based on a cursory reading) the article is about potential detrimental effects of excessive running in pursuit of a particular goal. The overall story speaks to a certain type of running you have witnessed in a certain context. Why does your title refer to all types of running? Also, does similar running never lead to hypothyroidism, bone loss, etc. in men?

  • Jen

    it is really important to remember that thyroid hormone is affected by a variety of different factors so while your friend Jessica’s case is interesting it doesn’t prove anything. you have a simple correlation and unfortunately with correlations in a single person case study you can find those correlations for case you may want to prove.
    The body does adapt, and is a wonderful machine like that so yes your body will decrease your metabolism in order to “survive” but that fat storing mechanism is not really turned on until you hit extreme lows of body fat percentage. especially in the case of women who work out endlessly and don’t lose weight, their body has a different set point for what is healthy for them.
    And furthermore, your argument for not doing cardio should not point to the women who exercise like crazy and then stop only to gain weight because they are the extremes not the normal and of course the gain weight when their metabolism is set for extreme energy burning and suddenly they stop. As a college athlete I spent the first two years of my career not understanding that i couldn’t go from the extremes of playing lacrosse in the heat for 3 hours a day to halving my activity level over the summer but eating the same way. After graduating I mastered coming out of a lifestyle of intense exercise by only eating when I was actually hungry and I managed not to gain a pound of fat.

    That all being said, cardio exercises are supposed to be a life long thing and a steady state is not the ideal for the heart. it is also important to remember that your max heart rate does decrease with age and so you should not be working as hard as you did when you were 22 once you are 40.

  • http://www.facebook.com/debbie.thrailkill.3 Debbie Thrailkill

    Who does this article actually apply to? The only explanation of “consistent” running that I see is the 20hr/wk. I have run most of my life, because I love it, but I also have never ever ran 20hr/wk, that’s like elite runners, and I have never exploded in weight. I also lift weights and do yoga, Pilates. Elite runners are who I think of when I read this, and if they explode in weight when they stop working out well maybe its because they are used to eating to support 20hrs/wk of running…If I were to run that much it would be well over 120 miles/wk and that’s just nuts! So exactly who are you talking about, people like me that run for maybe at most 5hr/wk or are you talking about elite runners? Please define the use of consistently in “Training consistently at 65 percent or more of your max heart rate adapts your body to save as much body fat as possible” is it one hour every day of the week or is it two hours every day of the week? I am not convinced yet, especially if your friend is the one scarfing down 4000kcals in a single meal, sorry, not a good example to support how women seem to mysteriously “explode in weight when they return to their normal diets”, anyone body would explode!

    • Jay

      Debbie – I’ve been among elite and sub elite runners for nearly 14 years and I can confirm that even they can’t run 20 hours a week! In reality, 10 hours of training per week is quite a lot for anyone. In a male athlete, that can easily be 90 miles per week. In a female athlete, that can easily be 70 miles a week.

      • DHKiefer

        When I cycled, I easily hit 20 hours per week on the bike. I also have helped with the diets of several Ironman and half-Ironman competitors, who easily put in 20 hours of cardio work per week. If you’ve never been around anyone who can do 20 hours of cardio per week, you’ve never been around elite athletes.

        • Bruce

          20 hours of cardio is not 20 hours of running. Yes during Ironman training, the bike hours add up quickly, however the title of your article is “Why Women Should Not RUN”. All of your supporting arguments are based on the 20 hours of single-state cardio per week. I find this misleading and irresponsible.

          20 hours of running a week is beyond extreme even for elite marathoners, an average person would injure themself well before reaching 20 hours a week. Ironman training is also well above and beyond what the average person is looking to achieve. Ironman training is irrelevant as it’s not all running, and it’d be foolish to not vary the intensity level.

          Please give us one reason why women shouldn’t run a reasonable amount (3-5 hours a week) at varying intensities?

          You’ve clearly hit a nerve. I know because I’m not the type of person to ever post comments on blogs. If you’re writing inflammatory articles to help spread your blog virally, congrats, you’ve achieved that. You should consider that you’re doing a huge disservice to many women (and men) who would benefit from some moderate, variable intensity running.

          • DHKiefer

            Please read the article before commenting. If you had, you would notice that I only talk about 20 hours worth of cardio per week and not 20 hours of running. It appears you only read the title then the comments.

            I do not believe whatsoever that I am doing a disservice to men or women by presenting facts and research that demonstrate that the belief that running a marathon or regular 10Ks for health or fat loss is flawed.

            If you love to run, do it. If you don’t particularly enjoy it and you think you need to be doing it for health reasons, then you can safely quit.

          • Jay

            However, you consistently target running throughout your article as bad for women. You even titled the article “Why Women Should Not Run.” Bruce is right to question your intentions. To add on to his comments, you mentioned run, running, or runners 14 times in your article and cardio 19 times. That’s understandably confusing. Perhaps you need to define your terms better as the clarity of your writing isn’t as strong as it can be.

            You do mention steady state cardio (defined as any type of aerobic activity done at 65 percent of max heart rate) as what you’re targeting, but you don’t do it until the bottom of the second section of your article! Why not mention that up top?

            Now, you are correct that hours and hours of exercise at 65 percent of max heart rate isn’t the best thing for a person. You are also correct that it isn’t very effective. But you’ve packaged it in an off-putting fashion that can come across poorly. You want people to hear your message? Make sure it’s delivered in a way they’ll be willing to receive it.

            Finally, addressing your comment to my comment: You wrote that you easily hit 20 hours per week on the bike.. Great. That’s 20 hours on a bike. Running is different. As a trainer, you know how important specificity is. Hence, runners run. You also know that running involves forces far great than the forces cyclists are exposed to. Consequently, runners run for less time than cyclists cycle. That’s because the human body can’t handle 20 hours per week of running! Runners might train for 20 hours per week, but beyond 10-12 hours of running (and not all of is at one intensity), their training consists of strength training, recovery work, etc. and cross training only when necessary (see principle of specificity). Take it from me. I’ve trained with National class athletes, All-Americans, NCAA Champions, a European Champion and even a World Record holder.

          • http://www.facebook.com/debbie.thrailkill.3 Debbie Thrailkill

            You may only speak of 20 hours of cardio, but this article is entitled ‘WHY WOMEN SHOULD NOT RUN!!! and continues to talk about how women are in the gym on the treadmill…running. Bruce read the article I’m sure, I read it and came to the same conclusion!

        • http://www.facebook.com/debbie.thrailkill.3 Debbie Thrailkill

          Then stop using running as an example, because running for 20 hours a week is a bad example! Your article is not geared to triathletes you say why WOMEN should not run, again a sweeping generalization, which apparently what you meant was Iron man competitors and not your run of the mill women you actually talk about in your article. You know, like your friend Jessica, is she an elite?

    • DHKiefer

      Why would you think of elite runners? I never mention elite runners. The 20 hours per week statement is in particular reference to figure, bikini and sometimes poorly coached bodybuilders for stage prep. Running is merely the common reference I use for steady-state cardio.

      • Eli Cleveland

        Your article is titled “Why women should not run.” Had you titled it “Why figure, bikini, and sometimes poorly coached bodybuilders should not use excessive steady-state cardio” there would be much less confusion.

        • David

          Damn, Eli. You must be super bored to be spending so much time replying to all these comments.

      • some guy

        Running is not steady state cardio. I’m not sure if you’re using the term deliberately or by accident, either way it’s used erroneous and quite misleading.

        Running is NOT steady state cardio

        Running at a constant pace that maintains a heart rate 65% of your maximum heart rate is steady state cardio.

        Like every form of physical activity, running can be done at varying levels of intensity.

        Every running coach I have dealt with uses a combination of tempo, threshold and V02Max run sessions. The tempo (at about 60-65% max heart rate) would be the longest session of the three, but only performed once or twice per week. The threshold session are shorter and are typcially intervals sets made up of 80% mhr efforts with 40% mhr recovery. The V02Max session is the shorter and very high intensity – about 80-90% mhr effort.

        The problem is not running, nor is it swimming, riding or *any* kind of ‘steady state cardio’. The problem is the ignorant and incorrect use of a tool – in this case that tool is ‘steady state cardio’. Misusing tools never achieves the desired result.

      • http://www.facebook.com/debbie.thrailkill.3 Debbie Thrailkill

        I think of elite runners because your article is entitled why women should not run and 20 hours a week would put them in that category! You have also failed to answer my other questions. It looks to me like what you have done is read 80 articles, regurgitated their opinions that you have taken out of context and then have made a sweeping generalization on why running is bad for women, because is that not what this is all about, why women should not run. If what you mean is that performing 20-hours of steady state cardio, which is what you responded with, maybe what you should do is change the name of your article to that. I know several bikini models and none of them do any cardio. If you want people to believe you, be more concise, form your own opinions, do your own research PhD candidate nobody, and don’t use 80 references for what appears to be a 2 page article. Also if you want to be taken seriously don’t respond to people in a condescending way like you did with Eli Cleveland, because what you are doing is showing you have nothing to actually add to an intellectual conversation when you have to resort to belittling your readers to try and defend your weak article. If your writing and research was credible you would be able to form a better response and actually answer peoples questions. If your not ready for criticism or doubt maybe you should stop writing, well in your case regurgitating.

        • http://www.facebook.com/debbie.thrailkill.3 Debbie Thrailkill

          http://runnersconnect.net/running-tips/elite-runner-training-schedule/ Here is a training schedule of an elite runner, it happens to be a male, but he starts out at just a little over 10 hours per week and his marathon times qualified him to run as an elite, which is 2:25 for a marathon time.

      • guest

        the people on this blog that mention elite runners just don’t add much to the discussion. It’s like talking about living past 100 <_– just not too likely

  • LW

    Good article but how about some expansion on what we SHOULD be doing?

    • DHKiefer

      This whole website is dedicated to what you should be doing. Surf around a bit.

  • http://twitter.com/BuildingAthlete BuildBetterAthletes

    Ladies often ask how to get fat off their thighs and hips, would you recommend sprints instead of consistent same pace cardio. Then maybe pair it with squats and some heavy lifting?

  • Jack

    this is just a poorly written article, grammatically speaking. At least hit spell check.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.rose.starner Lisa Rose Starner

    I call bullshit. I am a woman. I am a runner. We humans are born to run. If you don’t want to, fine. Get out of the way. The rest of us, well, we will keep running. And to no one’s harm. If it is our own neuroses, then so be it.

    • DHKiefer

      Why are you calling “bullshit”? From your comment, you do it because you love it. Awesome. I wouldn’t tell you to stop unless it was crippling your long term health. As for the statement that we were born to run, unless you can provide compelling evidence, we’re going to have to leave that in the “unfounded opinion” box.

  • Jay

    DF Kiefer – This is a no brainer, You’re right that excessive amounts of cardio at one intensity, utilizing one energy system, is a recipe for disaster. Hormone levels aside, no runner can survive the extreme level of training you described. At 10 hours per week, a good female athlete is likely training 70 miles per week. Most people simply do not have the tools to survive that level of training and will have a stress fracture or other injury long before they have a hormone issue.

    If you want to learn more about running specific training, look into Jack Daniels, Renato Canova, Arthur Lydiard, Brad Hudson, John Kellogg and Alberto Salazar. They’re some of the foremost coaches in the world when it comes to endurance athletes, specfically runner.s

  • http://www.facebook.com/gail.rich.nestor Gail Rich Nestor

    I had hypothyroidism before I started running a single step. I was 35 pounds overweight. I started running and burned off the 35 pounds in 2-3 months. Now, two years later, I’m at the same weight, still take my synthroid, and still run like a fiend. I’ll be running Boston in 2014. At 45, I have a very decent body. Here’s a before/after photo: http://runnermomgail.blogspot.com/2012/07/what-difference-year-makes.html. I could probably be even more fit if I did weights, but running and eating well have both contributed to my overall fitness.

    • DHKiefer

      It’s eating well that’s the main contributor. And this article in no way implies that long-term steady state cardio is the only way to get hypothyroidism. You should be very proud of your transformation, regardless. You look great in your after pics.

  • L. Riley

    You’re an idiot and narcissistic (look it up). Get educated.

  • http://twitter.com/SaraMechell Sara

    I had a nice long response that somehow got deleted. Here’s the main points: you are not an exercise physiologist. Your research is outdated. Your Carb Nite and Carb Backloading are seemingly gimmicks for people looking for a quick answer for weight loss. Not all bodies are the same. Weight loss IS calories in, calories out.

  • David

    Of course if you exercise improperly you can hurt yourself, in all areas exercise. Cardio is good for you, and should not be the primary mechanism for loosing weight anyways. This article is making suggestions that are misleading.

  • Critical mind

    I caution you all who read this article to keep a critical mind and not except this as fact. There are no sources anywhere in the article to support his claim… which is mostly based on personal anecdotes. Anyone who does any kind of study anywhere will tell you that personal experience is not a reliable or valid test measure. The hypothyroid friend has hypothroidism… meaning her body already isn’t producing the proper balance of chemicals. You can’t say that running started or contributed to that. You can’t say that running is the cause of getting fat, or that it slows down your metabolism without producing valid, reliable, and measurable sources… fancy language and big words aside. For every article such as this, a quick search on google will produce equal amounts of information with opposing information. If you accept this position, then take the time to do more research before you commit to it as law.

  • Heather

    I found this to be an interesting article and conversation. I competed in Ironmans for years at a high level and easily trained about 20hrs a week. Then I had children and had no time for triathlon but marathons I found doable. Since intensity training resulted in injury I did a lot of steady state runs. Just before Boston 2011 I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Two tears later I still run but I can’t keep the weight down. I really believed that my body just is used to it?? And yes I believe my slow metabolism was obviously a factor. Lately I have been doing more weights, cross train and watch my diet more ( always ate healthy now just less). Yes this is only my personal side but I do know of 5 other women like me. I love cardio, especially running , but now believe more in strength training , changing up run workouts and eating less.

  • Craig Jones

    Havnt done an ounce of cardio in close to a year now and I’m leaner than ever! It all makes sense when you read this article. It’s even common sense, the body will survive.

  • anon

    I like how Kiefer refers to himself in the third person even after wasting so much money on education….

  • Ryan

    “We were not designed for this.” That’s a major lie. The human body has developed over thousands of years to outrun gazelle. Before we had more advanced weapons, our primary way of hunting was to chase an animal until it was exhausted. Our bodies have the most efficient breathing and cooling system on the planet for this reason.

    • guest

      I would argue we were made to walk, not to run all the time. Just walking in really hot climates was hard enough on our body let alone to run in the sun.

  • Bruce

    This article is misleading and may be doing many women a disservice. The human body, male and female, was designed specifically for running. I agree that running 20 hours a week at steady-state intensity as this article describes, is not healthy. But who does that? It is such an extreme case. 3 hours of running a day? Even world class marathoners don’t run that much, and they certinly vary the intensity of their workouts. To claim all running is bad for all women, citing research on 20 hour weeks is just poor journalism/trolling.

    • Ian

      You cannot make a claim about what the human body was “designed” for unless you are, or intimately know, its “designer.” The most you can say is something like, “It seems as though the body’s most natural movement patterns are… ‘X,’ for such-and-such a reason.”

      In any case, I think the argument can be made, quite successfully–from a biomechanics standpoint–that the human body’s most natural movement pattern is not running at all, but rather walking.

      • Katie

        Bruce is correct. Humans are “made” to run. We evolved into great long distance runners as an advantage catch prey. Since humans do not have the strength, speed and weapons (teeth and claws) of other predators, we evolved into long distance runners as a way to catch prey that can run fast for only short periods of time before overheating. Persistence hunting is still seen in the Tarahumara people and Kalahari bushmen.

        • guest

          I’m sure the Tarahumara people and Kalahari bushmen have outstanding longevity and never get hurt. <——Nope

  • youheardme

    My only question is, what the hell are these women doing out of the kitchen?

  • John Mclaren

    Interesting hypothesis. I suppose a controlled study would be needed to verify it. Your links seem to be related to the general topic but together it’s not what I would call conclusive. What seems to be almost absent is the nutritional side of the issue. Hypo/hyper thyroidism, like hypoglycemia and diabetes are probably caused by poor western style foods, not excessive cardio, though if embarking on high cardio while ignoring diet it certainly might exacerbate problems. Your nutritional recommendations on this site include junkfood (I’m also guessing meat or whatever), and to me sound cavalier coming from a training expert. You also failed to talk about estrogen levels and birth control pills related to thyroid function. Basically it seems you may have overlooked other causes of what you are observing. A clean, basically vegan diet of lightly cooked complex carbs, fresh fruit and veggies (about 80%starch/10%protein/10%fat) I’m guessing would solve any health or weight issues at the gym unless there is pre-existing thyroid damage (thyroid does not seem to recover from damage or compensate with higher function)

  • Fi

    Good article (very good actually – bravo!) but I wish you’d change the title to “why women should not do very much cardio”!

  • Renee

    There is nothing wrong with running. Just like bodybuilders train for muscle fitness and symmetry, runners train for cardiovascular fitness and endurance. Do not be afraid to do cardiovascular exercise! You MUST support whatever exercise you participate in by eating properly! Educate yourself on WHAT you are eating. Try to purchase organic foods whenever possible to get the most out of your food. Talk to your doctor about an iodine supplement. Iodine levels support thyroid function. Foods used to be fortified with iodine but are less frequently nowadays. Exercising out of guilt because you ate too much is not a reason to exercise. Try to get your eating under control and exercise because it makes you feel good or healthy. Eating healthy grains (avoid genetically modified foods – another conversation), clean meats, and lots of organic fruits and veggies will get you there. Your body is designed to survive as Kiefer says. Your body will slowly adjust to your new activity level…just be mindful of your foods and the quality of whatever it is you are eating. No matter what your training goal, be it bodybuilding, marathon running for charity, walking, cycling or just to feel good and be healthy, SUPPORT it with good nutrition! It is a balance…you can do it!!

  • MIchelle

    Squats pushups, wall squats. use your bosy weight as your resistance!!

  • MIchelle

    Oh! And clean eating!

  • Booker_T_Kilimanjaro

    Going on to PhD studies in one year is not impressive. It’s how the educational system works. 4 years for bachelors, one for Masters assuming it’s course based, or if not, assuming you have a good work ethic and can bring your thesis in on time. It means literally nothing. Not having got that PhD, however, and the fact that he’s obviously trying to turn being a PhD washout into a credential, suggests this guy might not know what he’s talking about.

    The rest of the article does that pretty well too though.

  • TNT runner

    Although I completely agree with the over-arching message, I’d like to clarify something. Team-In-Training gives no “promises of slim, trim bodies.” Our coach told us the first day that we would maintain our current body type and develop lean muscle. If our goal was to lose weight, diet would need to be a part of that. Also, the training schedule includes cross-fit and strength training days. I appreciate the point you are trying to make, as it is a good one, but please do not ruin the reputation of these groups that actually properly train their athletes.

  • Brooksy

    I find this whole thing interesting, but I know plenty of women who run and have very trim bodies. I think a lot of things are in moderation. Don’t eat the whole pizza and don’t run for hours a day? Seems pretty balanced.

    • Ian

      The likelihood is that they are “thin” because they’ve catabolized muscle tissue. They’ve done probably zero damage to whatever fat stores they might have, but the chronically elevated hydrocortisone has ate away at their lean mass; including bone mineral density.

      • Ian

        “has *eaten…” lol

  • waytogeneralize

    DH Kiefer, your articles would be much more effective if you stopped making generalizations about the way women relate to their bodies (especially given that you are not a women…as far as I know). I hope you realize there are more productive ways of suggesting alternative routes to health for women and men.

  • NikMD

    For someone who claims to promote health and fitness you should be ashamed. This article does more harm than good. In a nation where obesity is an epidemic the last thing we need is women getting the idea that they should not run because it is unhealthy. The benefits of running far out weight the harm. Running does burn calories last time I checked and this will help people reach a negative energy balance, also it is great for the cardiovascular system and decreases one’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease (the leading cause of death in the world). Hypothyroidism is not caused by running or doing steady state cardio, this is simply not true. None of the medical literature says this and as a MD candidate I find that this type of misinformation can do alot of damage. Likely your friend has had hypothyroidism for many years and this is the reason why she has not lost weight. Its an amazing jump in logic to conclude that running caused her hypothyroidism. If this were true don’t you think the medical community would have put A and B together by now? I mean running is by far the most popular form of exercise in this country I think we would have noticed people showing up with hypothyroidism all of a sudden. Or maybe the entire medical community is too ignorant to have noticed. Maybe we needed someone who is a Phd candidate in math to help us put A and B together. Stick to quadratic functions and leave the medical and health issues to people who are qualified to discuss them and stop spreading this propaganda.

