Does Running burn fat?

This seems to be a popular question I have been reading on forums lately, but no one seems to provide an accurate answer. In this article I will cover the truths about how running does burn fat.

To start with you need to work out your goals, for example are you wanting to lose weight or just burn fat. If you want to lose weight, then crack on and run till your heart’s content. However if you want to keep your muscle mass whilst burning the fat, you need to know how your body works when running.

As you would expect, your body needs fuel when running, it does this by converting carbohydrates (carbs) and fats into energy (glucose).

Monounsaturated fat Polyunsaturated fat
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
  • Peanut butter
  • Soybean oil
  • Corn oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)
  • Soymilk
  • Tofu



  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Fructose (Basic sugar found in fruits)
  • Pasta (Boiled 5 min.)
  • Fruits (ONLY-plums, peaches, apples, oranges, pears, grapes, grapefruit)(contains fructose)
  • Rice (polished), or brown
  • Sweet potato
  • Oats
  • All-bran
  • Most Vegetables ( exceptions- carrots, corn, root vegetables)



Your body uses carbs for high intensity running, and uses fats for lower intensity such as jogging. Before your body can start burning fat, it needs to deplete its readily available energy sources (the glucose in your blood stream). Once your body has depleted of all its readily available energy sources it then moves onto your fat cells! This is commonly called the fat burning zone.

Here is the nugget of information you need if you want to keep your muscles. When you are in the ‘Fat burning zone’ you are putting your body under stress (good stress as it is getting you thinner), but neither the less your body does not like being put under stress. Once your body has been under stress for a while it starts to look for additional energy sources. This usually happens after around 20minuets or so. It then releases a catabolic hormone called cortisol which targets and breaks down your muscle tissue, turning it into the additional energy your body is looking for. It is hard to gauge when you are in the fat burning zone unless you have hit the wall and are pushing through. What I would recommend is consuming a protein shake before your run so your body will have some amino acids ready to repair whatever the cortisol breaks down straight away.

In my opinion the best time to go for a run would be on a morning. The reason for this is your body will have little available energy resource because it will have used it all up repairing your body throughout the night, putting you in the fat burning zone within minutes

What to take away from the article:

  1. Running does burn fat.
  2. Your body starts burning fat once you have depleted the glucose in your blood stream.
  3. Try run on a morning rather than an evening.
  4. Always have a protein shake before and after your run.


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