People have lost weight biking
Sprinting (Male and female sprinters are buff)
Doing Zumba (I don’t do Zumba, I do the Wobble)
and lifting weights
All of the above activities will help anyone lose fat, inches, pounds, etc, because they all burn calories. The effect that various exercises have on the body is what differentiates the above exercises from each other.
A runner vs. a sprinter
Both athletes above are Olympic Athletes, but the one on the right is much more muscular. The one on the left is a marathon runner, the one on the right is sprinter. Sprinting is many times more demanding on the body’s type 2, fast twitch muscle fibers, than running is. Usain Bolt, the dude on the right, who is currently the fastest man in the world at 100 meters, is blessed with fast twitch muscle fibers. He also trains his ass off, adding insult to injury for his opposition. The guy on the left is blessed physically too, but his blessing is in the form of type 1, slow twitch muscle fibers that are made for endurance and not explosive movements that lead to muscularity. These runners are so different physically, that neither one could ever beat the other in his respective Olympic specialty. But we aren’t training for the Olympics, so we can do both.
To feel the dissimilarities between sprinting and running, here’s an experiment you can do for yourself. First, find an open field that is 100 meters or yards long. Your local high school field will suffice.
Now, do the following: You will run, not sprint, 100 yards, rest 2 minutes, and run 100 yards again. You will repeat this until you have done it 10 times. It should take you about 1/2 hour or so to complete. Take note of what muscles are sore in the days that follow. Rest 3 days, and now comes the fun part! You will sprint.
The machine pictured above is James Ellington, a British Olympic sprinter. That is what most male Olympic sprinters look like under their colorful Olympic outfits, and long distance runners look nothing like that. Now back to our experiment.
Go back to the same field and mark off 50 yards, instead of 100. Make sure you warm up and stretch before this event, with a light jog and some professional looking stretches that will impress any onlookers.
Ready? Now sprint, that means run as fast as possible for the whole 50 yards, rest 2 minutes, and repeat until you have sprinted 10 times. Take note of what muscles are sore in the following days. Let me help you in the “what muscles will be sore after sprinting” department, in case you don’t want to actually do my experimento. Your quadriceps (front of the leg), hamstrings (back of the leg), calves, glutes (butt muscle), lower back, maybe even upper back, chest, and shoulders will be sore. Sprinting works out the whole body, and running does not, sorry runners.
If you notice, in the experiment above you would have sprinted for only a total of 500 yards, and the running exercise would have yielded 1,000 yards of movement. You would be more sore and tired from the set of exercises that cover less distance and took less time to complete, the sprints. Both exercises work the leg muscles, but sprinting will build and define the legs much more than running for distance and endurance. People, male or female, who can run fast have muscular legs because they can generate tremendous amounts of muscular force, to propel their bodies through the air at the fastest speeds humanly possible, in a short amount of time, like seconds. Long distance runners try to not get as tired as the next guy in order to win. Long distance runners are about out enduring their competitor.
Can you spot the sprinter in the picture above?
The muscular demands of running vs. sprinting differ so much that some people in their 60’s and 70’s can still run, easily, but ask them to sprint as fast as they can and they will probably say “no thanks”.
So, the best exercise for losing weight is the one you enjoy doing. Just know that the exercises you choose to engage in have specific effects on your muscles. What good is it if I tell you that sprinting is a great leg building, fat shedding exercise, if you hate to sprint? Or, what good is it if I tell you that running 5 miles will burn 800 calories, if you hate to run? Find what exercises you enjoy and do them. I don’t care what you do for exercise, just M.Y.A. (Please refer to my previous M.Y.A. post for further explanation), thanks.
Again, remember that the exercises you choose to do consistently will play a large role in how your body looks. Walkers look like walkers, joggers look like joggers, runners look like runners, gymnasts look like gymnasts, and on and on it goes. For overall fitness, a little bit of everything is good. I will let you in on a secret. I hate to run for long distances, so I rarely, if ever, do it.
Now, figure out what you love to do for exercise and get to moving, regardless of your age.
Even the older gentlemen above are a bit buff, in part, because they sprint.