    • Ian

      Excuse me Cass, but, have you even read the supposed “medical literature” you haven’t bothered to reference? Or, in fact, the literature Kiefer has? Or are you merely put off because what he’s saying is diametrically opposed to what you think you “know?”

      So, (a) Do your due diligence.

      And (b) You just made two huge mistakes that nullify your argument.

      i.) You are claiming that a negative energy balance is the “cause” of fat oxidation, with no supporting evidence, aside from an Argument from Tradition–because Calories in-Calories out is what “fitness” in this country has been predicated on for decades. (Just because something is done a certain way for a long period of time in no way necessitates its truth.)

      Perhaps you still believe that saturated fat causes cardiovascular disease, based on the poorly performed epidemiology? If so, you’d be just as wrong.

      ii.) Not only are you arguing from a general consensus (i.e.: Tradition,) you’re also arguing from Authority. Another fallacious move, I’m afraid.

      “Stick to quadratic functions and leave the medical and health issues to people who are ‘qualified’ to discuss them.”

      You’ve offered nothing substantial to the argument, but this: “No one besides those ‘in-field’ could possible develop a keen enough understanding of the biology to be able to talk about it, knowledgeably.”

      And if you don’t think that’s precisely what you’ve done, I suggest you re-read your post.

      • Ian

        I don’t know why my computer is being so odd, today, but in any case, I am just now realizing that Cass is not you; for which I apologize. The argument is directed at NikMD, not at Cass.

    • DHKiefer

      We already know that running does not prevent or repair obesity. This entire blog and all of my work is dedicated to making health, performance, longevity and aesthetics attainable for everyone. Running doesn’t fit in that prescription.

      • Eli Cleveland

        It doesn’t fit in that prescription… for women?

    • http://www.facebook.com/robin.r.wilson.7 Robin Russell Wilson

      Amen! I have a neuro degenerative disease called Cadasil. It primarily affects my brain and my vascular system. My doctors (actual doctors with degrees) have always encouraged my running. My neurologist thinks it’s one of the best things I can do. I showed this to him and he laughed at it.

  • Jennifer

    When it gets right down to it… it’s all balance. Too much of anything is not good. Do cross training, that has great results! Both cardio with weightlifting is ideal and keep changing it up in everything you do. Your body will respond better this way.

    • Ian

      Based on what, pray tell? The general consensus? The observational data spread from the American College of Sports Medicine and the NIH? Or the poorly controlled and even more poorly interpreted “randomized controlled trials” done on exercise–since it’s nearly impossible to negate confounding variables.

      When you use the term “balance” the way you’ve just done, it makes you sound like one of the innumerable Dieticians–who are “in field,” mind you; which you seem to respect–who incorrectly tell clients that their diets should be about “balance.” (To keep a “healthy” level of whole grains and carbohydrates in their diets, for example, because it makes for a so-called balanced meal plan. lol)

      • Ian

        Whoops. I’m sorry… my computer was being weird, and I thought I was responding to the same person I’d already responded to, and yet I was mistaken. My apologies. I maintain the argument, but I’d like to take out the part about you “respecting in-field professionals” as it doesn’t necessarily pertain to you.

  • Sarahbakes05

    I am a little confused being fairly new to this fitness scene. I do mixed cardio within a single week. Zumba one day, running another, and just walking others. I also mix in a full body, low weight high rep kettlebell workout a few times a week. Dropped almost 50 pounds since December. Am I at risk for this loss stopping? Or am I ok because I mix it up?

  • Audrey Wegman

    What about swimming?

  • Nicholas Gamache

    THANK YOU for this article. First off, I’m a Male. A little synopsis of my story:

    I weighed 320 pounds (6’3″) August 2011. I started my weight loss journey shortly after that. As of July 2012, I weighed 207 pounds. I still felt fat. I didn’t really change, I was the same figure, just less bulge. I carried 168 pounds of what my scale calls “lean mass” and the rest was fat. On a 6’3″ frame, I was starting to look scrawny, I wasn’t really as happy as I thought I’d be.

    I lost that weight through starving myself (1,750 calories and fewer than 150 carbs per day, with “cheat” meals that I beat myself up about maybe once a month) and cardio. Lots and lots of cardio. I would run 20 miles a week and Road Bike 50.

    I thought I was healthy until my workplace ran a health screening to help us identify where we were on the health scale. My numbers came back fairly surprising. Not only that, but I had lost 35 pounds of muscle through my weight loss journey, muscle that I should have worked to keep.

    In September 2012, I met my weight trainer, who tried to help me by explaining how the cardio isn’t helping, but I didn’t listen, kept up the cardio but also started weight training with him, doing very functional exercises like squats and deadlifts, but because I was so weak and dealing with nagging pain issues due to the amount of time I was spending pounding the pavement, I wasn’t really progressing.

    Over the winter, I stopped running because running in cold weather is something I hate doing.

    I didn’t really gain weight because I was still not eating much, but I wasn’t gaining muscle. In fact, the more weight we put on the bars, the more muscle I lost. From September to February, I lost 7 pounds of muscle and gained 10 pounds of fat.

    In February, I started my new workout routine of purely weight training and after 6 weeks, I have gained almost 20 pounds, but 7 pounds of that is muscle, and the other weight gain is a result of my body reacting the way it thinks it should based on how much I’ve been abusing it. It is going to take time for things to normalize, but I’m aware of it and I’m dealing with it.

    Now I need to re-wire my brain and focus on my results, not on the scale and that’s absolutely devastating to do after being so driven by that scale number for so long.

    Save yourself the agony, start weight training today, listen to what this article has to say. My wife has her own story, and she’s gone from a size 24 to a size 9, five of those sizes have come from no weight loss on the scale, but simply from doing the same weight training I’ve been doing.

    I’m sharing this story as much as I can, thank you thank you!

  • Nicolelleb

    I find it interesting that you have Ashley Horner as your model in this feature, yet she is an avid runner, marathons included.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hershey.whatchamacallit Hershey Whatchamacallit

    Go to YouTube. Search for “Stress, Portrait of a Killer – Full Documentary (2008)”. Watch the full documentary and learn why a stressed body is not a healthy body.

  • Johnna

    I agree with you, for the most part; however, as a distance runner, I do not just run, I lift as well. Therefore, I do not believe that people should just stop running. Instead, people need to incorporate lifting into their running schedules 3-4 times per week so that they can create and maintain a slim, toned figure. Further, lifting is critical for running as it improves posture, core strength, stride and endurance.

  • Danica

    This article makes no sense to me. Running is essentially good for your heart and your body. When you run you are working every part of your body. It sounds more like a genetic problem to me, than anything. Sure maybe the machines in the gym aren’t the best for you, but running outside and on a track is probably the best thing you can do. It helps build muscle if anything, and protects your bones. The most healthy people that I know are good runners and great eaters. If you want to lose weight and get healthy, try eating healthy and not eating all the processed foods that stores have an abundant amount of.

    • DHKiefer

      This couldn’t be further from the truth. Resistance training builds muscle and makes bones stronger. Running, in particular, does the opposite.

  • Janet

    My daughter has been competing in track since high school, and is now finishing up her 4th year in college competition. Her name happens to be Jessica. Two years ago at the age of 20 she was diagnosed with hypothroidism, her thyroid was not working at all. Thank you for this information, it does answer a lot of question
    . I do have one question for you, when she stops competing will her throid repair its self? hypothyroidismhypot

  • anon

    Maybe if you’re trying to get women to dodge the cardio you should have used a picture that didn’t have thin women on treadmills in it….not a bad article though

  • Lindsey

    I think this article was very informative!! As someone who spent years on an elliptical/ treadmill and saw little results- I understand what a waste of time and energy it is. I started CrossFit about a year and a half ago and have been blown away with the results I have seen so far. I am stronger and more toned than I have ever been. I won’t put anyone down for running- because I do still run races and am doing a 10 mile run in a few weeks- but it isn’t the best way to lose weight and tone your body!!! I think the reason so many people like running( myself included) is because of the ability to push yourself even when it sucks…. however, that argument can be made for any form of exercise. Thanks for shedding light in dethimg I spent far to much time doing!!

  • Jlw

    Ok everyone here keeps regurgitati. whats in the article but wont give a detailed answer. WHAT IS THE ALTERNATIVE??!!

    • Ian

      Resistance training or high intensity interval training, it seems.

  • Skater, biker, runner

    Its easy to pick on something established. But what is the answer then, Mr big mouth?!?

    • David

      Instead of stumbling onto this page (that you were probably sent by some butthurt running zealot) with sole intention of bashing the article, why don’t you try clicking on a few of the other links on the site that lead to an ample amount of answers. Those little buttons on the top of the page actually make this task pretty simple to accomplish.

  • Carol

    What’s wrong with the adductor and abductor machines?

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.herman.777 Daniel Herman

    so skinny women don’t run marathons cuz they get fat before the race gets close? i smell something brown maybe from the cow pasture

  • Nocardio?

    So now can you write an article about what to do instead? Without any cardio, I’m going to get fat too…

    • David

      Or you could try clicking on virtually ANY of the other articles posted on the site. It’s really not all that difficult of a task to accomplish.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sashalopezz Sasha Lopez

    Myself I personally focus on cardio the least, I will do a 15 minute jog every other day just to get my blood pumping, the do jumping jacks and jump rope the other days. I’m not doing it to loose the weight, I’m doing it to warm my muscles up and start my work out. I also changed my diet. I am seeing changes slowly- and was thinking of uping my cardio, so not a good idea then?

  • Unbeliever

    I’d be weary of listening to everything in this article. It may seem to pose some truth with the fact that Long distance, low intensity running sessions could effect T3 levels, HOWEVER 1) Running is a wonderful way to exercise your cardiovascular system, which is more important than having the perfectly slim body anyways. It’s more beneficial to be fat and fit than skinny and unfit because of the benefits of a strong cardiovascular system to avoid CVD. 2) Most of these articles are quite outdated- from the 80′s and 90′s. If it truly is a real phenomenon, then I would like to see a recent article about how running is “bad” for females. The fact that most of the articles are old is good evidence that the theory is outdated and disbanded.

  • JessC

    That’s a nice rant.. but you didn’t provide any kind of alternative..

    • David

      The content of virtually every single article posted on this site provide more than enough examples of an alternative.

  • Celeste

    I think you’ve presented a slippery slope between exercise and low T3 levels. In order for our bodies to make T4 and T3, you need iodine in your diet. If part of your weight-loss plan includes cutting out animal products and salts, you’re probably not getting enough iodine. I think the diet changes are more related to low thyroid levels instead of the cardio. Plus, women are more at risk than men anyways for having thyroid-related disorders. I do agree that too much of any one type of exercise won’t produce desired results. It is important for all women to do at least 3 strength training workouts/week since we are much more at risk for bone disease and have lower amount of muscle as is. Running incorporated into an overall workout plan of cardio, strength training, and flexibility is a good thing. Running is one of the best sports for lowering risks of CV disease and stress-related illness, so I would not recommend to completely stop if you already have a running program that you enjoy. I will be running in my 2nd mini marathon in 1.5 weeks and cannot wait. Running has been the best stress reliever I’ve found and it’s something that anyone can do, anywhere.

    • Heather

      Well put

  • Luke

    DH Kiefer, I’m faster than you.

  • Songster

    If anyone is concerned about the long term effects of cardio on his or her thyroid function they ought to consult with their family physician or endocrinologist.

    Is Jessica in her 30s? Women, fit or unfit, are far more susceptible to hypothyroidism or thyroid diseases. This factor increases with age. It is related to immune health, hormones, and diet.

    I’m one of these women. I never did excessive cardio. I lifted and I walked my dogs around a half mile block every day. Moderate exercise at best. Yet, here I am, suffering this new life of thyroid disease.

    In short, perhaps running afflicts women’s thyroid function, but there are a myriad of other factors to consider in thyroid health. See your doctor – get your thyroid checked if you’re that concerned about it.

  • Pete

    For everyone like just described, there are 10 that it works for.

  • femalerunner

    You need to do more research. Humans were born to run. It”s a natural movement. Work harder.

    • James

      You’re right…the MOVEMENT is natural. Once you get passed the title however, you will quickly realize he is not attacking the movement of running itself.

    • guest

      we most more likely born to walk and run from dangers.

  • runfolyfe

    You should go for a run and re-evaluate what you’re saying. Endorphins make you happy. That’s why people run. End of story.

    • DHKiefer

      If that’s why you run, to make yourself happy, then I’m fully supportive.

  • drmbhete

    I am both a physician and the father of an NCAA All American distance runner. My wife also has hypothyroidism from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (the most common form of hypothyroidism and probably what the woman you mentioned had as a diagnosis)

    First of all, according to the main endocrinology textbooks, thyroid hormone, in most studies, goes UP with intense exercise – not down. They feel this is an adaptive mechanism to exercise. Your statement that there is a compelling case that exercise impairs the production of thyroid hormone is not true. There have been some inconsistent results between studies but they have had much different study designs. However the predominant finding is the opposite of what you claim and none showed clinical hypothyroidism. The woman you mentioned didn’t get hypothyroid from running.

    Secondly, by your logic, Olympians would be the most unhealthy people on the planet.

    I think you should stick with physics and leave physiology to people who are trained in that area.

    • MagicJack

      Seriously this article is absolute BS.

    • http://www.facebook.com/debbie.thrailkill.3 Debbie Thrailkill

      I am so glad you responded to this! This is who you should believe people a real doctor, not Ph.D candidate!

      • Brandon Christ

        Lol yea. You don’t need citations when you got three letters after your name.

    • Free_Humanity

      He didn’t state that “exercise” impairs thyroid function, he said long periods of steady-state cardio CAN be a contributing factor. Your point about hormone production increasing with intense exercise matches his suggestion to use HIIT.

      He went to some decent lengths to specify the difference between the two and as expected, half the people commenting only seem to walk away with the idea that he’s saying exercise in general is bad.

      Olympians generally have exercise science specialists guiding them through the kinds of nuances discussed in this article, the rest of us don’t. I doubt anyone at the Olympics just goes running an hour a day and thinks that will get them to the winner’s platform.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Geoffrey-Longo/1554642747 Geoffrey Longo

      “thyroid hormone, in most studies, goes up with intense exercise – not down”

      Steady state exercise such as described in the article can in no way be classified as “intense” exercise. That is the key distinction here…

    • dennis

      What about men?, I have been crushing it for 3 weeks in the gym, on the elliptical, 4-6 miles a day broken into 2 parts, seperated by heavy lifting practices different muscle groups each day, and I have shredded over 16 lbs. Of course my diet is a lot cleaner, but in two weeks I was able to accomplish, more than in three weeks of diet change alone

    • Coach Corky Runs


    • natasha

      Love it, you completely said everything I was thinking. I am a personal training with a BHSc, not to mention a marathon runner and member of Team in Training, the organization he decided to say people join to lose weight when, as a matter of a fact I know 100+ members personally and that is not one of their goal, we are a group of people made up of cancer survivors and people who have lost loved ones to cancer, with one goal : raise money for research. If cardio was not good for women I think my body fat percentage would be over 20%, no?

  • Spinning…for nothing?

    This is incredibly informative and terribly scary for those of us who are trying to lose fat. I am addicted to Soul Cycle (Spin/Weights) would you group this in with what you are describing above? A sincere thanks for your time and knowledge.

  • Grace

    I couldn’t agree more with Kiefer. I was a runner for many years and also lifted weights but could not change my body composition to lose the last 10-15 lbs of fat for many years. My body fat was stuck at 25%. I thought more cardio would be better (i was already running 5-6 miles 4-5x per week)so I started training for a few sprint triathlons and ended up gaining a few more pounds. Finally I wised up and switched my training to high intensity sprints and high intensity weight training and was able to decrease my body fat to 19% within 7-8 weeks of starting. More recently I decided to train for a figure contest. My trainer told me NO CARDIO (ie jogging, running). I am lifting heavy, still do an occasional sprint or two per week (even though he doesn’t really recommend them but I love them too much to give up) and lots of walking (walking?? who would have thought?) Amazingly, my body fat continues to drop (about 16%) and I now have the lean athletic look with just the right muscle definition that I always wanted. Mine is not an isolated incident. Google: “marathon weight gain” and you will find many other perplexed people. Some articles will tell you the weight gain is a result of muscle gain.. lol! Trust me, it’s not!

  • Cindy Peterson

    Ok I like this article a lot.. It explains everything I have been going through.. I found out I had hypothyroidism. I was a serious runner for over 20 years. I had to stop running when I injured my Achilles’ tendon. I have gained over 20+ pounds. Now I know why I’m not losing it since I have been trying to get back to running. I’m on medicine for my thyroid , but I want to be off of it. Can I ever reverse my damage? Will I ever be able to lose my weight? Is my thyroid damaged forever? My doctor thinks I need the medicine forever. If I lift weights will that work with a damaged thyroid?? Need help. Thanks for the article

  • http://www.facebook.com/candice.mcpherson.77 Candice McPherson

    I love Tabata or HIT training! It takes less time more effort and burns baby burns!! Love it and do it at TZone Oakville!!

  • EAA

    Author obviously doesn’t understand his own references. Not to mention that there is no money to be made by a trainer prescribing LSD cardio, unlike lame circuit training workouts. Thanks, I needed a good laugh!

    • Ian

      So did I, apparently, because you’ve offered no reasonable argument as to why this is. Why do you understand them better?

  • http://www.facebook.com/vicki.garris.9 Vicki Garris

    I can totally relate to this article!! In the past i’ve struggled with an eating disorder. And, now i simply run WAY too much! Is there a way to speed up my metabolism again or did i ruin it? Also, if i usually run 8 miles a day, how could i possible LOSE weight if i stopped running? I dont understand how that works…

  • Brooke

    This provoked a lot of questions and answer finding in me — as I have been doing steady state cardio to lose body fat. I found this interesting blog which discusses a study on HIIT vs. Steady State cardio in women. In addition to discussing the outcomes of the study (and their significance), it also addresses the validity of the study and data itself.


  • http://www.facebook.com/uly.kachmar Uly Kachmar

    I couldn’t read this farther than a few paragraphs. Your friend “Jessica” is probably still heavy even though she runs on the treadmill all the time, PROBABLY BECAUSE HER DIET IS SLACKING among other factors like stress. Run all day, every day but if you eat poorly, you won’t see results. In fact, diet is just as important if not somewhat more than exercising.

  • Still moving

    I appreciate the argument but I offer this – never seen a fat competitive runner, gotta balance intake with output, no single exercise is an answer. Good health genes, proper amts of food, kinds of food, limit the booze and regular exercise. It all boils down to discipline. I’m not a health freak, not a real runner but won’t let myself get beyond a certain weight and I’m a healthy 57 female. U can’t stay fat if you don’t intake too much. No mystery there.

    • Ian

      Except for the millions of people, worldwide, for whom this whole idea of “calories in versus calories out” doesn’t work. Mystery still at-large.

  • dantheman208

    Great article. I have always said that both men and women should not be doing these exhausted cardio workouts.

  • Am

    Soooo…No cardio or no steady cardio? I started glazing over in the middle of the article…What about exercising your heart? Did you forget about that muscle? It is kind of important.

  • ld

    this article is full of so many non scientific statements It makes me angry…crap

  • http://www.facebook.com/connor.mcgee.984 Connor McGee

    One of my biggest pet peeves when i go to the gym is seeing women come in and immediately go straight for the scale. Most of them are in no way overweight. Our society has become so focused on quantifying a healthy lifestyle i.e ( only eat x amount of calories ..and x is a normal weight) People just obsess on how many pounds they want to lose. I feel like they would be so much happier with themselves if they just focused on how they felt first , rather than what they see on the scale. .

