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8 Reasons Why Squatting Is Better Than Running

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8 Reasons Why Squatting Is Better Than Running

Squatting is largely neglected in modern society — dudes skipping leg day, women wasting away on the elliptical. Especially when it comes to weight loss, there are too many people out there skipping the resistance training portion of exercise and focusing solely on cardio.

Here are 8 reasons why you should hit the squat rack every once in a while instead of running for every workout.

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1. Squatting isn’t a huge time commitment.

Running is all about speed and endurance. Once you get your mile time down to where you want it, all you can do is run further. Eventually, you find yourself easily covering 5, 6, 7, 8 miles. Even for fast runners, that’s a lot of time. A good squat session should only take about 10 minutes.

2. It is lower impact on your joints.

Running is notorious for being one of the highest impact exercises you can impose on your joints. We were built to run barefoot on soft soil, but we live in a paved world of concrete and cement. Running long distances on such hard surfaces really taxes the connective tissue. Ever hear of shin splints? Unless you’re squatting really heavy weight, replacing a run or two with a squat session will save your knees in the long run.

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3. Your body was built to squat.

Our bodies were built to run short to moderate distances, not marathons. Squatting is by far the most neglected fundamental movement your body was born capable of performing. Look at a baby — babies can squat ass to grass no problem. Think back to Adam and Eve. Do you think they pooped on toilets? We were meant to squat all the way down and do our business on the ground. The constant sitting we do at our desks and on the toilet have made us immobile as a species, and it needs to be combated with squats.

4. Squatting activates more muscles.

Running is a great exercise for your heart and calves. It hits several more areas, but the stimulus is small. Squatting activates your quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes, adductors, abdominals, and lower back. Resistance training in general creates a larger muscle stimulus than running and the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns at rest. This means you can eat more without gaining weight. If that doesn’t motivate you to squat, I don’t know what will. Speaking of eating more…

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5. People who squat can eat more carbs.

Running is an aerobic exercise, so it burns fat as fuel. Squats are primarily an anaerobic exercise. This means that its primary energy source is glycogen, which is your body’s method of storing carbs. If you squat, your body burns the glycogen in your muscles. If your muscles are glycogen-depleted, you can only refill them by consuming carbs. Now get this: they won’t be stored as fat. Instead they’ll go straight to replenishing your muscles (given you eat a reasonable amount). Next time you eat a donut or four after leg day, don’t beat yourself up over it. You’re making booty gains.

6. Squatting builds your booty more.

Distance runners tend to have flat booty syndrome if all they do is run. Sprinters? They utilize their glutes a whole lot  their entire legs in fact. They’re a different story. Squatters tend to build large, round glutes due to the hip-hinge-dominant nature of the movement. Would you rather have a flat butt or a squat butt?

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7. Squat waists look thinner than runner waists.

In addition to the extra calorie burn induced by having a little more booty muscle, having a larger booty will cause your waist to appear thinner. This gives women that hourglass figure and men that extra asset women actually love.

8. It will give you abs.

Squatting is a compound movement and one of the muscles it hits hard is your abs. Many people have no idea this is the case. Think about it: your torso is pitched forward with a barbell on your shoulders. What’s keep you from folding and falling flat on your face? Your core. There are many bodybuilders out there with chiseled sets of abs who never work them directly. They’ve found it’s a better use of their time to do heavy squats and deadlifts and their abs are doing just swimmingly.

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I’m not saying I hate running. In fact, I enjoy running a good mile or two and I suggest most people do so as well on occasion. There are just too many people out there on treadmills and not enough in the squat rack.

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Drew Kocak

Online Personal Trainer / Fitness Blogger

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Last Updated on September 8, 2021

10 Fitness Excuses You Need to Stop Making Now

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10 Fitness Excuses You Need to Stop Making Now

“You can have results or excuses. Not both.” – Anonymous

Human beings tend to only ever do as much as they absolutely need to.

Motivational speakers call this innate trait laziness, biologists call it efficiency. Either way, the fact remains: we are evolutionary wired to minimize time and energy wherever possible.

And this is not necessarily a bad thing. If we weren’t wired this way, we probably wouldn’t have survived this long as a species.

Back in our caveman days, before supermarkets, calories were worth their weight in gold. For cavemen, trying to actively burn off calories would have spelled certain death.

In this light, our fitness excuses make total sense. Our reptilian brain comes up with believable sounding rationalizations to stop us from burning off our precious calories; to minimize time and energy.

Unfortunately, due to our present access to highly calorific foods, the fitness excuses that once ensured our survival, now send us to an early grave.

Below I’ve provided the 10 most common fitness excuses our reptilian minds trick us into believing and why, ultimately, they’re all nonsense.

1. I don’t have enough time.

This is probably the most common fitness excuse of them all.

First off, when you say you don’t have enough time, what you’re really saying is “I don’t have enough time for that”. 

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Do you really think that if you were to add up all the time you spend watching TV and surfing the web throughout the average week you couldn’t replace any of it with a workout?

A 30 minute workout takes up 2% of your day.

Don’t ask yourself how much time you’re going to waste by working out a few times a week. Ask yourself how much of your life you’re going to waste being unfit and overweight.

2. I’m way too tired to workout.

Your mind, when it comes to exercising, is like a spoiled child. If you give in to its demands without a fight, it will see weakness and prey on it often.

