Run Your Fat Off

I was recently asked to review Dr. Jason Karp’s book, Run Your Fat Off. I met Jason at an IDEA conference and attended two of his sessions which were fantastic.  He is a well known author and coach with a PhD in exercise physiology.  I’ve also emailed with him around PhD recommendations as I’m considering taking that next step and he was very helpful.

This book came at an interesting time, because I was simultaneously reading Roar (Stacy Sims) and listening to Runners Connect’s Nutrition Summit with workshops from nutrition and running experts like Tim Noakes, Bob Seebohar and Matt Fitzgerald.

If you’re familiar with any of those names, you know that there is a lot they disagree on in terms of the ideal way to eat as a runner!

What I appreciated about Jason’s book is that he doesn’t make claims unless there is scientific evidence to back it up.

He states many times that there is no one right way to eat for weight loss as a runner, and I agree with him. He largely believes this is true because at the end of the day, “calories in equal calories out.”  So you can eat kale or steak, as long as you aren’t taking in more energy than you are using each day.

I believe it’s true for different reasons- I think some individuals react differently to certain types of foods.  For example, some women thrive on more meat and less grains while others have the opposite experience and start feeling better on a vegetarian diet.  Weight is complicated for women, as we have to consider hormones, insulin resistance and other individualized factors.

Jason tackles many weight loss and nutrition myths, which are particularly helpful. He cites a study that points to the benefits of eating a larger breakfast for weight loss, and a study in Denmark that found the macro nutrient breakdown of the food did not make a significant difference in weight loss.

Note: I do not recommend the above ratios! They are designed for body builders, not runners, and will not achieve the same results in runners.  But it highlights the popular thinking and why runners think carbs will make them gain weight, right?

I was curious to see what kind of eating plan he recommends, and was pleasantly surprised that despite sharing the Denmark study, he feels that moderate carbohydrate intake is beneficial for weight loss (not low, but not too high) and that’s what I’ve found to work best for my clients as well.

Of course, his eating plan is a one size fits all- it does not cater to vegetarians or those on a gluten free or dairy free diet, but it’s easy to tweak to fit specific nutritional needs.

While reading this book, the Runners Connect Nutrition Summit speakers presented alternative views.  Tim Noakes argues for a low carb, high fat diet for runners to prevent insulin issues and diabetes (he is now himself diabetic). Bob Seehobar shares his metabolic efficiency recommendations which I’ve already written quite a bit about, and Matt Fitzgerald had a slightly different approach as well.

Personally, I like conflicting view points because it reminds us that one way of eating will not work for everyone, but there are enough common themes that we can pull together and trust.

I’ve been compiling notes from my own clients, my personal experiments and journey as well as from each of these books and speakers and want to share with you some of what I’m finding.

Want to dive deeper?

If you’ve ever struggled with losing weight while running even though you’re not over-eating,  join me for a webinar next week highlighting the pros and cons of various approaches and how to determine what is the best fit for you.


18 thoughts on “Run Your Fat Off

  1. As you know I am familiar with ALL of these experts and, I have my favorites. I have to admit, Jason Karp is not one of them. He comes across so arrogant that I have a hard time taking him seriously, even though I know he’s very knowledgeable, and not just because he tells you he has a PhD ad nauseam. I also think the title of the book is salacious but I know the goal is to sell copies. In the end, I trust and am most positively effected by Matt’s advice but I read everything I can get my hands on! All of it is helpful in this crazy complicated maze of diet and exercise.
    Allie recently posted..The Rundown – Making ChangesMy Profile

    • I agree that the title is a bit misleading, because you might be able to run to lose weight but not to “run your fat off” – I was “skinny fat” as a runner before adding in strength and tweaking my diet.
      Laura recently posted..Run Your Fat OffMy Profile

  2. It sound like an interesting book. I would agree with you that conflicting viewpoints makes it much more interesting. Not everything works for everyone.
    Hollie recently posted..My Running BurnoutMy Profile

    • Absolutely. I get frustrated when healthy weight is over-simplified as calories in vs calories out because that is just not true for most women.
      Laura recently posted..Run Your Fat OffMy Profile

  3. Agree about different POVs. These ratios are SO personal. I think it takes years to figure out what works best for you. And these studies vary so much. Many people want sound bites and quick solutions. If only things were so easy 😉

    I am lean – and I eat a higher range of (healthy) fats and definitely at least 50% carbs. I feel so sluggish and find running harder when I overdo it on the protein. It took me years to figure this out.
    Dynise recently posted..Mizuno Wave Rider 19 reviewMy Profile

    • At least 50% carbs is really important for most runners! In a few cases women need to eat less if they’ve developed insulin sensitivity but I completely agree that it’s varies greatly from person to person and takes lots of experimenting. Our bodies are smart and let us know what they prefer for optimal fuel and performance!
      Laura recently posted..Run Your Fat OffMy Profile

  4. This is so interesting as I’ve been looking to purchase this book. Now I have Jason Karp’s book and Stacy Sim’s book both in my Amazon cart. Fueling your body is not a one-sized fits all approach, as everyone is different and everyone reacts to food differently so having all the information is important, but also understanding that there is not one solution for everyone.
    Nikki recently posted..Unicorn drink – Well played Starbucks!My Profile

  5. I agree – it is so individual. I really enjoy reading about all of the different approaches – Roar is on my reading list! Matt’s advice has probably had the biggest effect on me – I really like how he breaks down weight loss/management by season of training.
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted..Blueberry Teff PancakesMy Profile

    • I need to read Matt’s book on racing weight, but I’ve really appreciated the other workshops and articles he’s written. You will love ROAR!
      Laura recently posted..Run Your Fat OffMy Profile

    • That is the perfect focus!! We tend to make it so complicated when really, if you can focus on real food with enough protein, fiber and complex carbs, you’re right on track.
      Laura recently posted..Run Your Fat OffMy Profile

    • Great point! So many of women’s issues are neglected in research… which is why I really appreciated Stacy’s book, emphasizing that women are not small men!!
      Laura recently posted..Run Your Fat OffMy Profile

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