  • Caro

    This is so right… I found out the hard way from my own experience. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism after I had my son in 2003 – i started running and was doing 3 miles 4 times a week for several years and I just couldnt lose weight (tried all sorts of deprivation diets at the same time!!). Then in 2010 i stopped running and took up Karate training twice a week. I also stopped eating sliced bread but didnt deprive myself of food, although was aware of bread intake! After 3 months I lost 14lbs in weight! Steady weight loss continued until I got to my “normal” body weight of that when i was in my 20′s (over 20 years ago). Short sessions of different intense exercise, push ups, squats, crunches, burpies – the list is endless but varied – intense to the point I think i’m gonna keel over then we stop. This article really does make sense. I wish i’d known this info years ago before i wasted the time running but hey.. you live and learn!!

  • Dustin the happy fat runner

    Just one little comment, if you think runners run for 26.2 miles to lose weight, you are very mistaken. Unless you yourself are a runner, you will never understand the pride and self worth you gain by achieving the competion of a marathon. First I doubt you even have a friend name Jessica and you are just trying to rant because you are to lazy to exercise yourself, however if there is a Jessica, I think she needs to stop listening to you and start listening to her doctor, a dietician, and a trainer. As a group they could help Jessica reach her goals while doing it in a healthy and no destructive way.

  • Michelle Smith

    This is interesting. I run 3 miles 3 times a week and 5 miles twice a week and have been having a hard time losing weight. Can you tell me what I should be doing instead?? Thanks.

  • Martin M.

    There might be some ok info about different fuels that the body uses but the blatant sexism, negativity, and disrespect completely kill anything constructive here. There are respectful and positive articles out there that discuss this thoroughly and constructively. Come on, dude. This article is disgusting.

  • Sariah Ellsmore

    what about bicycling, or Skating two forms of exercise i love

  • PE Specialist

    I think the idea behind the article is great yes fad dieting and running or doing a ridiculous amount of cardio to lose weight is not ideal or maintainable. Yes a good amount of mass lost is possibly from muscle loss. Muscle does weigh more than fat. What can be said though is exercise is exercise if it is weight training, circuit training, running, bicycling, or playing with your kids. As long as people eat a sensible diet and stay active thats all we can really ask for. Our society puts too much of an emphasis on getting ripped or losing weight that they end up sabotaging themselves. All we can ask is for people to be consistent.

  • Mich

    I have to say great article but I question the timing of it’s release. With the Boston Marathon Bombing just happening 2 days ago, could you have held off in it’s release out of respect for those “runners” .

  • Dirk

    You know what I hate? Cross-fit egomaniacs that come into my MMA gym and think they are somehow better than everyone because they can do 30 pull-ups. Only to discover all of that weighted jump-squat, circuit-course stuff they do does not translate into any real functional skill. Sure, circuit course work is valuable and is a great way to build cardio and lean muscle mass. However, after repeatedly tapping out,and puking their brains out after a few rounds of Muay Thai sparring, I rarely see them again. It does not suit their inflated sense of self. It’s really a pity, because I see a lot of potential there… it’s just their huge heads that hold them back. One should focus on what works for them…not pitying others, as I’m sure most are unaware of your disdain for their choice of training. Running is a time-tested workout that my Marine Corps. Drill Instructors swore by! Why don’t you get back to me in 10-15 years and let me know how your joints are doing? : )

  • http://www.facebook.com/tuwana.bannymedina Tuwana Banny Medina

    I’ve definitely seen this. I know a woman who runs all the time, and participates in constant marathons…she has even invited me to join one…and for all this running she does, she is really, really chubby. I don’t run at all…I lift weights and my cardio sessions are about twenty minutes if that, and I’m in way better shape than this woman who has the endurance to run for miles. I never understood it, so thanks for this article, because now it’s making sense to me.

  • Mich

    Actually, I did read a few questionable statements in your article, even though good, I agree with DE4 that hypothyroidism does have many our causes. As your article reads that is the way women get it. Men get it too. And obviously, your are not a women because you do not know the reasons why women run. As a mother of a young child, I run because it is the only form of exercise a mother can do with a young one. It gets you outside for fresh air and clears the mind and body of all the constraints put on you throughout the day. Running is a form of detox; with it you can enjoy being a peace and letting go. I can tell you that if you were to ask other mothers why they run, they would tell you the same thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.parker.144181 Mary Parker

    What is HIIT?

    • Ian

      HIIT stands for “High Intensity Interval Training.”

  • anon

    Curious to know what all of these “Jessicas” are eating. No mention of nutrition or dietary habits in this article and that definitely factors in.

  • http://funwithgravity.blogspot.com/ mtnrunner2

    Don’t eat fat and mega carbs together. Done.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leah.greene.98 Leah Marie Greene

    I am a female, and I do a moderate amount of running. I also vary my workouts with yoga, Pilates, hiking and lifting free weights. At 31 years old, I am 5 foot seven and 120 pounds with a 26 inch waist, and have not changed my weight by more than a few pounds the last 10 years. Okay so I don’t have a small butt. News flash: curves are a good thing. Proud of my runner’s bootay. ;) . The reason I do any work out is to cleanse my body of toxins, to strengthen my muscles, including my heart, and to improve my mood and energy level.

    • http://www.facebook.com/leah.greene.98 Leah Marie Greene

      Good guess though as to why I hit the pavement or treadmill a few times every week. Assuming that all women hate their bodies is always a great place to start when giving health advice. Also not following how one anecdote about a friend with a thyroid imbalance who happens to run is a proven correlation between running and health problems. My unprofessional, unsolicited advice? Keep your kicks on, runner babes. ;)

  • what

    Everything you said is wrong.

    • Ian

      Where’s your argument? Where’s your evidence? Where are your references for said evidence? What proof do you have of making such a claim? Grow up.

  • SNL

    I agree 100%- I am an example of this. I under ate and over ran and when I tried to become “normal” no hope— just fat.

  • achfsu

    What this failed to mention is that a smart running training program incorporates more than just steady state running. Strength training plus speed work plus hill/incline training plus long runs plus tempo runs, etc…… make up a smart training program. Perhaps this should go a bit deeper….

  • Anna

    I agree with where you are coming from but I am extremely offended by your inclusion of Team In Training…a organization which I support because they raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to find cures for blood cancers. They are not out there promising ‘lean, and skinny’ bodies but promising to raise money to fight cancer. I’d like to see where your hard work is going besides making people fit for their own vanity. Your reference of them in such a negative way is disgraceful.

  • Alex

    I’m curious as to why only a half dozen of the 80 references are from the past decade. Has there not been any recent work in this area?

    • Ian

      “Recent” does not translate, necessarily, to “higher quality.” A scientist understands that. He’s not after “new” evidence. He’s after the “best” evidence.

  • Daryl

    This is the worst article ever. Because you have three degrees in math & physics doesn’t mean you should spread such nonsense – in fact your degrees are not a credential for human physiology, anatomy, medicine or evolution, and definitely doesn’t warrant writing this kind of garbage.

    Everyone reading this, do your own research, be active, and just enjoy being active. Do what makes you feel healthy and good about yourself.

    Here are my suggestions for an easy google session:
    Tarahumara running tribe
    Female athlete triad (the author subselects a certain group of females with eating disorders paired with exercise obsession)
    Human evolution & cardiovascular fitness
    Cardiovascular fitness recommendations and long term health studies
    Also, because he mentions diet, I’d suggest looking at the work of Lauren & James Colquhoun (Food Matters, Hungry for Change, etc), and alkaline diets.

    Above all, do what’s true for you.

  • Mr Right

    —Hypothyroidism is an iodine-deficiency and can be associated with stress.

    —Exercise is stressor

    — There are many sources of stress, not just exercise which is considered positive.

    —What is exercise?

    —Running, Weight Lifting, Circuit Training, Jogging, Swimming, Walking.

    “Steady-state activities like this devastate the female metabolism. This happens with men, too, but in different ways.”

    —Devastate female metabolism? How?

    —Cardio increases metabolism and caloric output. Increases the ability for your muscles to utilize oxygen by increasing enzymes necessary for fat breakdown.

    —Metabolism is basically the body’s ability to meet the energy requirements. You need more energy during cardio, therefore increase metabolism.

    “Decreasing energy output is biologically savvy for your body. Your body
    wants to survive longer while you do what it views as a stressful,
    useless activity. Decreasing T3 production increases efficiency and
    adjusts your metabolism to preserve energy immediately.

    “cardio can impair the production of the thyroid hormone T3, its effectiveness
    and metabolism[1-11], particularly when accompanied by caloric
    restriction, an all too common practice. This is why many first or
    second-time figure and bikini competitors explode in weight when they
    return to their normal diets, and it’s why the Jessicas of the world can
    run for hours every week with negative results.”

    “If you’re running on a regular basis, your body senses this excessive energy expenditure, and adjusts to compensate.”

    —Obviously your body will lower its resting metabolic rate (RMR), you’re
    starving yourself. The worst thing you can do is restrict food
    consumption and your body compensates by reducing its RMR.

    “Your body is a responsive, adaptive machine that has evolved for survival.”

    —You just said it yourself, it adapts. You exercise by increasing your metabolism, and your body will adapt, your body generates new endothelial tissue creating vessels to help deliver oxygen to your muscles. To sustain these new cellular adaptations requires energy, therefore increase metabolism. How? T3 production.

    “Decreasing energy output is biologically savvy for your body. Your body
    wants to survive longer while you do what it views as a stressful,
    useless activity. Decreasing T3 production increases efficiency and
    adjusts your metabolism to preserve energy immediately.”

    —This does not make sense, basically you are saying do not exercise at all. The only reason would want to preserve energy, if your caloric output is higher than input AKA, starving.

    “Training consistently at 65 percent or more of your max heart rate adapts your body to save as much body fat as possible”

    —Wrong, your body does not conserve fat, its because your body just cannot breakdown fat quick enough to provide the ATP (energy molecule) required at that workload. We rely on the glycolytic system (source of energy) because it can breakdown glucose molecules faster to generate ATP.

    “After regular training, fat cells stop releasing fat the way they once did during moderate-intensity activities[32-33].”

    —Once again, fat breakdown is decreased during exercise because its not fast enough to provide ATP. But at rest, fat breakdown is at its highest and because your body is adapting to your training, tissue repair and maintenance will require energy, but because of its low energy demand, we can utilize the breakdown of fat.

    “Too much steady-state cardio actually triggers the loss of muscle[42-45."

    You do not lose muscle, muscle mass just decreases. Muscle mass decreases because its adapting. Cardio primarily uses Slow Twitch aka Type I muscle fibres which rely on fat oxidation. The other muscle fibres, Fast Twitch AKA Type II a/b use the glycolytic and phosphagen system for higher intensities.

    Why is it beneficial for fibre size to decrease during cardio training?

    -Decrease fibre size, increases the diffusion of oxygen across the cells and the interaction of enzymes and other chemicals to generate ATP.
    -Cardio training increase the amount of vessels affecting the muscle fibres which increases the amount of oxygen and other nutrients.

    "This seems to be a twofold mechanism, with heightened and sustained
    cortisol levels triggering muscle loss[46-56], which upregulates
    myostatin, a potent destroyer of muscle tissue[57].”

    -Myostatin does not destroy muscle tissue, it inhibits muscle tissue growth. Inhibit and destroy are two different things. I said earlier smaller fibre size is beneficial during cardio but that does not mean it will hurt your RMR.

    “Say goodbye to bone density, too, because it declines with that decreasing muscle mass and strength[58-64].”

    Just the impact of your running, as your feet hit the ground, will promote bone density. It will be enough to prevent osteoporosis assuming you consume enough calcium and vitamin D.

    “Your percentage of muscle mass is an independent indicator of
    health[65]. You’ll lose muscle, lose bone, and lose health. Awesome,

    - Wrong, there are many factors that indicate your health status which is subjective to every individual.

    -Even if you do lose bone it is minimal amount that will not put you in any risk.

    -A good indicator of health is your body composition.

    “The combination of elevated insulin and cortisol would make you fat, and
    it would also create new fat cells so you could become even

    Creating fat cells is uncommon at the adult age, what happens is the fat cell gets larger. The link between high insulin levels increasing fat is wrong. High levels occur during exercise to increase glucose uptake in the cell. High levels at rest would probably mean you might be diabetic (type II), and usually these individuals already have high body fat.

    -Cortisol plays roles in stress, not only does it increase during exercise, but also during work, relationships etc. You can’t blame exercise for the sole production of all cortisol.

    Here is why its good to combine cardio with strength.

    Cardio: Promotes a healthy heart. How?
    -Decreases Resting heart rate
    -Decreases blood pressure
    -Increases HDL content, which helps decrease LDL that can cause inflammation
    -Increases enzymes responsible for energy breakdown
    -Raises RMR
    -Decreases stress long-term (not short-term)

    -Increases recovery time

    -Increases nutrient delivery to tissue

    Although muscle mass may get smaller, that is why you should incorporate strength training. You will enhance muscle size but also retain all the affects from cardio.

    For that body you want, strive to be healthy not just for aesthetics.

    Lastly, the author has a PH.D in physics, yes he looked at articles, but does not mean they are set in stone. If you want sources, then message me.

  • Adrian

    Don’t like the title. Running is a great sport. That it should be reduced in its role as a weight loss or cosmetic only pursuit is less than this sport deserves. Too much of this world is ruled by greed and superficial motives. If you love running, you should run, man or woman.

  • Mr Right

    This article should be deleted, you don’t see me with a PH.D in History giving everyone a Physics lesson.

    • Ian

      Let me sum up your argument another way…

      “No one outside of the biology arena could ever possibly hope to develop enough of a productive understanding of its mechanisms in order to relay it effectively to others.”

      Good job. Yet another pointless Argument from Authority. A fallacious stand with zero substance and no help to anyone.

      Next time, try and present some evidence to support a claim. Or keep your annoyance to yourself.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jaron.c.scott Jaron Scott

    New title: Some body types may not react well to heavy cardio here is why.

  • Katie

    Maybe some people enjoy running. Training to meet a time or distance goal takes time, dedication, and hard effort, like any other athletic endeavor. And a good running program will incorporate high-intensity intervals and strength training as well as steady runs. Maybe it’s not the quickest way to cut fat and get ripped, but it has many other amazing benefits, both physical and mental. Training for marathons got me in the best shape of my life. Different exercises suit different people. Don’t write it off completely.

  • Bella83

    Alternating cardio and weight training on separte days along with healthy eating and limiting carbs on the cardio days and a cheat day once a week will have significant results. Don’t forget the water and to switch up the routine to keep the metabolism going!

  • Beth

    Things like this annoy me. I mean yes, I have fat on my body, and I’m not a stick thin person. But plenty of people who make up the running community don’t just run. They cross train and do other things and know that you have to change things up. Hell, how do you think runners get faster if they don’t incorporate different types of training? Your body adapts to any and everything, so it’s not just running. If you go to spin class all the time – your body adapts to that. You should exercise regularly, but your diet is the biggest key. Stuff like this just makes me feel like people have an excuse to not do cardio. But I know plenty of fit women who are runners and they don’t ONLY run. And cardio is about exercising your heart! And regularly! This article is too broad to be taken seriously….why is there not more specific alternatives? Don’t do cardio….ok, then what? Sorry, but articles like this annoy me.

  • educate

    A friend sent me a link to this article I just had to comment. I have a Ph.D in Cell Biology and Metabolism and all the years of study, resting metabolic rate (RMR) would increase with chronic exercise. If you friend is suffering from hypothyroidism, its not due to running. There are external and internal sources that should be taken into account.

    If this was true, every single person chronically exercising would have this condition, whether they are running or not.

  • MagicJack

    Lol this is kinda ridiculous. Made my day. Running not good for your health??? Jeeeeesus where did you come up with such dumb and ignorant idea? Dang, do a proper research on running and cardio and YES its the best way to lose fat. Just wow!

    Now ofcourse, being healthy and strong requires more than just running. Instead of running endlessly for 1 hour, where you don’t actually sweat, run 20-30 min at a good intensity, sweating and bringing your heart rate up. If you jog for an hour but no sweating and your rate isnt rising, well running will be pointless.

    But geeeeeeeeeezus, how could someone trying to sound serious about training condemn running and cardio? It’s…….totally ignorant. So, do your research and don’t post such useless material. For the love of gawd, some people may even believe you…

    • Bella83

      I think they are talking about strictly cardio in excess to 20 hours a week. That is just non sense. I believe that an hour workout 5-6 days a week is plenty!

  • educate

    The title of this article is misleading, this is a story about your friend and their struggle with losing weight, you did not have to generalize that this happens to all women

    • Questioning Literacy Rates

      Realize that the anecdote regarding the friend wasn’t included in order to strengthen the author’s logical arguments, but rather as a means to build pathos. Several people have tried to argue that simply by including the story it invalidates the 80 references that went into the article. I don’t know what article you read, but what I took from this article was not that “all women who run at all ever will develop hypothyroidism”, but rather that “those looking to improve their physique and general health, particularly women, should avoid steady state cardio, as it will likely hinder their specific goals”.

      • David

        My God…someone who understands!?!
        I think I may love you.
        Regardless of gender.

  • Batman

    Ph.D. candidate? Then why is he so stupid? I’ll run him skinny. I’m sorry his friend Jessica is a fat POS, but I’ll run both of them into the ground and make them skinny as F$#^! If losing weight is what you want, then running can’t beat it. If you want to be tone … well that’s a different story.

    • dan

      Keyword is CANDIDATE. It basically means he got into grad school. In other words, he got good grades as an undergrad. College is so dumbed-down these days that it’s not much of an accomplishment (my lazy drunk ass in college managed to get degrees in math and electrical engineering with a 3.5). It also says nothing of his credentials in exercise and fitness as its in a completely unrelated field. In short, don’t take this guy’s word for anything. Just another random blogger in the sea of useless information that comprises 90% of the internet.

  • amyyiable

    If you take a look at the studies he is basing this claim on, they dont really support the outright claim that ” too much cardio can impair the production of the thyroid hormone T3, its effectiveness and metabolism[1-11]”


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1036320129 Brian Sun

    Lol way to blame a predominantly autoimmune disease on cardio exercise. Tell your friend to take some levothyroxine and her shit will be all cleared up most likely.

    • Ian

      Kiefer is not suggesting, by any means, that cardiovascular exercise is the sole cause of hypothyroid disorders. He’s merely stating the immutable, experimentally-proven fact that heavy, steady-state cardiovascular exercise can become a contributor to it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=712405702 Aga Piatkowska

    Absolutely Awsome article! I have just done my first Bikini Competition and did none of the long-steady cardio at all. 12 weeks of hardcore weight training and sprints on a treadmill or bike or sled work,pulling, pushing, rope training and such. At each time I was at the gym no longer then 1h for my weights and 30 min for my HIIT. Great explanation here, will forward to all my crdio bunnies girls who have finally started beliving me that they don’t need to run for hours to stay slim and they are coming around, this article will help. Thank you! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=712405702 Aga Piatkowska

    Awsome Article!!! Sending to all my cardio queen girls so they will finally stop wasting time for the love of God! :) Just did my first Bikini competition and all my workouts lasted no longer than 1h: weights, circuits, sled training, rope training etc and HIIT on a treadmill and a bike. Please women stop running for hours, it makes your ass like a pancake lol anyways, thanks for posting again! :)

  • Rebecca

    the reason she’s probably still puffy and bloated and experiencing hypothyroidism isn’t from running one hour a day. it’s from diet choices and inflammation. check out the whole 30 diet online or the book “It Starts With Food.” All the science is there for you to see how grains, dairy, alcohol and sugar are literally killing us…not running at a moderate pace for an hour a day…

  • KB14

    Four years ago I was about 60 pounds over weight. I started a walk/jog work out at my local park. As of today I have lost 60 pounds, completed 2 marathons, and almost a dozen half marathons. The only thing I did to accomplish these goals was run… and the occasional P90X or Intensity video. I am a runner with a background in exercise physiology. While this article has its strong points, there are some missing facts. I will spare you the boring details, but here are the basics: if you are doing cardio, it takes 20-30 minutes of its max to START burning fat. Prior to this, your body is working on carbs. The comment about women eating pizza made me laugh. The night before I complete a long run (meaning 10+ miles) I eat about 3/4 of a large pizza. For me, this is the only way to fuel my body enough to have a good run. In fact, according to Runners Magazine, pizza and 1 beer the night before a run shows that women, more so than men, perform better. If you are looking to lose weight the best way to do so is to do an integrated approach of cardio at 65% of your heart rate max, which can be calculated by: [(220- your age) x 0.65], sprint work, and resistance training. While I acknowledge everybody is different, running 30-40 miles a week has worked wonders for me. My knee, back, and even shoulder pain are gone. Find something you love to do, clean up your diet, and make the change. I did, and I couldn’t be happier!