If you miss one planned session, you’re much more likely to miss the next. The biggest journey always starts with one step and the biggest failings always start with one step backwards.

You need to show your mind who’s boss. You won’t always have lots of energy when you go to the gym but that doesn’t matter. The only thing that counts is showing up and giving it a shot.

If you’re too tired to workout, change your sleeping habits, not your workout habits.

3. But exercise is so boring!

You don’t want to exercise because it’s boring?

So you find brushing your teeth, taking showers, styling your hair and getting dressed highly entertaining? No. We do these things because we have to. We accept them as part of life.

The people who never miss a workout are the ones who view it just like brushing their teeth. Complaining about it is just pointless. To be successful sometimes you’ve got to do things that aren’t as fun as watching your favorite TV show. That’s just life.

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If don’t enjoy your workouts, you don’t stop working out, you just workout differently. Try crossfit, martial arts, hiking, body building, powerlifting, running, or swimming. Try music. Try anything, but keep showing up.

4. I have no motivation to workout.

If you think you need motivation to train you’re already half beat.

What you really need is meta motivation: the motivation to train even when you’re not motivated. If you rely on your feelings to decide whether to workout or not, you never will. As you know, your feelings are designed to keep you caged up in your comfort pit.  Your feelings want you to be safe, not successful.

That said, there is a trick you can use to get yourself motivated to workout, and it’s  backed up with research. It’s called ‘the few minutes’ principle.

The basic idea is that procrastinators often put off doing certain things because the size of the task in front of them seems too overwhelming. By deciding to just go to the gym for a ‘few minutes’ you’ll often see the workout through to completion.

Are you motivated enough to train for two minutes? That’s all you need.

5. I have kids to look after.

One day your kids might have someone to look after too: you.

Don’t burden them with an ill parent when they have their own kids to look after. And don’t be the kind of parent who tells their kids exercise is good for them but doesn’t follow their own advice. Kids are smarter than that.

If you’re really struggling with managing your fitness and your kids, combine the two. Find a field and play frisbee for a few hours, go swimming, take a walk around the lake and feed some ducks. There are so many fun and cheap ways to exercise with your kids, the only limits are your imagination.

You kids should be your biggest reason to exercise, not your biggest excuse.

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6. I don’t have anyone to train with.

What you’re really saying with this fitness excuse is that you don’t have anyone to talk with while you train. If you’re training properly, you won’t need to talk.

Don’t get me wrong, having a training partner is great but here’s what you’ve got to understand: most people first meet their training partners at the gym. The reason you probably don’t have anyone to train with is because you don’t have many friends who train. Like attracts like.

By becoming someone who regularly trains, you’ll start attracting people into your life who also value health and fitness. You have to earn your training partners, they don’t come free.

7. I don’t feel very well.

After you get into the habit of overriding your fitness excuses and working out regularly, the thought of missing a workout starts to drive you insane. When I broke my jaw in two places the doctors told me I couldn’t lift heavy weights for three months. What did I do? I lifted light weights instead. Train smart, not hard.

At some point in our lives we’ve all pretended to be ill so we could skip a day of school. Some of the better actors among us probably blurred the lines in their mind between real symptoms and those imagined. It’s easy to exaggerate things when it fits our agenda.

If you’re really sick, I don’t recommend you train. But feeling a bit tired or achy – that’s no reason to skip a workout.

8. The gym is too expensive or far.

If you think you need a gym to achieve your fitness goals, you’ve been seriously misled.

The world is your fitness playground. Ever watched a training scene from a Rocky movie? He chases chickens, runs up steps, punches meat, and chops wood. Many people cite these scenes as their favorite.  Something about training dirty and raw resonates deep within us.

There are whole fitness subcultures dedicated to working out outdoors, and without formal equipment. Ever heard of Calisthenics, Tai Chi, Yoga or Parkour? Look them up.

If you want to put on muscle, try some typical strongman training like chopping wood, flipping tires, lifting barrels. Remember, if it’s important enough to you, you’ll find a way. Arnold Schwarzenegger made his own gym equipment out of chairs and sticks for the first year he trained. He claims he gained 25 pounds of muscle from doing this.

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9. I don’t know how to train properly.

If you’re reading this article, you’re obviously more than capable of figuring this out. The internet is brimming with routines and training tips. This site alone will give you more than you need. Read these 10 tips for better workouts, perfect for beginners.

However, it’s important that you don’t get too engulfed in the theory of ‘training properly’. Like most things in life, you learn best on the job. Ask people in the gym to show you how to use proper technique, then practice through action.

People love giving out tips. You might even get a training partner out of it.

10. I feel intimidated by the fit people there.

This is normal and everyone has this when they first start out. The environment is new, everyone there looks like they know what they’re doing. You feel like you’re in someone else’s home.

The number one reason you feel intimidated when you go to the gym is because you don’t go enough! If you started going regularly you’d get used to the place, the people and your fitness would improve. Everyone knows training improves your confidence. Just stick with it. It’s something you’ll laugh at a few months down the line.

Anyone can get in great shape. Anyone can become fit. But very few people ever do because they give in to their natural inclination to minimize time and effort.

Stop making excuses and just stick with it for two months. After that you’ll be finding excuses to workout even when you do have important stuff to get on with.

Featured photo credit: United Artists, Chartoff-Winkler Productions via Rocky (1976)

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