What can I expect to see?

I am 19 and considering starting up running in the very near future. My parents both run regularly and have run marathons etc. I'm not going to lie here, as well as the general fitness/health/mood improvements that are known to happen, I am interested in the effects it will have in my appearance.

I have been (trying) to improve my shape through gym work, I've tried lots of sports and even have an exercise bike at home. To be honest I don't seem to be able to stick at it very well at all. I don't like the gym environment, sports (such as fencing) can be really expensive and I get way too much distraction trying to exercise at home. I have a feeling running will be perfect for me, it's a very natural movement and with a bit of music doesn't have to be boring. Not to mention I go to university in Bristol which has some lovely big hills :S!

I am 5ft5, 7st 8, and as weak as a 10 year old. Despite being slender and light, I have absolutely no muscle tone, very skinny limbs and a bit of unsightly flab around my stomach and lower back that I would LOVE to get rid of because it seriously impacts on my self confidence (I can't even wear tight tops without feeling disgusting!). I was really wondering how I can expect running to impact on the way I look? Can anybody give me a bit of an idea?

Thank you!


  • Any exercise is going to be harder to start with and then gets easier as the muscles develop, hills are harder still. Contrary to popular believe you cannot target to lose a particular area of flab but muscles burn energy even when not doing anything much else. I would say try and develop muscles by varying your routine, don't like your gym - try another, I used to do sit ups and press ups when I was falling asleep at my books. Sticking my neck out I would say you should not lose weight have a look at www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/magazine/interactive/bmi/index.aspx - good luck.
  • Hi Lauren, you appear underweight for your height but that's not a problem if you're naturally lean ;o) Sounds like you may have some body 'issues' though (you're not alone there). Running is a good way of increasing your self-confidence, so get out there and have a go. Start with a beginner's prog and I guarantee you'll feel great.

    It would be unrealistic to pin all your hopes on running changing the things you don't like about yourself though - set attainable goals like firstly improving your fitness, and if as a consequence your shape alters then that's a bonus, rather than getting hung up on just changing your shape.

    Running will add muscle to your legs and may even increase weight slightly as muscle is denser than fat. Don't worry about it increasing the 'flab' around your belly - this won't happen unless you eat more than you burn off.

    Suggest if you lack motivation for the gym you try a Bodypump class - good for upper body toning and the high rep moderate load will transfer to the endurance aspect of running.
Sign In or Register to comment.