  • http://www.bakermatt.com/ Matthew Baker

    So what is the verdict on programs like Beachbody’s Insanity? It’s not really H-I-I-T but pegs itself as “MAX” interval training. Granted it probably works out to be H-I-I-T in most cases because people back off when they get tired, but in general does that program fall into the “cut the shit” category?

  • r.marie

    I understand that ANY type of exercise is pointless if there is no healthy diet to match with it. there was nothing mentioned in the Running article about what your friend was EATING. You are what you eat after all. Running doesn’t make you GAIN weight, but unhealthy foods certainly do.

  • ansimpson

    This is a good article, but you kind of left us hanging. You give us the problem but don’t tell us the solution.

    • David

      Try reading ANY other article posted on this site. You’ll find more than enough solution.

    • DHKiefer

      I promise, I will write a follow up article with solutions.

  • SlimTrimRunner

    People, this article is complete and total crap. Do not listen to its “advice”. Running is the most efficient way to burn calories and keep them off (combined with a disciplined diet). I lost 35 lbs when I started running three years ago and have kept it ALL off by continuing to run. Running is tremendously beneficial for cardiovascular health. Also, humans were DESIGNED TO RUN LONG DISTANCES. It is a physiological truth. There is no scientific evidence to back up the author’s claims–just oversimplified examples of extreme outliers like people with a thyroid problem. For the VAST MAJORITY of people, running is the best exercise you can do. Keep running and do not listen to this slop!

    • DHKiefer

      An you present no evidence that humans were designed to run long distance. I appreciate opinions, but realize that that’s all you’re giving us.

      • FitnessLova

        And this can easily be argued to be your terrible opinion as well, considering most evidence out there (if you are really a PhD then I’m sure you would know this) shows that CARDIO BURNS FAT!!!!! STRENGTHENS YOUR HEART!!!!! BUILDS MUSCLE WITH PROPER NUTRITION!

        • FitnessLova

          DHKlefer, you come across quite rudely in your responses to others… when you present the wrong information expect responses that challenge it… learn to deal with criticism when you post things on the world wide web!

          • James

            And when one contradicts somebody’s researched and scientifically referenced “terrible opinion” with no evidence of their own, they should expect no less than a rude response as they leave no room for a constructive/intelligent reply.

        • James

          You may find this surprising, but the use of CAPS does not circumvent the need for scientific references.

          • FitnessLova

            I do not believe that I need to provide the thousands of journal articles or books that would completely disprove him. Perhaps you should research this topic as well to gain some insight on how to properly lose fat. I’m aware that the use of caps does not circumvent the need for scientific references. I am simply trying to emphasize where the author is mistaken.
            As a very active, healthy and fit woman, cardio is essential to losing body fat.

            Either way, an author of an article like this should not be responding so rudely to criticism. I do hefty amounts of research, reading endless articles and those scholarly authors would never respond like that. It should be criticism he takes to immensely improve on future articles – perhaps one that has some truth to it?

          • James

            I don’t mind an intelligent discussion(and I’m pretty sure Kiefer doesn’t either)…but you, and most other commenters included, provide nothing to work with.

          • Brandon Christ

            I lost 40 lbs without doing any cardio at all. Cardio is not essential to losing fat.

        • Ian

          Why are you so angry? lol. Your loudness doesn’t make up for your inaccuracy.

      • guest

        Human groups never “had” to run everyday for long periods of time. IF anything, they did not have outstanding longevity. It is more important for modern day humans to protect themselves from injury and use all of the latest science (ie, walking with some HIT or lifting like body by science). And remember some people have outstanding genetics that allow themselves to run without a load of problems. Most people don’t have that luck. Great article overall!

    • Bianca Attard

      Totally agree ! This article is complete bull shit and gives people a wrong idea about running. I’m sure that it was written just to generate readers ! Complete rubbish

  • Michael

    Crossfit, and eat healthier lifestyle changes are good ways to being healthy.

  • Caro

    So, if cardio is out, then what is the best workout women can do? Crossfit 3 days a week and maybe interval training a few days a week? Please advise.

  • Riley

    Just so you know fat cells do not accumulate they only grow larger. You are born and die with the same amount of fat cells. Their size is the only thing that changes. When you eat fat you feed your fat cells and the grow.

    • DHKiefer

      This is patently false. That was the common belief more than 30 years ago.

  • P Shermin

    This article would be funny if people were not treating it like it was accurate. You’re comparing to types of exercise that have little to do with each other without looking at desired physiological change or physiology of the person doing them. Just a few thoughts from someone who has studied human physiology:
    1) Every body responds differently to exercise, and endocrine regulation is impacted by many things beyond exercise alone including our diet and environmental factors which I do not believe your studies successfully controlled for.
    2) Your suggestion that everyone (especially women) should drop running is as poorly conceived as saying that me should stop driving because they have a higher fatality rate in motor vehicle accidents. Maybe we need to look at they WAY we run … or drive.
    3) If you need someone to teach you how to run at ranges that are not steady state just contact me and we can arrange a time for me to explain to you the concept of hills, intervals and racing. Free of charge, I’m just that kind of guy.
    4) There is actually fairly good evidence that our very evolution was driven by our ability to perform steady state exercise better than the much faster and stronger predators we were up against for survival. That’s for the article, but I think it might need a little more editing.

    • P Shermin

      Oh, I’m not arguing against the ineradicable benefits of higher intensity training, just that you are packaging what you are selling in a misleading way. Don’t lie to people, it makes for an ignorant athletic community.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Sumi09 Sumi Allen

    Cardio and fasting oxidizes leucine. Leucine and ribose are both necessary for leptin which translates to thyroid stimulation. Leptin upregulates IGF-1 which blocks ACC that triggers Malonyl CoA which blocks CPT-1 (CPT-1 pulls fatty acids into the mitochondria to be oxidized for energy).
    Antioxidants are necessary for the absorption of necessary nutrients.
    Alas, running. Running stimulates the blood flow, increasing the detox process. Running not only burns fat (As evidenced by an increase in VO2Max when runners “hit the brick energy wall”) but RUNNING DROPS GLUCOSE LEVELS.

    I for one have PCOS which means I’m “prediabetic”, yet my glucose is well under 100. :)
    All I did at that point was cut out the high fructose corn syrup out of my diet and keep running, I didn’t even get into portion control yet and lost the easiest 5 pounds ever. Losing weight is only part of the story.

    I actually like to run, I enjoy my vitality. Marathons are celebrations of the miracle which is the human body.

    Not only that, Running drops glucose levels. If you can’t run due to medical issues or injuries, walking works. So does riding. Or Zumba. Just get active.

    Leucine blocks valine, which is the terminal that carries glucose in your blood. All of that glucose translates to oxidized or rusted blood cells which ages you. Sorry Son, the joke’s on you.

    I prefer toned to catchetic anyday. I prefer confidence and good health.
    BUt then again… look at what arginine/nitric oxide and steroids do, hormones, alanine, cytokines with insulin spikes, arginine as a result of vasolidation at the end of insulin spikes triggering all of those nasty little inflammatory cytokines…all of that stuff drops your thyroid. That krap increases your risk of cancer, heart disease, it slows your metabolism and IT AGES YOU.

    Everyone I know (runner or not) that stayed active and ate exactly like this was SKINNY. Again, no high fructose corn syrup, very low in saturated fats, no arginine, no taurine, no steroids, no hormones…

  • Tomas

    All I can say and Matt has said it before is Squats. Take the time to learn proper squats. For me this process took two months before i could even put plates on the bar. The technique is not easy, but the results are great. Squat deep and once you can properly squat, start doing deadlifts. Combine this with the before mentioned High-Intensity Interval Training and don’t eat carbs after dinner and your pounds will fly off really fast.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kristin.weinzierl.5 Kristin Weinzierl

    “She had hypothyroidism, Her metabolism had slowed to a snail’s pace, and the fat was accumulating. This was her body rebelling” Let me set this straight, running DOES NOT accumulate fat, nor does it increase your blood pressure, nor does it give you hypothyroidism, what a terrible example buddy! Running does in fact HELP you lose weight AND keep your HEART healthy. Lifting, yoga, swimming, spin…the list goes on, are ALL good for you. EVERYTHING IN MODERATION! P.S Fund-Raising marathons?? Really dude? Have you ever checked out what the fundraser is? They actually HELP others who are less fortunate than some, clearly your’re not one of them. Get back to lifting and stick to what you know because clearly it’s not running. Yours truly; avid runner, weight lifter, spinning instructor, group fitness instructor, running coach and a Masters degree in Exercise Science.

    • David

      You’re a Masters degree in Exercise Science?

  • Runner

    I am so offended by this article. 1st I run for my heart health, my peace of mine, and my sense of accomplishment – not to be crazy thin. 2nd I played rugby, sprinted, and lifted weights for years. I recently switched my training to long distance running in training for a half marathon. In 4 months I’ve lost 10 pounds. Women should do the exercise that makes them feel good and feel good about their image

    • fellow runner

      I was not offended by this article. it was directed at those interested in physique which, as a runner, is different than my primary goal

  • Frank Parth

    This guy is a muscle head that did steroids for sure. How would he know how to get healthy non drug users in shape? He hates cardio, because he build is body into a stiff rock that couldn’t move in ways it should and gets tired after like a mile. TRUST ME RUNNING WILL HELP YOU LOOSE WEIGHT. High intensity or not it will all help tremendously. Never seen someone cross a marathon finish line more than once that wasn’t in shape!

  • STFU

    You scientific ass clowns are the ones who told those people to do those exercises you feel no sympathy for. The crap you guys put out changes every day. There is always some study that says to do this exercise and then a study that says oh no we were wrong about that last thing, now you should be doing this one. This time we mean it. Forget about that last thing we said.

    All you “gurus” are a joke.

  • FitnessLova

    This is the worst article written on fitness I have ever read… your ideas make zero sense. You say you lose muscle mass and bone density.. that is so untrue – unless of course you are not giving your body what it needs post-workout such as protein! Losing fat is 80% about what you eat and ONLY 20% your workouts. Your friends and others you “consistently see in the gym gaining weight whilst performing cardio” is likely going home straight after to eat junk! You need to feed your body the nutrients and minerals that it needs to replenish itself after you workout.

    Cardio burns fat, gains muscle and gives you a stronger heart. You cannot lose fat % from simply lifting weights.

    I’m sorry but this is a ridiculous article and you are simply confusing people with the wrong information.

  • Sasha

    This doesn’t fit my experience at all. I run because I love it. It keeps my mood sunny and optimistic. I run an hour a day, every day. If I stop for a few weeks, I get fat, simple as that. Over the years I’ve done weights, I’ve done low impact cardio. And nothing, not even interval training has ever trimmed my body, and flattened out all the lumps like running has.

  • runnergirl

    This article is absurd. To say you’re painting in broad strokes is a ridiculous understatement: this should be called “My friend Jessica has a thyroid problem”. Kids, if you run hours every week and eat a healthy diet, you will lose weight, and you will tone up your physique. Furthermore, our bodies absolutely were made for running–read the bestseller Born to Run. What they weren’t made to do is overeat eat the processed garbage of a western diet. Running is one of the most natural things we can do; we were actually designed to do it. Anyone, male or female, who is running every day and getting fatter is lying about what they’re eating. The end.

    • no

      I’m glad more people are disagreeing but i’m afraid your comment, like mine, will soon be gone.

  • M. Beth

    I don’t agree with all the information in this article. If you want to know what is factual & science based, you’ll find it in Scientific journals. We are all individuals. We are not all effected the same way by the same diets/exercise. I have Hypothyroidism. As does my sister, grandmother, and Aunt. I have been a runner for 23 years, but I also weight train (muscle burns fat) bike and do yoga. Cardio does not cause hypothyroidism. My sister has never done cardio. She is paralyzed, in a wheelchair, and despite this, she has always been slim! I don’t run consecutive days (to protect my body) However, running has always been my key to getting/staying lean. Diet is 80% of it.

    Be your own advocate, do your own research based on fact, not silly articles like this one. One size doesn’t fit all ;)

    • Ian

      Just a suggestion… perhaps you ought to read all of the well-cited “scientific journal” articles Kiefer actually referenced for us, above.

  • BrandonUB

    That must be why marathoners and triathletes are always such fatties, right? What, they’re not?

  • Jennifer C

    Hey DH, great article. So, what is your suggestion for a woman who is completely sedentary and up 40lbs over the last 8 years? No running. I got that. Weight training?

    • DHKiefer


  • Drmbhete

    Once again, exercise has variable effects on the levels of thyroid hormone – most studies showing a slight increase – not a decrease as you claim. But these are adaptive mechanisms. Exercise does not cause clinical hypothyroidism.There is absolutely no evidence for this. And regarding weight loss, all my training as a graduate student in Clinical Nutrition at Cornell and my experience as a physician and my close observations of a successful NCAA Division 1 track program tell me one simple truth – it you expend more energy than you take in – you will lose weight. To suggest that energy expenditure will somehow make you fatter is patently ridiculous. And if you stress your muscles (to a point) – they will become stronger. And cardio workouts will improve your cardiovascular performance, make your heart muscle stronger and improve the blood supply to all your organs. This is a really bad article written by somebody who was probably blown off by “Jessica” at the gym one day and decided to take his personal rejection out by writing a pseudo-scientific article that condemns “Jessica’s” training routine.

  • Nicholas

    Humans in the Neolithic were long distance game hunters meaning steady state cardio was necessary to survival.

    • a neolithic human

      1. The neolithic era saw the rise of agriculture and the domestication of animals, humans had no need to persistance hunt as they had access to tools and hunting weapons at that point

      2. The endurance running hypothesis is far from proven, regardless of whatever you may have read in “Born to Run”

      3. Persistance hunting is only feasible in a very hot, open environment such as the african savannah.

      4. Less than 50% of hunts are successful, and are incredibly strenuous, requiring days of recovery, a prehistoric hunter, failing to succeed with this method, would then be likely to die from lack of food coupled with his weakened state, thus removing his genes from the evolutionary story.

      But regardless how humans may or may not have evolved does not change the validity of what we can deduce from observations and controlled studies as to the optimal performance with regard to body composition, which was the focus of this article, not prehistoric human hunting techniques.

  • rodney

    I cardio for my heart, not to lose weight. Also I am 6’2″, weigh 152lbs, bench a bit over 200, leg press well over 400, I run a 5 minute mile, and have been doing marathon distance since I was 15. I have never seen a “fat” marathon runner. At least not a true runner, one that has high mileage at a fast pace with a healthy diet.

  • Beentheredonethat

    This article is right on!!! When I was lifting heavy and competing in figure, my body fat was 12-15%. Then I started training for and running in marathons and ultra-marathons. Running 50 miles a week….I lost major muscle, couldn’t lose weight…just the opposite…I got softer and softer, and gained weight!

  • Benny G.

    Mr. Kiefer,

    Let me first start by saying that I have great respect for your insight and knowledge, obviously you intelligence on the subject is far superior than the masses. However, I believe your article is very misleading in several areas. First off, the title “Why Women Should Not Run”, this implies that running itself is the problem, when that is not necessarily the case. Steady state cardio seems to be the issue you are after, and while there are a few benefits of steady sate cardio (recovery, mitochondria building,ect) I would agree that when it comes to fat loss this style of cardio has little benefit. I understand that you are luring in your readers with a catchy title, but in this case it appears to be more harmful than catchy. Secondly, you make statements about how Team in Training promises a healthier, fit you. I’ve worked with TNT for the last 5 years, and I have never heard that from a Coach, Leader, mentor, or Race Organizer. TEAM is set up as a fund raiser to help provide funds to research cures and medicines for Cancer. I am actually quite shocked that a man of your intelligence and schooling would trash an organization that has provided over 1 Billion dollars towards this research. I know that we as people will never agree on everything, but I think that the majority can agree that Cancer down right SUCKS, and TNT is helping prevent it’s spread. I highly suggest you think very carefully about what your words say prior to typing them, you just never know, maybe the next $5,000 in fundraising might find us a cure. Thirdly, some people ARE born to run. They find their freedom in running, they find a way to express themselves when pounding the pavement or treadmills. I would imagine that you at one point have found that “high” when you are working out, for many people this is done during a run. Not everyone is a fan of HIIT training or heavy weights or Tabata’s or Kettlebells or CrossFit, we are all different and we all have something that moves us. Trying to mold everyone into a single type of exerciser is as crazy as getting everyone to speak English. Again, some people are Born to run (someone has to run and get water for those who were born to lift heavy stuff).

    Again, I appreciate your knowledge and insight here, and thank you for allowing me to post my thoughts as well. I believe in open conversation to promote knowledge for everyone.

  • Doc1

    You know that hypothyroidism isn’t caused by running right? It isn’t her body “rebelling” against exercise. In fact, one of the causes of hypothyroidism is stress, which running can help mitigate. By citing outdated, cursorily related studies, you are certainly not presenting an objective picture of the matter. Exercise does not diminish thyroid activity or T3 production. What effects T3 production is Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, which is produced in the pituitary, and iodine levels in the body. If anything, exercise increases TSH levels.

    Source: med student

    tldr;OP is misleading you on the value of aerobic exercise. Leave the biology to the doctors


    Op’s post is bad and he should feel bad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.johnson.us John Johnson

    Horrible stance on this issue… Run, Diet, And Lift if you can. don’t hate on runners!

  • OMFS88

    This is the craziest shit I have ever read. DH Kiefer you are a bored-at-work-and-looking-to-laugh persons’ dream. Keep re-posting this gold!

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.a.miller.9 David A. Miller

    GREAT article brother.

  • Fasterbrunette

    So thats why I see so many fat runners!
    This might be the most moronic article I’ve ever read. I feel like I’m reading something rejected by The Onion. You know what makes people with thyroid problems fat? Their thyroids. Not running.

  • http://twitter.com/Frank_Lehman Phranqué

    just saying… last year at this time i weighed 265lbs…. i now weigh 215 and i’m still comfortably losing weight. i’ve been training for a half marathon and ive still managed to lose body fat…. i don’t do hours of cardio every day… but i do run about 4-5 times a week. i maintain a healthy diet….. the key to losing weight is just exercise and eating right… eat what your body needs to your physical output and make sure its healthy. there is no magical trick to losing weight

    also my girlfriend has been losing weight steadily for year, about 30 lbs, and she has been dieting and exercising

    i think the problem is, that people want to lose 10lbs in a week, 50lbs in a month… its not going to happen… i can completely see how people who starve themselves and try to burn more calories than they intake every day don’t really burn fat or lose weight….. it has to be done over a long period of time…. i didn’t lose 50lbs in a month, i lost it in 12 and im still going…. running can be a good tool for losing weight and its a great and fun exercise, but just the same as everything in life… moderation is key.

  • http://twitter.com/Frank_Lehman Phranqué

    ust saying… last year at this time i weighed 265lbs…. i now weigh 215 and i’m still comfortably losing weight. i’ve been training for a half marathon and ive still managed to lose body fat…. i don’t do hours of cardio every day… but i do run about 4-5 times a week. i maintain a healthy diet….. the key to losing weight is just exercise and eating right… eat what your body needs to your physical output and make sure its healthy. there is no magical trick to losing weight

    also my girlfriend has been losing weight steadily for year, about 30 lbs, and she has been dieting and exercising

    i think the problem is, that people want to lose 10lbs in a week, 50lbs in a month… its not going to happen… i can completely see how people who starve themselves and try to burn more calories than they intake every day don’t really burn fat or lose weight….. it has to be done over a long period of time…. i didn’t lose 50lbs in a month, i lost it in 12 and im still going…. running can be a good tool for losing weight and its a great and fun exercise, but just the same as everything in life… moderation is key.

    also i haven’t lifted weight or done any of this crazy cross fit stuff or any other fitness craze. i’m running.

  • http://twitter.com/SugarRush66 SugarRush

    Jessica’s T3 didn’t return to normal b/c she stopped her crazed running. It returned to normal b/c her doctor put her on medication.

  • http://twitter.com/Scienteer Stephen D. Williams

    This is wrong on several levels. First, the best benefits from cardio, and especially stead-state cardio, is vastly improved cardiovascular health, function, and long-term health. This is likely more important than everything else, including weight, and includes better brain and emotional health. Second, many people overcompensate for any exercise by eating too much, stopping by Starbucks for 1500 calories after a 400 calorie workout. And when they have a lull in exercise, they keep eating too much, ballooning out of habit when they aren’t draining those calories. Consistency, especially habitual endurance workouts, are one of the best ways to do this. Third, it is far better to have muscle tone and be a little heavy than to be thin and flabby. It is healthier, sexier, and more fun because you can participate without wilting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=641083204 Lily Torres

    WOW in only 2 weeks her T3 count was back to normal? That’s amazing!
    I don’t run. I have never enjoyed running, never liked the impact it had on my body, it as just too hard, compressing my spine, and I also have a low back injury. I had Hyperthyroiditis once, which is similar to or closely related to Hyperthyroidism, except it is what happens to some women after childbirth. After that I was fine. I tried joining a running group, but could not even keep up with them. Some of these people are crazy and they run quite fast. But I have to admit I think I noticed what you described in your article. Many of them looked soft, I looked like I was in better shape than most of them. I see this pattern also for many cyclists? What do you think?

  • Drew

    “If you waste energy running, your body will react by slowing your metabolism to conserve energy. ”

    By your logic, remaining completely sedentary would get rid of all those pesky physiological adaptations to exercise. As a physiologist, this article is truly cringe worthy. However, it will make for a good lesson for my students with regards to critical thinking and gross misinterpretation of science.

  • Katy

    You are making a broad statement to “stop running.” I get that you are targeting the idea of steady-state carbo. But encouraging people to be sednetary isn’t such a great plan either. Personally, I can’t stand gyms or treadmills. But I make it through the work day knowing I can go outside later and hit the trail. For a not-so-over the top 40 minute run where my head gets cleared and I come home with energy and peace and can take care of my family. I tend to make better health decisions when I run, too, because I feel good after I sweat and I feel better about myself for being active. Don’t be so quick to suggest that our “bodies evolved for survival” – decreasing energy output kind of suggests that we should sit on the couch and conserve energy! Nobody feels good about themselves when they live life like that. Everything in moderation…

  • Gal

    This is maybe those most inaccurate article Ive read in awhile. You should find something new to hate. These huge runners are not running to lose weight. Maybe your friend is. But when you talk about all the cardio lovers, they are going for the cardio and pulmonary benefits. Continue running! It is absolutely AMAZING for your bones, your heart, your lungs, your EVERYTHING!! Obviously it is beneficial to have a weight training program as well, but CONTINUE RUNNING!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1451076494 Jessica Ortiz

    Obviously the writter of this article doesn’t like running.

    • DHKiefer

      I don’t like excessive cardio because the research led me to this opinion, as has working with hundreds of female clients. I have nothing against running per se, as I try to encourage my athletes to go out and do wind sprints when possible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeanette.dames Jeanette Dames

    What would your advice be for those of us who have had a thyroid removed – cannot find a sympathetic physician to help us -( they just keep telling me to diet and it does not work) and I love to run – I have been a runner all my life – still love it and do it for the love of it. I know it tones me up a but but since I have NO thyroid regulation except my prescription which does prevent fatigue but from what I can tell, not much else, I face a depressing situation daily. I have excess fat I cannot get rid of and no combination of food intake seems to change that and believe me I have tried everything

  • DRun85

    This article and all the articles like it are very misleading. “Cardio” is not ineffective at burning fat but it all depends on your age and workout history. The older you get the body starts to lose muscle and muscle is what will burn fat so if you don’t have a lot of it you can’t burn fat. The older you get you need to combine weight training to build or maintain muscle and long sustained full body cardio to burn a lot of calories per day and get rid of excess body fat. 3500 calories = 1 lbs of body fat. The other issue is that most people do not do cardio exercise correctly. They either stop too soon or are working too hard, meaning that their heart rates are too high. Burning fat requires your heart rate to be about 40-60% of your max heart rate for periods greatly than at least 20 minutes to work correctly. Most people’s heart rates exceed this zone and cross a person lactic threshold (building up of lactic acid in the body which is also why people feel sore after working out). Do yourself a favor and Don’t listen to the diet or fitness trends, learn about it and KNOW for yourself. You don’t need to work harder, work smarter!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Geoffrey-Longo/1554642747 Geoffrey Longo

      So much misinformation here…cardio is VERY ineffective at burning fat. Working too hard? It is like you didn’t even read the article.

    • DHKiefer

      There is a significant metabolic difference between burning fat and mobilizing fat from adipose tissue. Just sitting at your desk or sleeping burns fat. Excessive cardio prevent the mobilization of body fat.

  • Tyler

    Perhaps they’re not doing what they do in order to please you. Did you ever think of that? Just MAYBE they’re doing what they do because THEY want to do it. There’s a moderate-to-significant chance they also don’t really care what you think.

  • Sabina T.

    This article is slanted. Not only is it written in an angry, condescending tone directed at the very population the author claims to want to help, but the science is presented in a misleading way. The author keeps saying “too much cardio” is bad for overall health without quantifying how much is too much, and glossing over how proper stints of cardio can be health-supportive and may in fact help the metabolism speed up. Proper, balanced diet is crucial. Crash dieting also causes weight gain because the body goes into survival mode due to sudden and stark dietary restrictions; modern nutrition science agrees with this. The author fails to paint a full picture of the cause and effect of diet combined with different intensities of cardio workouts. He or she is reducing the argument to extremes, arguing in favor of no running as opposed to running “too much.”

  • Hector

    I’ve seen the opposite of what is described in some women. No universal answer

  • Bob’s your uncle

    A GUY wrote this article?? HAHAHAHA, that explains A LOT!! #Iamnotacardioholic #Irun2feeltheendorphines

  • marylanser

    wow…that is very interesting….and I never thought about the bone density issue. My daughter, the mother of two small children, is addicted to cardio and she is skinnier than I have ever seen her, she is obsessed with cardio. She literally “trains” as if it was a part time job. I think it’s even wrapped up in her identity and there is a lot of competition around it, which she seems to crave.

  • Tracey

    For someone with such fabulous credentials, he writes like an arrogant twit!

  • http://www.facebook.com/samantha.m.leach Samantha Ryckman Leach

    So if I need to run to pass a physical fitness test, and nothing to scoff at either (at least 12:30 for 1.5 miles), what’s the best way for me to train for that? I am a terrible, terrible runner…

  • http://www.facebook.com/taryn.carl Taryn Carl

    I personally have hypothyroidism and have had it since I was 13. I am a triathlete and run 4-5 times a week plus mix ins with crossfit, cycling, swim specific exercise and specific weight training for different muscle groups. It totally depends on your body type, what works for YOU as well as the goals you are trying to achieve.

  • Aaron

    dear tough guy, not everyone knows the right routine but they still try. shove your self righteous bull up yours because i doubt you know about anything other than slammin iron, which means dick all in the real world, the only thing that makes you feel good is putting down people who don’t have proper form or technique? bud, i don’t care who you are, i aint big but in the REAL world i would crush you, no technique or lift will help you when putting in 900 lbs of transmission on a road tractor so shut your friggin mouth. your muscles are bull so stop trying so hard you tool.

    • Aaron Carr

      oh, and i bench 350 and squat 700 so before you play me as a hater, i aint, I lift, your just a douche

      • Jason Detwiler

        Why is your bench so small?

    • DHKiefer

      Again, a perfect example of a thoughtless response. Aaron, if you’d read the article, you’d see it’s there to be helpful. The only people I trash are figure and bikini coaches who, without any idea of what they’re doing, prescribe hours and hours of cardio. There is nothing self righteous here. As per your assessment of my physical abilities, at one time or another, I’ve done just about everything competitively, including 120 mile bike races.

  • http://www.facebook.com/khushali.patel.75 Khushali Patel

    i am about to start gym for losing weight… m scared hearing this that cardio can also effect inversely and in case it would happen than being to loss i will gain !!! ? ?… please be convinient and give me proper guidence.please

  • No

    First of all, for someone to assume a person is at the gym to “lose body fat” is the dumbest shit.

    And then to say that women shouldn’t run because it makes them fat? And that this guy feels as though he has the right to scrutinize a woman’s body just because she is at the gym?

    See, that’s that shit I don’t like. It’s 2013, I hear men say how much they hate feminism because “we are whining about nothing”, yet I as a woman can’t do an activity at the gym for enjoyment, without some guy there thinking he is qualified to make judgments about my body and choices.

    Fuck that shit man, nobody is here for that nonsense.

    Also, a woman is not saying “yes” because she’s moving her thighs outward. I don’t care if it’s a joke, the author couldn’t even get to his main point before insulting me horribly.

    • DHKiefer

      As per your first line, statistically, 90% of women when joining a gym do so for weight loss, so this is a valid assumption within the scope of this article.

  • Michelle

    I got a kick out of reading everyone’s comments. Thank you for making my Friday! I’m amazed at how easy it is for people to be snide when they don’t agree with someone. This guy has done a lot of research and spends a lot of time trying to make a difference in people’s lives. You should at least have respect for that. If you don’t agree with him at least present some facts to back it up. I read the article and I’m intriuged enough to go and do more research on my own.

    • DHKiefer

      This may be the most thoughtful comment here. Thanks.

  • Elliott Reid

    I think the problem is that we are made for it, rather than not being made for it. Hunter-gather societies generally have lower metabolisms and can be performing moderate based cardio 8hrs/day. Training is essentially stimulus-response-recovery so the stimulus needs to be significant enough to break normal homeostatic regulation for an abnormal response i.e. increased metabolism and lean muscle mass

  • Super C

    I agree with most of this having run a few half-marathons but I do love running… Now, however, I am not interested in running more than 5-10 kms at a time, 2 to 3 times a week and doing Crossfit other days. Is this level of running also unhealthy?

    • DHKiefer

      Well, coupling it with CrossFit may be. There’s only so much your body can recover from on a regular ongoing basis, so you run the risk of physical stress and injury. Your running schedule alone, however, is fine if you’re eating enough to recover.

  • Tara

    I’m a runner and I typically do workouts and very rarely do steady cardio. I do interval training, sprint workouts, tempo runs, etc. Does this writing include those types of cardio? I also try to incorporate weight training 4-5 times a week.

    • DHKiefer

      No, it does not include those types of training.

  • windwhispers

    We have been running for 2 million years, eliminating it would be devastating to the human race. Nothing strengthens the density of our bones like running, even weightlifting doesn’t compare. Endurance is the mark of a mans health, running is the number one form of cardio to build this endurance.

  • http://www.chewthefat.net/ Daniel Bassett

    Hmm it’s an interesting hypothesis you propose. However, a nature paper in 2004 suggests we evolved too run. Here is a quote ‘Homo, evolved from more ape-like human ancestors, Australopithecus, 2 million or more years ago because natural selection favored the survival
    of australopithecines that could run and, over time, favored the perpetuation of human anatomical features that made long-distance running possible.’ Here is the link – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041123163757.htm

    They cite previous research by University of Utah biologist David Carrier, who hypothesized that endurance running evolved in human ancestors so they could pursue predators long before the development of bows, arrows, nets and spear-throwers reduced the need to run long distances. Here is another link by BBC showing this very early form of hunting in action on the African Savannah.- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=826HMLoiE_o

    I guess one argument would be that woman didn’t do this type of hunting. But they still must have evolved to a large extent for this type of activity as they have all the adaptations men do for long distance endurance.

    Anyway, food for thought.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tina.kuczaj.5 Tina Kuczaj

    So is it ok to weight train and run maybe twice a week ?

  • http://www.facebook.com/cheryl.sweeter Cheryl Sweeter

    I have Hypothyroidism. I deal with all of this every day. Two years ago I quit smoking with the help of Chantix. I started walking, did that for about a year, then moved from South Texas to Arizona and started working out daily. That’s when changes started to happen. In the last year I lost 9 inches from my waistline, but gained 3 lbs. (muscle weighs more than fat), I changed my diet. Many foods I can’t have because of hypothyroid disease or the medication I take daily to keep it in check but also eating healthy really boosted me. Lifting with weights has helped me started to get my strength back in my upper body. I have now had “PERFECT” blood work scores come back for over a year now. What I put in my body and what I have done to my body have changed my body. It’s all about positive thoughts, positive eating habits, positive workouts. Staying Motivated

  • Kristin

    There are no supporting facts in this article, just opinions!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=23932565 Matt Decuir

      He cited 80 sources in the article though. Those numbers in the brackets reference his sources, which he has listed on the bottom of the article.

  • no

    i see you’re deleting anything disagreeing with this article, how mature! props to you you misogynist

    • David

      Judging from the absurd amount of comments here that disagree with the article…I highly doubt that that’s the case.

  • Jessica

    Finally, someone who gets it. Someone who isn’t just screaming at me the whole “less calories, more cardio” shit that I get beat with everytime I try to say something isn’t right. I have totally suffered from this and I have backed off now, but I still want to keep swimming 4x a week because I want to compete in swimming, but it seems I’ve really screwed things up now. Not sure how I can keep going with the swimming and get my thyroid levels back to normal. I stopped dieting so much (but still under maintenance levels) in hopes that that would lift some of my cortisol levels but as you’ve said, I actually just gained some weight back. This sucks.

    • http://fakepolystyreneman.tumblr.com/ Jason

      Jessica. You need to understand that with swimming there’s a insulation effect that your body has. You see because you spend so much time in the pool and pools are generally colder than the body likes. This creates a stress on your biology. As a result your body treats this as a survival situation and activates more fat cells to insulate your body with a layer of fat. It’s important to understand that good swimmers do a lot of cross training (dry land training) in addition to their swimming training. Dry land training for a swimmer would include some moderate land cardio. But mostly muscle development with body resistance training and weight lifting. This augments the time in the pool and helps keep to cut through that fat so you have a nice defined muscle tone.

  • Kells

    I’m not sure if I believe this one hundred percent but I do build muscle, keep the fat off, and look better all around when I limit cardio to zumba once or twice a or do power yoga. I used to run but my body did stay the same. I’ve just started working out again and I’m 5’5 at 115 lbs. I’m lean and tone and working on gaining 5 lbs. of muscle. Honestly, yoga, a healthy diet, zumba once or twice a week for 45 min., and light weight lifting is keeping me looking good! Flexibility helps you look more lean as well. I’ve also noticed that eating a huge healthy breakfast with a lot of greens/protein in it and eating a smaller dinner has helped keep my pre-prego body. However, I believe it’s all about you and your own body. One workout might work for one person but be totally ineffective for the next!

  • http://www.facebook.com/geemilton George Milton

    That must be why Dean Karnazes is such a fatass. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/30/dean-karnazes-makes-marat_n_1718595.html
    I am a lifelong runner who ALSO recognizes the value of (and practices) things like HIIT, Crossfit, powerlifting, etc. And seriously, if you or someone you know is a fatass, the only way it relates to running is if they don’t. You don’t HAVE to run to lose weight but I’ve been running for 20 years and the only thing it’s ever done for me is make me not a fatass. I am so sick of people telling other people that running is bad for them and bacon is good for them. Please live out that theory to the max and let’s chat when we’re in our 90′s. If your goal, however, is just to get as many comments as possible….well good job then. Keep posting bullshit like this.

  • http://twitter.com/evirosen evi rosen

    This has been my issue for years and NO ONE, as in doctors, will get me the right prescription. I feel like I could have nervous breakdown if someone doesn’t listen to me soon. I have measured serious bone loss, I have Very high Cortisol and high Estrogen levels, I have issue with cold body temperture (measured and true) I have dry skin, serious depression, issues with memory loss that I cant explain but is getting more obvious, and when I was a runner I lost no weight and saw little to no results. I ran 5 days a week at 6:00 am on the beach for 3.5 miles. My blood test shows my thyroid normal but I started crying at the doctor because I am almost sure she is wrong, She wants me to see a psychologist for depression instead. But I am only depressed because no one can help me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10740768 Nayab Rifat

    This is a terrible article! I had a very high cholesterol level and I tried all kinds of workouts. When I started doing cardio which was mainly running is when I lowered my cholesterol level. Why would you post an article supporting less cardio?

    People run because not everyone knows how to use other machines at the gym. So the author is stopping women from doing the only form of workout they might be doing? ESPECIALLY in the nation that is obese with high cholesterol levels and a VERY high mortality rate due to Heart disease. Running is simple and easily done.

    Also, I am in Medical school so I would like to see where this Thyroid hormone with running is being referenced from? Which Pubmed article or Medref says running will make you more prone to getting fat with a decreasing T3 level. Maybe I missed something in medical school and slept in the lecture that said do less cardio and lose more weight? This makes no sense. The author is clearly using a personal opinion. Ladies, please continue to run! Run steady pace and don’t go nuts running, watch your nutrition and you’re okay. By no means is running going to make you ‘fatter’. You might not be the skinniest chick but your arteries will not be clogged and you’ll be dodging a stroke and heart attack.

    P.s. At age 19 as a 5.2′ short girl I was 125 lbs with a cholesterol level of 220+ with all the dorm food. With running 3-5 miles 6 times a week and watching my nutrition.. I brought my cholesterol down to 140 and my weight decreased to 105 lbs. Now 25, my cholesterol level has stayed steady even with my genetic predisposition. My weight has also stayed stable and I don’t lose my breath when I walk up a set of stairs.

  • whatever

    This article was discouraging as I am a woman and I love to run. I have always struggled with my weight although I diet and do different workouts. I run 5K races quite reguarly but just started a couple of years ago. Before I got into running, I was overweight. I am now at a normal BMI index. Although, I am not where I would like to be in my weight, I have lost 15 lbs and feel great! Running helps me feel great and gives me energy. I think my running is contributing to my “fat” loss. The way I see it is, at least I am off my ass doing something. A “fat” woman who reads this is going to feel discouraged and sit on her ass doing nothing which I don’t think is the best solution either. This article is full of discouragment and defeat and makes us “fat” women feel like we should just give up everything. Sometimes women don’t run just to lose weight. There are other reasons too. I run for energy and mainly to keep active. I have 3 kids and at this point it is all I can do.

  • beautyunseen84

    I love this article I found myself doing the eliptical for 30 minutes a day thinking I was acutally doing something to lose inches in my hips I was wrong! Now I do one minute sprints at 6.5mph and 30 squats/lunges in between for 30 minutes and I’m finding this is not only helping me see inches come off but I feel more energized and stronger in my legs. HIIT is the best idea yet…I also throw some turbo fire in for an extra 15 minute HIIT and that is a killer.

  • http://fakepolystyreneman.tumblr.com/ Jason

    For someone who claims to be a man of science. This article makes a lot of baseless assumptions based on “not very good science.” There are so many vast sweeping generalizations in this writing… as well as misinformation, how can anyone take this seriously? First of all, you’re basing your conclusions on the case of one woman. Anyone who conducts good exercise research knows that the case study of one person does not represent the population. This is why medical studies and exercise studies have double blind research with control groups and multiple participants before drawing conclusions.

    I get the cryptic overall message of this article, however, that is the problem the message is very cryptic imbedded in a pile of psuedoscience. Too much of anything is bad for you. Everything in moderation is the best policy. Fine. That’s a fair point to make. However, this article very poorly articulates that and suggests a very negative imagine about cardio. Cardio is not bad for you in proper moderation or with proper training and proper nutrition. Seek the advice of trained exercise professionals (exercise physiologists and nutritionists).

    Please don’t take this article literally.

  • Angela

    This is so dumb. Cardio isn’t working for them because they are fatasses. Ur a fucking idiot whoever wrote this. You “friend” got that issue from the shit she puts in her mouth. I know ten times more people who are in amazing shape and all they do it run. Do some research.

  • clv2013

    I agree with almost everything you have said except your hit on Team in Training. I have been part of TNT for 7 years as a participant, mentor and now coach and I have NEVER been told that I would be slim and trim nor have I ever said that to anyone. TNT has a mission and that is to CURE CANCER- it does not promise a fit body to anyone.

  • thisguyisadouche

    This guy has a degree in PHYSICS, not physiology. This man is a sexist douchebag. If running makes women fat, why are female marathoners slim and fit? The author is extreme and very uneducated on this topic. Cardio combined with strength training is ideal, but cardio alone will not MAKE YOU FAT.
    Lastly, one example of someone stopping cardio and subsequently having a normal thyroid test is the most absurd case study (n = 1) possible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jill.kuyava Jill Marie Kuyava

    First of all, your message to those of us who have some knowledge in exercise physiology is nothing new. However, to those out there looking for guidance or who are more impressionable, your “more polished” version is inflammatory, sarcastic, egotistical, and message sent is “cardio is bad, don’t so it!” Who is your focus group you hoped to reach with this, and do you really think the juvenile way it was presented does much more than make you look foolish? Not saying you have no knowledge of the subject, but your credentials or lack of more than speak for themselves. If you want people to listen to you and get the guidance they need, your verbage needs to be much more polished than this poorly worded intro and conclusion. Wow….

    • Adrienne

      Well said! This will probably be deleted in a few minutes! He can’t take constructive critcism…I just posted something going against him and it was deleted after about ten minutes

      • Adrienne

        Just re-posted it

  • Adrienne

    Give CrossFit a try…it’s a mix of everything, and it’s not a crazy
    cult that some people make it out to be. It’s honestly like a fitness
    support group! I have found it very effective! I did not thing but run
    for about 10 years…I hit a plateau and have been doing CrossFit for about a year.
    Also, what you put into your body is a big deal…Read Wheat Belly by
    William Davis for some scary insight into what has happened to today’s
    wheat compared to the wheat of 50 years ago. Also, with all due respect
    Mr. Kiefer…you may want to re-read your articles before you post them.
    I understand your passion for what you do, but you really come across
    as sounding arrogant. I’m sure that this is not how you are trying to portray yourself but after reading this I was more angry than inspired. I’ve done a TNT marathon…it’s more than a luring gimmick…it does amazing work outside of training people to run. Get your facts straight before you put things down. Running is just like everything else…it’s should only be done in moderation and needs to be integrated with other workouts.

  • Adrienne

    Give CrossFit a try…it’s a mix of everything, and it’s not a crazy
    cult that some people make it out to be. It’s honestly like a fitness
    support group! I have found it very effective! I did not thing but run
    for about 10 years…I hit a plateau and have been doing CrossFit for
    about a year.
    Also, what you put into your body is a big deal…Read Wheat Belly by
    William Davis for some scary insight into what has happened to today’s
    wheat compared to the wheat of 50 years ago. Also, with all due respect
    Mr. Kiefer…you may want to re-read your articles before you post them.
    I understand your passion for what you do, but you really come across
    as sounding arrogant. I’m sure that this is not how you are trying to
    portray yourself but after reading this I was more angry than inspired.
    I’ve done a TNT marathon…it’s more than a luring gimmick…it does
    amazing work outside of training people to run. Get your facts straight
    before you put things down. Running is just like everything else…it’s
    should only be done in moderation and needs to be integrated with other workouts.

  • CW

    I started distance running in college. I’m 29 now and have run 13
    marathons. Back in 2010, i tried to pick up a barbell at the gym and
    hurt my back. I could run endlessly (oh, and I’m an indoor spin
    instructor) but I couldn’t pick up 45 lb without discomfort? I stopped
    kidding myself with the cardio and stepped up my weight training. Now
    i’m deadlifting double bodyweight, squatting, doing reps of
    unassisted strict pullups and pushups. But, in my heart, I’m still a
    runner. I don’t do treadmill running anymore, w-a-s-t-e of time and
    effort unless it’s tabata. I took up Crossfit Endurance and have
    completed one marathon under the protocol. I had a baby in 2012, lost
    the weight in 6 months and regained my strength – I’ll use CFE again to train
    for my next marathon in September.

    This article spoke to the old me. Even with a dozen marathons, countless 5ks and half-marathons, I was still soft. Really thin, generally happy with my body, but weak! I get why people are so defensive about running and their cardio – it’s a tough pill to swallow. I know many women who try to lose the baby weight with running and can’t believe i’m back to my prepregnant state with no running or cycling to speak of. It’s not luck or genetics people! Technique, great form and heavy weight! I feel so bad for the hamsters.

  • sla

    wow, I’ve never read such a copious amount of bs in one article alone.
    personal favorites:
    -If you waste energy running, your body will react by slowing your metabolism to conserve energy
    -Training consistently at 65 percent or more of your max heart rate adapts your body to save as much body fat as possible.

  • Anthony

    Why does this not apply to all female runners/ why are elite and college marathoners not overweight?

  • Erica D

    i work with a trainer. I only do cardio as a warm up, never a full session, but i will still go for long hikes on weekends. i can still lift heavy weights and even do kettle bells. if u need cardio in between, do some burpees. i agree to limiting cardio but not taking it out altogether.

  • Ben

    The science here is a bit off. T3 is the most metabolically active form of thyroid hormone in the body but only a tiny fraction is ever T3 (the half-life is very short). T4 is the common active form of thyroid hormone and is converted into T3 in the blood. Low T3 in many patients has *nothing* to do with the thyroid gland (but has to do with peripheral conversion). T3 responds quickly to all forms of physiological stress (illness, physical activity, need for healing, etc). That’s why its diagnostic utility isn’t great. Isolated low T3 is an adaption and not a sign of hypothyroidism.

    I doubt your friend’s T3 was measured by her doctor as a screen for hypothyroidism. We rarely measure T3. TSH is the test we measure, and is either measured with Free T4 or followed up with Free T4 when abnormal.

  • Cinnamonbark

    …He forgot to mention how running *weakens the pelvic floor* too…ladies it loosens you up!! it’s just HIIT, Weight, and Flexibility training for me!

  • sollife

    I have pilates clients who are slimmer now with three pilates sessions a week, versus their every day intense workout at the gym….thanks for the article. I’d love to hear more about some of the later stage health consequences of low T3.

  • http://USImmigrationTest.org/ NewUSCitizen

    Let me guess. Walk a lot, eat grass-fed beef and lift heavy weights? But where’s the stimulation for the economy in that?

  • http://www.facebook.com/lfelix Lionel Felix

    You suck at knowing anything. Stop that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexvera Alex Vera

    What is this craziness? 80 references for about a page and a half of content? Is that supposed to somehow add validity to this ridiculous idea?

    Here is your training in 4 words: Diet, Strength Training, Running.

    • ZOMG!

      yeah! It’s like he expects evidence to prove a point or something, crazy, right!?

      Here, I fixed your training schedule for you: Diet, Lift Heavy, HIIT.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=710300682 Christopher Kelsall

    What a waste of a PhD. Sorry folks, this guy is poorly informed. The human body is a specialist in long-distance running – we were born to run. Sure there are industries and business that take advantage of that, but this guy is dead wrong on that part. However, he does have a point when it comes to running endlessly for weight loss. Now that is wrong – I mean it works, but it shouldn’t be done to fix bad weekend behavior or poor eating habits or poor general exercise habits, very true. Using the word “cardio” over and over again is an indicator that this person has never run with any seriousness, until he does, he doesn’t have the entire picture. Runners never suggest that they are going to work on their “cardio”, that is gym-rat language. Additionally, and back to my first point, we are born to run! That is how we escape predators, chase prey and usage for transportation. FACT. Just as some like to say, “we shouldn’t deny our maker” – in this case we shouldn’t deny how we were made. Get out there and run and run all you want.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=710300682 Christopher Kelsall

    You don’t like opposing views. Not scientific, Mr. PhD candidate. I see my comment was removed. That’s okay there are other means in which to voice my opinion about your uninformed opinion and I will commence to do that shortly, as I have done so on facebook.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=710300682 Christopher Kelsall

    Second opposing view removed. Well done. Someone on facebook did research into the PhD., looks a little light on credibility.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tom.miller.54 Tom Miller

      What are you talking about? I see 3 comments by you. If you have wrote more than 2 comments complaining about “deleted” comments then you need help. At the top of the comment section their is a drop down to select the order of the comments: best, oldest, newest.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.miller.54 Tom Miller

    Funny how people complain about their “opposing/negative” opinions are not showing up. 80% of the comments I see are negative. Actually read the article and don’t think of Jessica as a case study. Pretty sure he meant to use her as a relatable friend because we all know someone like Jessica. If someone with my poor reading comprehension can pick that up yall should be able to also. Unless of course you have already made up your minds and have shut down accepting any information because someone said something contrary to what you believe/been told.

  • Joelkay

    This article is so stupid and lame on so many levels. Nice treadmill picture, all the women are skinny and fit-hahahahaha. As if runners are typically fat, as if people who run and especially marathons or races are only doing it because they’re completely brain washed. Hahahahaha. Nobody actually likes it-noway. Hahahahaha. Shut up with this opinionated fool. The author is far more blinded than the runners he sees. I agree with a balance and changing things up, but this is so ridic. Yeah, what a shame if if women were “soft” hahaha. It’s def a personal pref thing, but I like women soft. A women can be strong, fit & still soft. I’m personally attracted to women. My wife to be honest. When I hold on to her, I don’t want to feel like I am holding onto a man. Nobody needs to agree with me tho. I fully agree with “to each their own”. That’s what’s so great about it all. Getting fit, getting into exercise, getting into a new sport, or type of gym is all awesome. It’s whatever works for that person & whatever each person enjoys. Why the author is such a moron is because he’s judging people that don’t exercise the way he thinks they should and that they are being tricked. Whereas prolly 99 percent of all those treadmill runners aren’t judging him or others exercising like him. Even if that person is fat and lifting, those CRAZY women running are prolly thinking “good for that person, go get your dreams”. Author=clown.

  • Tilly

    I’m sorry, with an article like that I am seriously doubting the 3 year degrees.

  • Tilly

    I lost heaps of body fat doing steady state cardio like walking and the occasional running outdoors. How does that work then?

  • Melissa Oldham

    You. Are talking down to your audience / as a female runner and fit weight lifter not digging your vibe

  • Karyl

    It’s difficult to understand why so many commenters are responding so emotionally to this article. Maybe the title is a little sensationalist. Perhaps the author can be blamed for not parsing out his points in a clearer manner. But these factors still don’t explain the level of vitriol being directed at him. The author, based on easily observable realities, statistics, and research comes to the conclusion that running (and other steady state cardio) is not as effective for women attempting to lose body fat and MAY contribute to impaired/diminished thyroid function. Nothing crazy here.

    He mentions that diet and nutrition are quite important. He even recommends other, more effective forms of cardio. All he seems to be saying here is that research challenges the “run to tone up!” orthodoxy; the message seems to be run if you enjoy doing it, but if your goal is fat loss then there are better & more effective alternatives. What exactly is so offensive?

    Are you all getting bent out of shape because someone dared to challenge your beliefs?

    • runrgrl

      It isn’t what he said, but the way he says it. He says it in a demeaning way. I think that most people are already aware that cardio will not tone muscles. Your final sentence is in the same spirit of his article. It is an attempt to be demeaning to people. You go past just asking questions and indicate that the reader is ignorant and stubborn. Nobody likes to be told they are ignorant and stubborn. It is the same with his article. If it had been positive and informative, nobody would be upset, but the title is a little extreme (as you point out), and he writes with a very demeaning “voice.”

  • Mia

    So how the hell do I lose weight then?

  • militarywife

    Wow people, I think reading comprehension is a lost art. What the man is trying to say, is that if your goal is to lose fat, hours and hours of cardio aren’t the most effective tool. And I am sorry to say that as a woman I get told all the time…want to lose weight, do more cardio…guess what, it doesn’t work for me, regardless of calorie restriction. Best shape of my life came when I was seriously lifting weights and only doing 20-30 minutes of interval cardio a day 4-5 times a week. And I have several friends who do cardio all the time, eat right and can’t slim down…so his story about his friend was supposed to help us relate…not prove causation.

  • Jeff Padilla

    this article is awful – everyone every-body shape is different, we have different lifestyle a combination of cardio and weight training – body weight or weight you can push feeling the positive and negative of each rep – making you sweat. Also swimming and biking goes well with a fitness plan, wellness is eating healthy at all times – Is a lifestyle. Have fun.

  • cookie


    I shared this with my wife, and her only comment was the mixed message your images send, they are all skinny attractive women mostly doing the exercise you discourage.. wtf.

    On a similar note I generally find your image selection pretty dubious and wish you would credit the source or athlete in the image.


  • honest

    Women – take you advice from a physician, not an undergrad student in math/physics.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.hardy.1217 Tim Hardy

    Perhaps some women for reasons other than looking good in a bikini or simply to lose weight.

  • Mountain Runner

    LOL… Seriously??? I am an endurance runner… running marathons, 50K’s, and this summer my first 50 miler… in my mid-forties, and my body is in better physical shape then EVER… I’m in better shape than most teens… But.. , the thing is I don’t run for the sole purpose of my body’s physique (granted I don’t mind how it keeps me toned), but I run for my psyche… the mental state running gives me, the motivation, the sense of being, the sense of pride, and the accomplishment. I love that amazing feeling when I just ran 20+ miles on a Saturday, “just because I can”… I love the feeling of knowing I am doing something many others cannot… I love the discipline I get from running… the high I feel from the endorphins… I love the mental clarity, and the power it gives me in my mind that I can conquer anything… I know if I can conquer that hill, that climb, that mountain… that I can achieve just about anything put forth in front of me… Gosh.. SO MANY reasons woman should run!!! Oh… yes, and I almost forgot.. I have HYPOthyroidism… I have been diagnosed since 2002… I take my thyroid medication daily… but even with that initially my levels were off… UNTIL I Began to heavily get into running about 7 years ago… My levels have not been off since… So… Just sayin’!! LOTS of Reasons a Woman SHOULD run… and… I am proud to be one of them…

  • Grey Fox

    Haha! This article is hilarious!

  • Charles B.

    The author of this article failed to read and understand his references, “I feel no sympathy”.

  • Eric

    With as much experience as you “supposedly” have in science and fitness, your arrogance and misapplications of science and fitness are laughable. Having been around fitness a long, long time, the benefits of steady state cardio (as you call it anyway) are huge in starting a weight loss program for most, if not all, adults. While I do NOT discredit the benefits of strength training (as you do cardio) as a means to balanced fitness, regular cardio improves the performance of body’s most important muscle, the heart (Yeah dude, its not your biceps!) and helps regulate and sustain weight loss. And for you to mock the humanitarian benefits of programs like Team in Training just shows how shallow a person you are.

  • Runrgrl

    I run a lot and am thin and muscular. I am also coincidentally hypothyroid, but so is my Mom and both of my sisters who do not run. Therefore, I’m betting it has more to do with genetics than running. I also first found out I was hypothyroid when I was not running. I have recently gotten back into running and am really enjoying it. It isn’t about losing weight for me. I just enjoy challenging myself and it makes be feel confident and powerful to be able to run far. The girls that I see running all the time who don’t lose weight are the ones who eat a ton of garbage and think that they can just because they are running. Running does burn calories and will help you lose weight if you are eating healthy.

    Anyway, I just think your article is a little extreme. You really bash running and I don’t think there is anything wrong with running if it is what you like to do. It is still a good form of exercise. However, any sane person who does something to lose weight and isn’t seeing results should know that they should try something else. Therefore, I’m not saying it is for everybody and it may not be the best way to lose weight, but it can help with weight maintenance and I feel healthier when I’m running than when I’m not.

  • renee015

    There is nothing wrong with running. Just like bodybuilders train for muscle fitness and symmetry, runners train for cardiovascular fitness and endurance. Do not be afraid to do cardiovascular exercise! You MUST support whatever exercise you participate in by eating properly! Educate yourself on WHAT you are eating. Try to purchase organic foods whenever possible to get the most out of your food. Talk to your doctor about an iodine supplement. Iodine levels support thyroid function. Foods used to be fortified with iodine but are less frequently nowadays. Exercising out of guilt because you ate too much is not a reason to exercise. Try to get your eating under control and exercise because it makes you feel good or healthy. Eating healthy grains (avoid genetically modified foods – another conversation), clean meats, and lots of organic fruits and veggies will get you there. Your body is designed to survive as Kiefer says. Your body will slowly adjust to your new activity level…just be mindful of your foods and the quality of whatever it is you are eating. No matter what your training goal, be it bodybuilding, marathon running for charity, walking, cycling or just to feel good and be healthy, SUPPORT it with good nutrition! It is a balance…you can do it!!

  • Proctector

    It seems someone has nothing to do except to write nonsense. Please stop misleading others. Do something productive for yourself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Murph1090 Sean Murphy

    You know, when you write an article like this, you should include what women >should< do and you won't look like just another blogger a-hole.

  • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.tamborello Anthony Tamborello

    This guy is supposedly some PhD candidate. Some one needs to tell him correlation is not causation. I’m guessing your friend got a blood draw. They measured her TSH, found it was high (meaning low thyroid activity) and retested her because there was a false positive on the TSH level. Every article I’m looking up is finding positive effects of endurance training on thyroid hormone levels.

  • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.tamborello Anthony Tamborello

    Is anyone actually checking this guys sources. The first one doesn’t make any of the claims he says it does. There is a reason why when you search this guys name only his commercial website comes up rather than a bunch of links to Google scholar.

    • Brandon Christ

      Did you purchase the article?

  • Haley

    Do you have any suggestions for training for events like a Half Ironman? I incorporate weight lifting twice a week and a lot of speed/agility work but I feel like the best way to condition my body for those distances is through doing distance days (usually 2-3x per week). If you could please email me (HSimpson616@yahoo.com) or I will check this post I would really appreciate it. Thank you for your help.

  • Coach Corky Runs

    This is clearly written by someone in the weight lifting world. Many weight lifters believe cardio is evil. One person’s opinion, with information picked and chosen to make a point. I am a personal trainer, sports nutritionist and running coach. I agree that hitting the same cardio machine, at the same intensity, gets the body and mind into a rut – just the same way doing the same weight training program day after day would have the same affect. Also, a few hours at the gym, regardless of what someone is doing, does not give a free pass to consuming whatever food they want. Based on your argument, the world class marathoners out there should be extremely fat because they have no thyroid and no muscle. Ultra marathoners should be huge. Guess what? They are fit, strong people with extremely low body fat. This article is clearly not about being healthy, but about looking good. They are both VERY different things.

  • TLettuce

    Someone should phone up Fauja Singh and tell him to get his T3 levels checked!

    My sister is a triathlete with team USA also, I should tell her to stop running immediately!
    …AND my grandfather who also runs marathons, he’s just driving the nail into the coffin at this point!

    Does this sound anecdotal?? Well so does your stupidly subjective article!

    I’d also bet most of the authors you cited would disagree with discouraging cardio excercise…

  • Deanna

    100% wrong

  • Eric

    “Why Women Should Run”

    I disagree with you.

    You talk about your friend with hypothyroidism and female competitors after figure
    contests like they are the norm. If your hormones are out of wack and you starve your body, yes there will be detrimental consequences. Eating cheesecake factory and desserts does not help either.

    You talk about “wasting energy” running? If the idea is to lose fat, and fat is burned
    doing long slow exercise, I don’t understand your thought process. As your body adapts, your metabolism doesn’t slow, you become more efficient. As you know, fat is the most efficient form of energy at 9 kcal/g (protein and carbs at around 4kcal/g). The body burns this fat sooner with training and more effectively brings in into the muscle cell for long sustained energy. The body does want to survive. At 7% body fat that puts me at 10.5 pounds of
    fat on my body. That’s 4763gramsX9=42,867kcal. I’m a skinny dude, but that’s a
    lot of energy. Yes, high intensity runs burn less fat, but they still burn fat. The point I make is that the body adapts, and fat is the most efficient form of energy when training correctly at
    the proper pace.

    You are correct that the body is an adaptive machine. You are right, you may lose muscle mass, but you don’t “lose muscle”. Slow twitch muscle fibers are smaller than type 2 fibers, but more efficient, and fueled by triglycerides, aka FAT! The muscle doesn’t disappear, it changes. Everybody has a ratio of fast and slow twitch fibers that can be altered with training. With more slow twitch fibers being used and burning their fuel, which is fat, what’s the end result? Fat burning

    “You’ll lose bone.” Are you familiar with Wolff’s Law? If loading on a particular bone
    increases, the bone will remodel itself over time to become stronger to resist
    that sort of loading. As long as you give you body the appropriate fuel and recover time, you’re bones become stronger, not weaker.

    Running correctly for women:

    Get off the tredmill, they suck, go outside
    Change your pace, intensity, distance, and scenery often.
    Cross train, lift weights, strengthen your core, stretch, correct muscle imbalances and
    train opposite muscle groups.
    Stress your body, recover, and repeat

    Give your body the fuel to recover, don’t starve yourself like the women in the article. Get your iron (women need more), and zinc

    I don’t think you should bash running because of anecdotal stories of people with thyroid
    disorders and bikini contest. Only about 5% of the population has thyroid disorders, although more common in women. It looks like there still more research to be done on thyroid levels and endurance athletes. I also took a look at some research on thyroid disorders as saw that thyroid impairment in healthy runners was only a transient response to the stress during a training increase. I also saw that thyroid levels were affected in some of the population, not just during intense running, but intense physical training in general.


  • Eric

    Why Women Should Run

    I disagree with you.

    You talk about your friend with hypothyroidism and female competitors after figure
    contests like they are the norm. If your hormones are out of wack and you starve your body, yes there will be detrimental consequences. Eating cheesecake factory and desserts does not help either.

    You talk about “wasting energy” running? If the idea is to lose fat, and fat is burned
    doing long slow exercise, I don’t understand your thought process. As your body adapts, your metabolism doesn’t slow, you become more efficient. As you know, fat is the most efficient form of energy at 9 kcal/g (protein and carbs at around 4kcal/g). The body burns this fat sooner with training and more effectively brings in into the muscle cell for long sustained energy. The body does want to survive. At 7% body fat that puts me at 10.5 pounds of
    fat on my body. That’s 4763gramsX9=42,867kcal. I’m a skinny dude, but that’s a
    lot of energy. Yes, high intensity runs burn less fat, but they still burn fat. The point I make is that the body adapts, and fat is the most efficient form of energy when training correctly at
    the proper pace.

    You are correct that the body is an adaptive machine. You are right, you may lose muscle mass, but you don’t “lose muscle”. Slow twitch muscle fibers are smaller than type 2 fibers, but more efficient, and fueled by triglycerides, aka FAT! The muscle doesn’t disappear, it changes. Everybody has a ratio of fast and slow twitch fibers that can be altered with training. With more slow twitch fibers being used and burning their fuel, which is fat, what’s the end result? Fat burning

    “You’ll lose bone.” Are you familiar with Wolff’s Law? If loading on a particular bone
    increases, the bone will remodel itself over time to become stronger to resist that sort of loading. As long as you give you body the appropriate fuel and recover time, you’re bones become stronger, not weaker.

    Running correctly for women:

    Get off the tredmill, they suck, go outside
    Change your pace, intensity, distance, and scenery often
    Cross train, lift weights, strengthen your core, stretch, correct muscle imbalances and
    train opposite muscle groups.
    Stress your body, recover, and repeat
    Give your body the fuel to recover, don’t starve yourself like the women in the article. Get your iron (women need more), and zinc

    I don’t think you should bash running because of anecdotal stories of people with thyroid
    disorders and bikini contest. Only about 5% of the population has thyroid disorders, although more common in women. It looks like there still more research to be done on thyroid levels and endurance athletes. I also took a look at some research on thyroid disorders as saw that thyroid impairment in healthy runners was only a transient response to the stress during a training increase. I also saw that thyroid levels were affected in some of the population, not just during intense running, but intense physical training in general.


    • http://www.facebook.com/robin.r.wilson.7 Robin Russell Wilson

      Thank you Eric for your post. Much more informative than the original article.

  • BEC

    …….Is this a joke? What a load of shit- look at proffesional runners who train daily, are any of them fat? While this is unfortunate for Jessica, you can’t generalize from this one persons situation, you’ll find that most people that go for runs, will loose weight and become healthier. Running long distances daily of course isn’t good for you as like you said it will burn muscle, however for those who don’t care TOO much about going to the gym, or lifting and being shredded, more so just staying relitivley healthy and not becoming overweight, going for a run a few times a week is certainly beneficial and it’s ridiculous to discourage people from doing so, not to mention the health benefits running has on your heart and lungs. I lost around 15 kilos by doing nothing but cardio and healthy eating, then started lifting to become more toned once the weight was off, while still going for short runs and what not to keep my cardiovascular fitness up, as reccomended by my personal trainer and I’m in great shape. “We weren’t made for this”.. SERIOUSLY? We were made to hunt and chase our food, and run away from predators. We certainly WERE made for this, actually more so than we were made to lift heavy weights repeatedly (no I’m not saying lifting is bad for you though) This article is the biggest load of rubbish I have ever read and I don’t know how you even got it published. Honestly..

  • powerlifter

    So does this mean i shouldn’t join cross country?

  • Leandra Treusch

    I think the main issue most people face today in their struggle for weight loss is that they apply the term diet to their lives rather than making a life style change.I run every day sometimes and sometimes twice a day and I lift a few times a week to strengthen. None of this would work for me if I didn’t eat right. The more vegetables i introduced into my life the less crap I craved and wanted….the life we want and the way we want to look does not come through restrictions but through healthy additions. (Not to mention have you ever seen cross country runners….I would be hard pressed to say that any of them ever needed to loose fat or that they were lacking in lean muscle.


    This article while it does have some good content is lacking alternative measures to lose weight and retain muscle mass. So you had your rant, how about some real advice. Seems half baked to me, not to mention mildly arrogant says this fit muscled guy who runs! Sprint intervals you will be pleased to know.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jill56 Jill Winkler Johnson

    Impressive credentials, but are they relative to this topic? I agree with the concept, but would like to know about the author’s education background with regard to endocrinology and exercise physiology.

    • Brandon Christ

      Kiefer is probably amongst the top experts in the fitness world on endocrinology. Anyways you don’t need a degree or formal education in subject to be extremely knowledgeable about it. Kiefer is scientifically literate and is able to interpret the research.

  • No nonsense

    While I agree about this approach this article offers no real solutions to anyone not to mention women who this author claims to understand and clearly does not says this fit muscled male. I find this piece arrogant and more of a rant lacking substance. Step up man and of you cant offer solutions leave the problems to yourself. No nonsense

  • Joe

    I expected that by using “running” as the example, Kiefer would draw some fire from runners, but the extent of the vitriol is a bit surprising. Long, slow, steady cardio is not only an ineffective way to a lean, muscular physique, but it also has negative effects as Kiefer outlines. There’s nothing controversial about that position, so it appears the negative comments seem to born more from the style of writing rather than the substance.

    For those commenters who claim we are designed for distance running that would be false on the face of it. To claim a design, one must assume a designer and there isn’t one. Human beings evolved on the plains and savannas of Africa. The most adaptable would have survived to pass along their genes to their offspring. Since our ancestors spent much of their time trying to avoid becoming a meal, being able to sprint quickly for cover would be an evolutionary advantage. Imagine if you had to suddenly sprint for a bus. You could do it without thinking about it much, then sit on the bus and catch your breath and allow your heart rate to return to normal. This is what we’ve evolved to do. If you had to run 3 miles to catch that bus, there’s a high probability you wouldn’t catch it. If our ancestors had to run 3 miles to escape a predator, they’d have been dinner.

    Lastly, there’s evidence to support that distance running is hazardous to your health. Canadian researchers conducted a comprehensive analysis of elite level marathon runners upon completion of a marathon. It included blood work and an MRI of the heart muscle. The researchers concluded that “The blood work indicated that myoglobin, creatine kinase and troponin T – biomarkers used to identify cardiac stress, such as heart attacks – were elevated in the athletes after the race.” Additionally, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons report that repetitive stress injuries from activities including walking over two miles every day can increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knee. Long distance runners and tennis players face increased risk. Dr. Jonathan Cluett writes about the frequent orthopedic injuries related directly to running. The list is long, with the most common being Patellofemoral Syndrome or Runner’s Knee. The knee doesn’t move smoothly up and down in its track, and is very common when the running mileage approaches 40 miles per week.

    So run if that’s what floats your boat. But as Kiefer outlines, if you want a hard, lean, muscular body, hammering away at the roadwork isn’t your best option.

  • Amanda c.

    I walk, I repeat WALK, 1-3 miles every other day. Is this bad practice of cardio. I notice the repeated word running. Am I safe? And will I lose weight as I planned? And if not, what can I do instead?

  • Hypo Runner


    You are not an endocrinologist and you should not be making a blanket statement correlating running with hypothyroidism. I’m a runner, I have hypothyroid disease, and I’m 5’4″, 118 lbs. Would I be thinner if I wasn’t hypo? Probably. Would I be thinner if I wasn’t running? Definitely not. Your friend “Jessica’s” levels might have been off, but that doesn’t mean she has thyroid disease. Thyroid disease must be confirmed with ultrasounds and a longer time frame than a couple months. Furthermore, running is probably one of the best ways to deal with hypothyroidism since the symptoms include weight gain, stress, and depression- all of which running can help alleviate. By dissuading women with hypothyroidism from running, you are doing everyone but “Jessica” a disservice. If this article was specifically geared towards one person, do the internet community a favor and send this message in an email.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mildredyinel.matospolanco Mildred Yinel Matos Polanco

    Is this it? Is this the end? all that bashing and you don’t even give suggestions to replace “all that running” with.

  • http://twitter.com/erica265 ericamo

    So here’s the thing. I’m fine with all your “science” in the article, but change the title. If women shouldn’t run for weight loss, neither should men.

    As a runner, I’m not worried about every single ounce on the scale or centimeter on my hips or even my “bikini body.” I’m interested in — shocking, I know — the HEALTH and mental health benefits of running. Running is a natural mood booster and it’s great for meditative thought, and yep, I’m doing right by my cardiovascular system in the process.

    So, maybe you should say “Women Concerned with the MALE GAZE Shouldn’t Run” and leave the rest of us badasses out of it.

  • Jessica

    Why bash running? What’s wrong with joining a Team in Training? My mother does TIT for leukaemia and lymphoma because she knows 2 people dying of leukaemia right now and my sister in law does TIT for team diabetes because her daughter is an insulin dependent diabetic since the age of 3. I agree that women who starve themselves and do too much cardio is a terrible epidemic, but there is nothing wrong with regular women wanting to train for a race to have a goal, something to strive for, and maybe at the same time doing something good for others.

  • one-more-rep training services

    I Like what you have written here but I believe you made it out be more convoluted than the truth. You were too vague where you should’ve been specific, and too specific when you did not need to be. Good research but it came out a little misinterpreted. To all readers please understand that in general, running is more beneficial than not when done properly. Ask your doctor or any physiologist and they will tell you the same story.

  • Pam

    Do Crossfit

    • K

      …if all you want to do is become poorly trained for all sports

  • Rummy

    You write an article, leading with thyroid issues(namely hypothyroidism) but never once mention TSH? Instead mention T3? I’ll admit, I’m not up on this, but unless I’m mistaken T3 becomes T4, but the most important in terms of Thyroid functioning is TSH – Thyroid Stimulating Hormone – the most important in cases of hypothyroidism(as TSH will be through the roof if the thyroid doesn’t work properly, T3/T4 will be somewhat irrelevant, as they come after TSH) – also something easily remedied by thyroid hormone replacement therapy(this replaces the T3/T4) – thus the thyroid is now working again properly, in theory. Really, to take from this article – if you thyroid isn’t working then see your doctor and get the appropriate therapy that treats this – usually quite effectively – then look at this article and regard it all as bullshit as you effectively have a working thyroid again.

    I can’t check the sources for this as I don’t have access to the journals(convenient, especially as you’ll find journal articles that conflict on the same subject if you look thoroughly and objectively), but even if you ARE suggesting that cardio(which as far as I’m aware is an effective means of exercise as long as it’s less calories in and more calories burned) somehow negatively affects thyroid function(hypothyroidism/poor thyroid function not being an uncommon problem due to a variety of reasons) sounds a bit mental.

    Here’s my, albeit uneducated, opinion – to lose weight you need to exercise/expend more calories than you take in, in combination with which you need to mind most of all your carb intake. Carbs will burn before body fat, but still if you’re more calories expended than in, you should lose weight.

    Yes, hypothyroidism will affect the metabolism and make it difficult to lose weight – but it’s a medical condition that can easily be treated with thyroid hormone replacement – get it seen to, then exercise and probably disregard this article.

  • Klass

    Thanks, makes me feel better, walking and yoga, works for me. I won’t go near a weight machine of ANY description either. Lifing my own body weight is enough.

  • rebekah

    This is not true for every person out there. I’ve seen my best results after running. So this article is completely useless

    • Shelby

      Not necessarily. Granted this article was phrased to say that running is bad, however it is correct in that running constantly can and has been proven to have adverse effects on ones health if not balanced out with other workouts to increase overall health. It’s promoting that you decide what it is that your after, to lose weight (change your diet), to trim down/tone up (do some lifting), or just to increase your health (a balance of all three). Everything about the human body is about moderation, especially exercise.

  • Foxy Lady

    I am tired of people presenting problems without offering solutions.
    If cardio is so bad, what is good?

  • Natasha

    Cardio is essential in calorie burning, which plays a huge factor in weight loss. Your friend may not be losing weight due to a health issue or due to the common cause – abs are made 70% in the kitchen, meaning you can’t eat shit no matter how much you run. As a member of Team in Training I am beyond offended, yes there are alot of people in the organization, but DO NOT say that these people were misguided into believing they would lose weight. Team in training consists of CANCER SURVIVORS and people who have lost loved ones to cancer, or people who just love to run. Find me an advertisement from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society that “tricks” people into believing they will lose weight and I will pay you. This whole post angered me immensely, and please, if you may, tell me how so many people have successful weight loss storys? – Yours Truly, Natasha – PERSONAL TRAINER, active member of TNT, and BhSc.

  • bestlife

    i’m gonna stay fat and empathetic instead of being an antisocial ‘fit’ crazy person. life is way more enjoyable this way. :)

  • Foxy Lady

    you deleted my previous comment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/msu.tmcclelland Tricia Nicole Mulkey McClellan

    I sat on my ass the past two years. Literally. I started having hyperthyroid then went to hypothyroidism. I just started to do cardio and muscle train plus a healthy diet. I come back in a few weeks and tell you my results. I will never stop running again, my inactivity it what messed up thyroids I believe.

  • Sandy Haraches

    This article is cherry picking at its finest.

    Please, people, search the first 11 reference papers and read the abstracts. You’ll see that the article cannot draw the claims that it does from these papers.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tom.miller.54 Tom Miller

      Also keep in mind you just said read the abstracts…

  • Grace

    I wish he would tell us what we should do instead of the running or link us to something that he suggests to replace running.

  • febus

    I actually apprectiated the tone of this article. I don’t need to be coddled. Tell me like it is.period. I’m guilty of running my ass off to no avail…running and running and getting softer and softer. BUT, my blood work shows no problems – so what gives?? HIIT workouts?? Marathon training in the crapper?? I just want to give up and say screw it all!

  • Stay Healthy Fitness

    Great article! sharing on my Stay Healthy Facebook page. Too the point and yes…the truth can be rough…but kudos to you for being one of the courageous to have no concern of possible lashing, but putting the research in terms that are clearly understood and usable for all. FABULOUS! Stay healthy~ Darla

  • http://www.facebook.com/tracey.dill.54 Tracey Dill

    This article should be re-titled and REWRITTEN…it should be Why Women Shouldn’t JUST Run…and then talk about adding heavy weight lifting. I run not to try to be skinny, but because I love to run. I also kick ass in the gym lifting heavy weights, so writing an article telling me I should NOT run is just ridiculous…and it’s only YOUR opinion.
    I intend to keep running…..AND lifting heavy.

  • david

    go gators!

  • Holly

    I am a runner and the first thing I was told when training for a race via friends and even Runners World magazine was DON”T FORGET TO STRENGTH TRAIN. Running can be a great work out and as a female it has done wonders for me physically and mentally. However I always combine running with another source of strength training to even it all out. Eating is a huge factor in that our culture has a terrible habit of over indulging with the excuse that we can run it off later. Other biggest piece of advice I was given when training for a marathon along with adding strength training this is no excuse to over eat.

    Very well put. Honest and brutal, but it’s the truth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.miller.54 Tom Miller

    If everyone is so concerned about what are other options besides cardio to lose weight why don’t you read other articles on the site? There are a number of articles directed towards women. Some are written by men and some written by women. This is an article not a book with all the answers because quite frankly it would be too much info for one article. Also if you don’t like Kiefer’s “tone” you should stay away from his much older articles where he was blunt and far less PC. Might even say he gave CT Fletcher a run for his money haha.

  • Christy

    I would LOVE to get more information on how to lose body fat. I was diagnosed with hypothyroid over 4 yrs. ago. I used to be a runner & ran until I got to the point that I absolutely had NO energy, and was gaining weight on almost a daily basis. After tons of testing (and 40+ lbs. later) I was given the diagnoses. I have lost most of the weight, but see a huge change in my ability to lose the softness. PLEASE help! I am turning 50 this yr. and REALLY want to feel in shape again, and am not afraid of the work! Thank you, Christy

  • Nikki

    I didn’t go any further than the first sentence, when you start out with a low-down insult then I am done with you, why is calling someone fat not in the same realm as other derogatory phrases? Beyond me.

  • tracy

    I am a brand new runner … I do lots of other exercise, zumba, Jillian MIchaels workouts, etc … but I have always wanted to be the kind of person who could do a 5K or a running event like Rugged Maniac, etc … it looks like fun … so what should I be doing???

  • Suzi Gard

    This article is devastatingly presumptuous and critical of body image. You are welcome to offer healthy advice to other people, but destructive words found in this article vanish any hope of fostering body positivity among women and men alike. From what I gather, you have never lived in a woman’s body or lived under a woman’s socially-constructed expectations of what a body should look like. Fitness is not all about a performed image. These bodies are not yours, and they are free to run as they please for the love of it, or for heart and lung health.
    Also, your stance on fat-hating is harmful to women’s body image. Fat is natural, protective, and too often ignored as a beautiful and healthy adornment on the human form.

  • Laura

    Found this article very interesting, but it should give a list of suggestions on how to lose weight and keep fit, walking is good but I was hoping this article would mention some of the “better ways to lose fat”.

  • britt

    waiting the whole time to hear what we CAN do to stay fit, not what we should not be doing.. anything?

  • Brandi

    When I read an article, I do it with a let’s be rational attitude. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, including the author ofa n article YOU are chosing to read. Which, I imagine you are reading the article to get a better perspective of health and overall wellbeing. He is talking about the hours and hours upon hours of cardio that fitness competitors are doing, and by extension the ones idolizing them. Then he discusses the detriminal effects of this. It’s all an attempt (as the reader) to gain more perspective of YOUR own health and development. I personally didn’t take this as GREAT! He says I can’t/shouldn’t be doing any Cardio!! Now what!???? I understand that Cardio is good for…OH that’s right! Cardiovascular heatlh! So then what?? Well, as an avid reader of all things health and wellness I know that 15-20 minutes of HIIT is a great alternative paired with adaquate weight training. As someone who would do 2-4 miles everyday I understand the HIPS hurting,a nd my knees killing me and feeling like my body wasn’t responding how I had hoped it would (this was months ago) and an overall feeling of defeat from what? well now I know it was my body not going in the direction I thought it would by running miles and miles per week, every week.
    Calm down everyone, and thank the people that actually go out there, read the studies (which omg there are so many!) and spend the time to write a wide variety of health and fitness articles for us torea d at home….seriously.

  • B

    This is so stupid. Every bit of this article ignored the simple fact that when you’re training for a show or properly fitness training you eat a balanced and high protein meal every 2 to 3 hours. Obviously if you’re only running and never taking in necessary calories your body is going to react to that situation. Ignorant article plain and simple.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michelemichelemichele Michele Agius

    What about women who run because they love to run and enjoy the sense of accomplishment? Some chicks get off on curling 25lb dbs and some like knowing that 26.2 miles is more than 90% of people will ever do.

    Our bodies were designed to run, actually. The same way they were designed to lift heavy weight.

    I think the problem with the fitness industry is that everyone is looking to sell their extremist polarity views when the real, actual key to fitness (health, wellness, looking toned, feeling good) is well roundedness.

    Unfortunately for most people in the industry, well roundedness doesn’t sell as well as the latest trend that some fitness buff is living and breathing by- although you’ll find another (just as fit) buff selling the exact opposite.

    Tell me, why, exactly again this is titled “why women shouldn’t run” and not “why people shouldn’t run”??

    I’m kind of offended at the attempt to capitalize on ‘womens’ naivety with regards to ‘fitness’. When in fact, their naivety is a direct result of articles like this.

    • http://twitter.com/SallyStrange Sally Strange

      Yes, a more accurate title would be “Why running won’t help you lose weight.” That would also be less sexist.

  • GoGo

    I agree wholeheartedly with this article. I’ve trained for a few marathons, only to gain weight – I was flabbergasted… how could it be that I was running 10-15 miles a day only to be getting bigger and heavier. The first marathon, I didn’t eat right, the second one I did, but it didn’t make a difference. If you want to burn fat – you have to be at your target heart rate (get a heart monitor) AND you have to do strength training (build muscle) AND you have to eat right!

  • zanne

    I lose a lot of weight when I’m running 35-40 miles a week and incorporating my weight training a few times a week and of course, a healthy diet.

  • Revengeofthefallen

    I think this article has hit too close to home for the ‘offended’ runners on here? What’s up, gutted to find out you’ve been working hard for years but still hate your unshapely body?

  • Danyelle

    I have unfortunately seen this article making its way through Facebook. The first time I read it, as a runner and someone who enjoys any fitness activity I can get my hands on, I was intrigued. However, I was sadly disappointed at the article. The writer is pretty contemptuous and seems like he is just on a disorganized rant. Love the photos of scantily clad women also showing us just how thin we (women) can and should want to be. I am not defensive because I enjoy running (and any physical activity), I am defensive at the inherent sexism and lack of clear information in this article. Further, if the bio included on this page is true this PhD should be pretty disappointed with his research writing skills, the article jumps all over the place with regard to the audience. FURTHER: I actually went to the EliteFTS.com site, mentioned at the top of the article, trying to find DH Kiefer and this article and couldn’t find either of them on that site. Perhaps they are there and just required a little more searching. What I did find, as I’ve found on this site also is a host of items that I could purchase to help my workout in any number of ways. Bad article…just bad.

  • caitlin

    Some people are upset by his tone of contempt and lack of sympathy. If you pay attention though, he is saying he feels bad for all those people who have been misinformed into thinking that cardio is a magic weight loss solution. He doesn’t feel bad for those people who have sore muscles from lifting b/c he knows they are doing something good for their bodies/health. I think if anything his contempt is for all the incorrect information he sees/hears out there. That said, I think he could have explained a little better what forms of cardio (like HIIT) are good for you and why.

  • Michele

    I understand this article but right now, I’m not sure how it applies to me. I just had a 3 level cervical spinal fusion a month ago. I have only been cleared to walk. I have a weight lifting restriction of 5 lbs. Even in a few months, I won’t be able to run half marathons anymore (which I loved) or any running I guess and I won’t be able to use my kettlebells either (which I also loved). I will have a permanent weight restriction ~ what ~ I’m not sure yet. I’m supposed to stay away from anything that is high impact. What in the world am I supposed to do to stay fit? Feeling very frustrated.

  • imawondera

    Okay, so I’ve heard all about how awful the problem is, and I will admit that your logic makes sense. However, you do not in any way address possible solutions to this problem. Should I just give up on exercising to maintain maximum T3 production? Weight training? Or are there magical cardio exercises that won’t make me fat?

  • http://www.facebook.com/kelsey.oneill.16 Kelsey O’Neill

    This whole article is fucking sexist bullshit. For an author who apparently “knows the value of academic research” where are your references or links to these “studies” that you cite? Also in your supposed studies that you summarize, you don’t mention any link to sex. You just assume that there’s a link because you mention figure and bikini competitors after the summarization. This is full of sexism, fat-shaming, it’s condescending and completely generalizing. Just because you hear a story about ONE women never losing weight due to her thyroid problems does NOT mean you can generalize her situation to the REST OF THE FEMALE POPULATION.

    • DHKiefer

      Apparently you didn’t read the article, nor looked long enough to see the references. Why this is sexist still escapes me. Statistically, more than 90% of women begin an exercise routine for the single goal of losing weight. In light of that statistic, I think it’s quite apropos to inform women as to which exercise is most appropriate for that goal and which is not.

      • http://twitter.com/SallyStrange Sally Strange

        Maybe you should consider that losing weight, as a goal, should not be the most important thing on a person’s mind when considering fitness. The fact that women put weight loss as their number one goal is a symptom of sexism, and you’re uncritically accepting this sexist state of affairs. It’s not THAT difficult to figure out.

  • Vanessa

    Ok if this is true, what should women be doing to lose fat? Weights only?

  • experiencedrunner

    Um, no. People who gain weight while running don’t manage their calories. The statement that running lowers your metabolism and makes you retain fat is scientifically inaccurate. Running over time makes more glycogen available to your muscles instead of stored as fat. It’s true that there are diminishing returns over time as your muscles make more efficient use of calories, but the idea that cardio is somehow actually bad for you is just bullshit. There are mountains of research and anecdotal evidence that support the effectiveness of cardio for weight loss, cardiovascular health, mood, quality of life, and overall fitness. This article is likely to hurt more people than it helps.

  • Dr.Dan

    THIS IS THE DUMBEST THING IVE EVER READ. Not at all true. Humans were designed to run, REALLY

    • kt perry

      Women are “designed” differently than men, with body fat and baring children in mind… think about it.

      • http://twitter.com/SallyStrange Sally Strange

        If women were really designed THAT differently from men we’d already be extinct. Sheesh.

  • Fiona

    Certainly I think the author has done his research and the article is backed by various references. I don’t deny that there are alot of truths to what he is saying because I can see certain comments he’s made that are similar to what many professional trainers will tell you. Not that cardio is not good for you. It is good, except for cases where you overdo it. Like some comments provided here, many fall into the problem of undereating and doing too much cardio. Yes, your body’s natural instincts for survival kicks in when this happens and it stores fats to keep you alive. This theory rings similar to the concept of the no-carbo diet, where your body may wind up storing sugar and fats because you are not feeding it with the required intake for sustenance.

    Also, SS Cardio means that you keep doing the same type of cardio, at the same intensity over and over and over again, so just like the same theory of 4kg dumbbells for the same routine over an extended period of time, your body gets so used to this routine that it becomes a norm. There is nothing to push your body, it becomes like muscle memory. So there’s nothing to give your body that little push to get your metabolic rate moving at all.

    I myself have done alot of running the past few years and I found that the period where I was concentrating on long slow distance running, I did have a spike in my fat percentage. Not that you can’t do running but the same ol’ routine does not help? Why do trained althletes look so lean, mean and healthy. Their exercise regime, even with professional marathoners does not consist of merely long distance training. They do a mix of interval training, long slow distance, trail/climb, short fast distance and core, resistance, strength training too. It isn’t just about the heart rate, but also muscle burn. The ‘after burn effect’ is really much more effective in losing fats. You can read alot about the ‘After Burn’ effect, which is your body continuing to burning fats even after the workout is complete. Workouts such as HIIT, circuit training, and strength training all are big contributors to the after burn effect.

    Having said all that, everything has to be in moderation (whether fitness or diet). Your body needs ample rest and replenishments to have energy to fight the fat war.

    Now that I’ve talked about the pros that this article has or at least is trying to educate readers, let’s talk about the cons. There are MANY things about this article that really gets on my nerves. For one, the way the article is written. While the author has put in a note to warn us that the article takes more extreme view to get a point thru, I think being professional is still very important. There are many phrasings in the article that goes to the extreme of being one-sided that is confuses the readers. For those who are well-read on fitness they may be able to pick up the sarcasm in the article and take some extreme statements with a pinch of salt, but what about newbies to fitness? People who are desperately clinging on to every word like a bible? You have sorely done injustice to them in this case. Some may terribly misinterpret the merits of this article and make extremely wrong choices. The word ‘Cardio’ is used so loosely here that is becomes solely defined as running. What about circuit training or HIIT which is also high on cardio? SS cardio vs any other cardio hasn’t been properly defined to readers. What makes you think that everyone understands this right off the bat? I am glad you want to help educate people on the right form of fitness to achieve their goals and get healthy properly. But by the way you’ve written your article, I worry of the harm is has done to those who have misinterpreted it or only read half-truths instead of seeing it from a holistic perspective. If you want to help others, then make sure you write your article in a way that does that because it is not meant to be a rant blog post. Be clear, informative and unbiased in your writing if it’s meant to be an educational piece instead, not angsty, extreme and tunnel-visioned.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=848309217 Christine Campagna

    Thanks ! Very insight full :)

  • runnergirl

    I would be nice if you would offer alternative to running, or let the reader now what type of running (how much, how often) is healthy?

  • http://www.facebook.com/alejandra.torres.50552 Alejandra Torres

    I found this article pretty interesting! Need to look more
    at her references… there are a TON!!!

    The idea of looking at training affects on women vs men is
    not new, but not studied as often. Women are not men, just like humans are not
    mice. We have different hormone levels and adaptations to stimulus; so there is
    reason to believe that the research applications on studies in men cannot be
    100% applied to women all the time.

    Also, I hate running at a set pace….so I am sure that
    plays a part lol

    I do however this the article should have done more to emphasize
    that cardiovascular health is still extremely important and can be trained in
    other ways to prevent disease. She also could have said more about HIIT
    training or similar types of training that stimulate the cardiovascular system,
    as an alternative to steady state exercise.

  • Georgie

    I love all the reactions this article has created. I think we need to be more specific about what we’re talking about. If you run because you like the performance of it and being able to run for miles, then by no means stop because of this article. Just google Ann Trason, find out how many miles she puts in per day and then look her up on google images and I don’t think you’ll still be able to say that running makes you fat! And if you wanted to be able to achieve phenomenal feats of endurance, as she does regularly, you would have to train a lot. If you are using 1 hour a day of treadmill running to lose weight but eat all day or then go home and eat a whole pizza… sure you’re not gonna lose weight. If losing weight is all you want then diet is the key.. but if its performance then you need to look at what it is performance wise you want to achieve.. sure long slow miles may not be as much benefit to someone who wants to be good at team sports than high intensity shorter workouts.. also sure I’ve had the experience of running destroying muscle.. it does definately if you don’t consume enough calories for the workouts you are doing and your daily energy expenditure. Even days after a workout I’ve found strength loses in the upper body because of a long hilly run and not eating enough carbs to replenish.. when eating sufficiently thou I have found no muscle wastage issues with running around 20k per day so go figure hey.. I don’t know what the science says but my guess.. a lot of women exercise strenuously and calorie restrict fairly severely.. when they can’t take it any longer some form of binge consumption often occurs and they put on weight and the whole cycle starts again.. and maybe the calorie restriction is causing thyroid issues not the exercise?? don’t know thats my thoughts anyway from a 48kg 29yr old who likes to run 20k a day.. and wants to do more

    • DHKiefer

      I like your thought. Thanks for sharing something thoughtful.

  • kt perry

    So I have a specific question and don’t have the time to skim through the articles to see if its been answered. I’m training for tough mudder and want to perform well. Its around 12 miles and I need to be able to run well as well as be strong to complete the obstacles. What would be a good training plan to keep me from getting fat and still be able to run long distance?

  • Self

    You’re both right and wrong. You blame running here, but it sounds like the true culprit is her VOLUME of running (compared with resting time for repair & rebalance)– a.k.a. just general ‘overtraining’, as well as the fact that she’s not ‘mixing it up’ by incorporating alternative forms of exercise. I’m prone to agree with you about the details of what you stated, but not your conclusion. Running in and of itself is not ‘bad’. Overtraining and failure to incorporate new physical challenges IS what’s wrong here.

  • FlatBrokeFoodie

    So if I’m running a marathon (it’s not for my perfect beach body, it’s for charity and my bucket list), am I doomed to just be fat? I actually already have a thyroid condition (hereditary, not related to my workouts) and take supplements for it. The training for it is exactly the kind of extreme cardio you say not to do, but I have to train. Suggestions?

    • DHKiefer

      You’re running for a cause. The potential risks are laid out above, but, obviously are not permanent. Train for your marathon, help the charity and be proud that you did so. Then pick an activity that’s healthier.

      • FlatBrokeFoodie

        Wow that answer is not helpful AT ALL.

        First, if you’re going to make killing cardio your thing, then you should be able to provide reasonable alternatives. Second, I have spoken to several of the female running enthusiasts in my office (all of whom are thin by the way), and they say you’re absolutely full of it. They’ve never had thyroid issues, despite running anywhere from 20-60 miles a week and frankly, they look great. If it was just one I’d chalk it up to an anomaly but this is a group of about a dozen women, ranging in age from 24 to 38. Maybe the friend you described in the article just needs to lift in addition to her cardio if she cares about muscle tone and not eat crap.

        As for me, from the advice of my female friends and coworkers, who all look great and run A LOT, I’m going to train for my marathon in a smart way (read, use a training program), continue to eat right, and I won’t see any weight gain (if anything, based on their experiences, I’ll probably drop some). Then after my marathon, I’ll continue to incorporate cardio into my workout routine because I don’t actually trust anything this article says. There’s no links to your “sources”, and you can’t provide me with a viable alternative. That leads me to believe you don’t have one and that this “theory” isn’t actually scientifically valid.

        Finally, you should tell your friend not to mess around with her thyroid levels. They don’t fix themselves in 2 weeks of not running. I asked my endochronologist if that theory had any basis and he literally typed LOL into the email because it was that ridiculous. If she’s having a bout of hypothyroidism and is then fluctuating in and out of normal levels, it could be a sign of a much more serious condition. She needs to see a real doctor, not someone who thinks they know what they’re talking about.

  • PissedRacer

    I run…a lot. I’m training for my second marathon, guess what?!? I lift, swim, play volleyball, and do HIIT too! When I stopped caring about what the scale said, and started focusing on a goal other than losing weight, that’s when I lost weight. Did you not finish a race or something? Because you’re awfully bitter. Go tell the 90 year old marathoners that running is bad for you.

  • TM

    Interesting approach…what’s the solution then?

  • Brooklynn

    What’s the point of this article? Just to bash running? You need to give alternatives or this is a wasted read.

  • smh

    The only one “complaining about fat not coming off” is you.
    Have you ever heard “everything in moderation”? It holds true here. But guess what? Some people LIKE cardio. I know, crazy, but true. I weigh 188 pounds, have 7% BF, & I love to run. In fact, I’m running a 50 mile race this weekend. Last month, I ran a 102. Do I think that’s good for me? No. No more than taxing my joints with a 330 lb bench, or drinking 9 beers in a session.
    Do you think I care? No!
    I’m going to have a T shirt made that says “Everything in moderation? F*!@ that!”
    Instead of a column stating “why women shouldn’t run” you should write one entitled “why anyone can write a blog on the internet & dupe people into following them.”
    BTW, I think I figured out what your initials DH stand for…..

  • Random

    Interesting but all the arguments are specific to steady state cardio at or above 65% of your maximum heart rate, however, most sources suggest cardio for fat burn should be done at a lower heart rate. I’d like to know if there are any studies that support these arguments for regular cardio, say three times a week, at 35 – 50% of your maximum heart rate.

  • Gabby Badowski

    My blood is boiling. Not only is this article completely inaccurate and misleading, but disgustingly misogynistic as well. This article is degrading toward women and what you believe to be their knowledge about what it means to live a healthy lifestyle. Are you suggesting women stick strictly to weight training and avoid cardio altogether? Or should women stay out of gyms completely because they can’t possibly have the drive and dedication to stick to a fitness regimen? You call yourself a scientist, Kiefer, yet you have generalized about an entire population of athletes. Also, regarding your advice to your friend “Jessica” about hypothyroidism, are you an endocrinologist? I’m merely an undergraduate student, and find it hard to believe that eliminating running from her fitness routine has cured her hypothyroidism.

  • shortgurl21

    keep in mind the writer of this article is just picking on “steady-state cardio” not interval cardio when you run then walk at various intervals. the tone of the article is very negative and doesn’t really offer any insight on how to avoid this type of work out, it’s just saying why not to do it. but nevertheless, yes, steady state cardio is not necessarily the best way to go. but itnerval cardio such as running and walking, is much more beneficial.

  • Gabby Badowski

    Hmm..it seems that my comment has been deleted, along with some others ( including one from a physiologist). This should be an open forum for all who wish to express their thoughts an opinions on this article. Don’t like what we had to say? The feeling is mutual, dude.

  • Bridget

    Interesting. I’m female. I boost my cardio, I lose weight. Of course, I add eating correctly to that. I also don’t treadmill – I do the elliptical at various intensities and paces. In addition to weight lose, my heart health improves drastically with cardio. I’m also a singer and my breath support increases when I increase weekly cardio. I would suggest that every body is different and responds to exercise differently. Some women run for endorphins. Some women run because they enjoy it.

  • Mindshare

    The alternative would be following the Crossfit style of training. I have heard and read a lot about this topic and it goes for men as much as it does for women. Long distance running is not an end all be all solution.

  • Gisele Schaaf

    Have you ever trained for a marathon Mr. Kiefer?

  • Lisa

    Kiefer if you know the value of academic research as your bio states, you should know very well that one anecdote where you call your friend ‘fat’ does not serve as scientific evidence. If your argument really does stand up then stick to valid and reliable EVIDENCE and leave off the female-hate.

  • Will

    The way you approach human nature is disturbing.

  • http://twitter.com/SallyStrange Sally Strange

    Hmm, there might be an interesting science-based message somewhere in there, but it got lost in all the contempt and hostility for women. Maybe try being less of a jerk next time if you’re sincerely interested in helping people achieve their goals.

  • jjhart

    Great to hear an honest opinion on the dangers of too much cardio, but seriously then: tell us what TO DO. You spend so much time telling us why it’s “bad” but give no indication of what the solution is- I don’t know if you’re a bad writer or just don’t actually give two shits about your audience. Either way, it’s irresponsible.

    • DHKiefer

      First of all, I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t “give two shits” about my audience. Please be patient…

  • Dislike Kiefer

    Wow! For an individual who graduated magna cum laude, with multiple degrees and obtaining a Ph.D., I am amazed how poor and unprofessional his vocabulary is! Mr. Kiefer, seriously needs to be re-schooled on basic communication. (Yes, “Mr.” was used intentionally.)

  • Anonymous

    I have to say I agree with Geena. You more than beat the problem to death, but you offer zero solution. As much as you think you’re helping women, you’re probably doing more harm. You are telling them that what they’re doing is not helping, yet you offer no alternatives…so what’s a girl to do?

  • http://twitter.com/minutespermile mary doman

    I don’t like this article. At all.
    Have you ever thought that those women running for hours might be running because they enjoy it? Because it mentally benefits them? Because it makes them feel strong? I don’t run to lose weight. I don’t care about losing weight. I run because I love it.

  • Chuck

    It’s interesting that I just read an article from a well known running coach saying running twice in one day is even more beneficial than running once. He said something about how running increases your metabolism for an hour or so after each run. It’s funny how you can find “studies” to support pretty much any opinion on exercise and diet. Humans are all different and need to find what works for them.

    • DHKiefer

      This would only be for beginning runners. Also, unless you’re carb depleted, the excess energy expenditure post-running burns your glycogen stores, not fat. After a couple of months of training, this post-exercise elevation in metabolism disappears. So, yes, it’s interesting how people can use research to be very misleading.

  • Erin

    So I plan to stop exercising and just sit around eating normally and the fat will melt away!

    Hidden somewhere in this ridiculous diatribe seems to be a suggestion that people should do NOT “steady-state” cardio, but it would be helpful if this guy would get off his high horse and explain what that is to me and the other “Fat Jessicas” of the world.

  • janice

    funny…I have hypothyroidism (had it since 1996) ….since my running journey began three years ago I’ve lost 35lbs and has maintained my weight…during training season I run anywhere between 45k – 60K (12 weeks). I usually tone up and build more muscle due to the extensive hill training, sprints, temop runs and strides, along with my weekly long runs. outside of training schedules I maintain my runs and still run 3-4 times a weeks all year round. I’m running my 2nd half marathon on May 19th. I’m not sure if this article applies to everyone or if I agree with it… as everyone’s body and metabolic functions are totally different.